Mitt Romney sure knows how to celebrate a triumph. This morning, on his victory lap after thumping Newt Gingrich in the Florida primary, he spoke with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien and volunteered the following: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net out there. If it needs repair, I’ll fix it.” Noting this might “sound odd” to millions of poor Americans, O’Brien kindly threw the former Massachusetts governor a lifeline to explain himself. He proceeded to make matters worse: “There’s no question: It’s not good being poor,” he said, foot traveling ever nearer mouth. “You can focus on the very rich; it’s not my focus. You can focus on the very poor; it’s not my focus.” This latest example of Romney’s lack of empathy for the non-privileged was guaranteed to raise richly deserved howls of outrage from progressives, but it proved equally unpopular with conservatives.
“Romney's remark isn't merely tone-deaf, it's also un-conservative,” wrote John McCormack in The Weekly Standard. “The standard conservative argument is that a conservative economic agenda will help everyone. For the poor, that means getting as many as possible back on their feet and working rather than languishing as wards of the welfare state.” At National Review Online, Mark Steyn was unsparing: “Romney’s is a benevolent patrician’s view of society: The poor are incorrigible, but let’s add a couple more groats to their food stamps and housing vouchers, and they’ll stay quiet.” No wonder Romney’s “unfavorable” ratings just keep rising as the campaign continues . On the heels of a primary he won solely because of a huge money advantage, with a blizzard of attack ads that helped to depress turnout among Florida Republicans, the candidate has managed to turn a short-term win into a long-term problem.
So They Say
Daily Meme: The Inevitability Narrative Strikes Back
- The Economist: Romney is “back on track.”
- Molly Ball: Everything is going as Mitt planned.
- Just ask Romney.
- John Heilemann: Mitt’s newest endorsement? Math.
- Margaret Carlson: The GOP elite has still got it!
- John Cassidy: Romney is now bigger, faster, and more Nixonian.
- Zeke Miller: He couldn’t have done it without Newt.
What We're Writing
- Patrick Caldwell casts a skeptical eye on Gingrich’s plans for his hypothetical first days in office.
- Jamelle Bouie writes that Mitt Romney may be winning votes, but he isn’t leaving a good impression.
What We're Reading
- Yesterday’s turnout could be a bad sign for the GOP.
- Romney is breaking bad, and the voters don’t like it.
- Remember when people thought Rick Perry would be king of the debates?
- Obama’s trip to the Washington auto show hints at his plans to bash Romney on the bailout.
- Would a few prank calls make Mitt more likeable? These photos suggest the answer is yes.
- And what’s the deal with Romney’s fake laugh?
Poll of the Day
Public Policy Polling finds Obama leading all four potential GOP candidates in Ohio.