Mitt Romney’s delivered the mother of all cringe-worthy sound bytes on CNN this morning when he said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.”


While it was, from a communications and political perspective, a horrible thing to say I think most who watch the interview in context understands what he means.  It’s still a horrible gaffe though as he alienates voters rather than attracts them.  To recover he slips into pander zone and risks alienating his base by saying, “I’m for raising the minimum wage.”

Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney renewed his support Wednesday for automatic increases in the federal minimum wage to keep pace with inflation, a position sharply at odds with traditional GOP business allies, conservatives and the party’s senior lawmakers.

“I haven’t changed my thoughts on that,” the former Massachusetts governor told reporters aboard his chartered campaign plane, referring to a stand he has held for a decade.

He did not say if he would ask Congress to approve the change if he wins the White House this fall.

Congress first enacted federal minimum wage legislation in 1938 and has raised it sporadically in the years since. The last increase, approved in 2007, took effect in three installments and reached $7.25 an hour for covered workers effective July 24, 2009.

Ok, if he held this for the last 10 years or so why did he veto a minimum wage increase as Governor of Massachusetts in 2006?

But in 2006 Romney vetoed an increase in Massachusetts’s minimum wage, arguing that a salary hike would cause a loss of jobs. The last federal increase, which passed in 2007, implemented gradual increases until 2009, when the minimum wage hit its current rate of $7.25 an hour.

Not to mention he’s touting a plan that President Obama campaigned on in 2008.  Another example of Romney providing a poor contrast in a general election campaign.  Don’t worry though, no matter what Mitt Romney has to say one can be sure that Ann Coulter will find a way to defend it.

Be sure to check out the Memeorandum thread on this.

Photo by Dave Davidson –

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  1. Don’t worry though, no matter what Mitt Romney has to say one can be sure that Ann Coulter will find a way to defend it.

    Did you read the transcript from her interview today on Fox?
    FN;  Ann, how do you feel about the latest developments in the presidential race so far?

    Coulter:  Mitt Romney, dudes!!! 

    FN:  Aren’t you a bit concerned about Romney’s latest gaffe concerning the “very poor”?

    Coulter:  Mitt Romney, dudes!!!

    FN:  BTW, Ann, have you checked the weather forecast by any chance?  I was wondering if it’s supposed to rain tomorrow. 

    Coulter:  Mitt Romney, dudes!!!

    Ann did seem to have a bit more credibility a few years ago, but now it seems she’s become nothing but a Coultergeist.  😉

  2. Hi Shane,

    FYI, Santorum also has supported minimum wage increases — just not as high as the Dems.,2933,149691,00.html

    Then he bragged about it when running for reelection.  By that standard he’s also a “panderer.”

    I personally don’t have a strong view on MW increases…the economic studies of its impact are all over the map.  It has some stimulative GDP benefits by putting $ in the hands of people who spend it all rather than saving it, but also has costs (some impact on wage costs for business, benefits accrue to specific workers, including teens).  The debate is always over if the “right” rate has been reached.Hence…If we are going to have a minimum wage (even conservatives don’t realistically think it is going away), CPI-linked minimum wage has a few things in its favor.  #1: It undercuts the idea that the MW should be tied to any kind of “living wage,” which even now is many dollars higher than MW.  It would cement the current MW, adjusted for inflation, as the ideal baseline — making any increase over and above that a particularly hard sell.  #2: It avoids a perennial battle of words (which damages Republicans in the end — as you concede in your post) over multi-dollar MW increase bills in Congress.  #3: In years (as has been the case recently) where CPI is low or negative, you’d see a flattish or even a drop in the federal MW.   Safe to say if this idea had taken root under either HW Bush or during Newt’s tenure in the 1990s (before multi-dollar increases), the current MW would actually be LOWER than it is now, in the best cases by a few dollars.  So although I have respect for the purist’s position of no min wage at all, and think a good econ case can be made, it is still not an idea with appeal to mainstream voters — as the hedging of both Romney and Santorum reveal.

    1. I understand the other point of view with minimum wage increases, and I’m not dead set against them. I think there is potential to do harm to small businesses and decrease the number of jobs available altogether though.
      My point in calling Romney a panderer is that the same day he was saying “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” Santorum hasn’t been making statements like that.

      I also find it interesting that while Romney says he is in favor of them when he had the chance to sign off on one in his own state he didn’t do it.
      Flip flop?

      Thanks for pointing that out re. Santorum’s position, I didn’t know that.

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