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Mitt Romney: "I'm Not Concerned With The Very Poor"

Wait, what?
Asked about his economic plan, Romney said repeatedly that he was not concerned with very poor Americans, but was focused instead on helping the middle class.

Romney explained that he was confident that food stamps, housing vouchers, Medicaid and other assistance would keep the poor afloat — he pledged to fix holes in that safety net “if it needs repair.” He repeated past statements that his main focus is the middle class because those people, in his opinion, have been hardest hit by the recession (President Obama also has focused many of his efforts on the middle class).

But Romney’s awkward phrasing could give fuel to critics who argue that he does not empathize with the poorest Americans.

"I’m not concerned with the very poor. We have a safety net there,” Romney told CNN. “If it needs repair, I’ll fix it. I’m not concerned about the very rich, they’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90 percent, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.”

Host Soledad O’Brien pointed out that the very poor are probably struggling too.

“The challenge right now — we will hear from the Democrat party the plight of the poor,” Romney responded, after repeating that he would fix any holes in the safety net. “And there’s no question it’s not good being poor and we have a safety net to help those that are very poor . . . My focus is on middle income Americans ... we have a very ample safety net and we can talk about whether it needs to be strengthened or whether there are holes in it. but we have food stamps, we have Medicaid, we have housing vouchers, we have programs to help the poor.”
Here's the video:


Mmmmkay.

At a time when Mitt Romney should be running around like a crazed tasmanian devil bragging about the drubbing that he gave Newt Gingrich in Florida, he instead hits the airwaves with an opposition researcher's wet dream.

Gross.

Now, Mitt Romney will now have to spend the rest of this week (and likely the entire general election) walking back or -- if possible -- defending these comments.

NRO's Jim Geraghty tweeted it best:



While I think that Romney's comments are largely innocuous, the electorate will not see it that way. Particularly the 'very poor' electorate.

And, once you couple these comments with some foreboding background music and some fuzzy black and white images, you will have the perfect anti-Romney campaign ad.

The question is this: who will make that ad first, Newt Gingrich -- or the Democrats?