In an interview this morning, Mitt Romney told CNN “I’m in this race because I care about Americans. I’m not concerned with the very poor.” (See video below.)
This gaffe has since been reported by many media in criticism of the Republican presidential candidate.
DeMint, however, defended Romney’s statement later today while speaking with Roll Call.
“I know (Romney) does care about the poor,” DeMint said; “I think he was trying to make a case that they’re taken care of.”
The senator did suggest Romney “backtrack” and clarify that statement, however.
Others are not as sympathetic in evaluation of Romney’s statement, however, stating this morning’s quote only exemplifies the focus of his campaign.
“His separation of ‘the very poor’ from the category of ‘Americans’ made it pretty clear that Romney doesn’t count them as citizens of our country,” said Deborah Mortellaro, a state delegate of the South Carolina Democratic Party.
“Romney knows the very poor aren’t going to vote for him,” Mortellaro continued, “so they don’t matter very much to him.”
In evaluation of his campaign’s platform statements, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that Romney’s national budget proposals would substantially cut from programs benefiting poverty, such as Medicaid, food stamps and SCHIP.
A Citizens for Tax Justice analysis found Romney’s income tax proposals would result in 40-percent cuts from the tax obligations of wealthy Americans.
A majority of U.S. households that earn less than $50,000 annually and that claim children as tax deductions would have a tax increase under Romney’s plan, according to the Tax Policy Center.
Although he endorsed Romney in his 2008 campaign, DeMint has yet to endorse any 2012 candidate for president in the 2012 race.
On the Jan. 21 date of South Carolina’s primary, however, the Romney campaign submitted a recording of DeMint’s 2008 endorsement of the former Massachusetts governor to voters by robocall.