Romney Remark about Firing Gifts Opponents A Weapon (UPDATED)
You’d think someone in politics as long as Mitt Romney (OOPS! He is just a businessman who has dabbled in politics off and on) would know better. But he doesn’t. He made a remark about enjoying firing an insurance company — but it’s the enjoying firing part of it that’s now be jumped on by his opponents. They seem (NOT!) to be forgetting other parts of the statement.
This is somewhat akin to the Jimmy Carter “malaise” statement that was used against Carter, even though he never really said it. This likely won’t derail The Romney Express but it’ll make the track bumpier:
Under intensified criticism from his Republican competitors a day before the New Hampshire primary, front-runner Mitt Romney tried to recover from a potential stumble Monday when talking about how he wanted to be able to fire a bad insurance company.
Asked about health insurance at an event in Nashua, New Hampshire, Romney said he wanted a person to be able to own his or her own policy “and perhaps keep it the rest of their life.”
“That means the insurance company will have the incentive to keep you healthy. It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them,” he said.
“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,” Romney added. “If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say I am going to get somebody else to provide that service to me.”
Rival candidate Jon Huntsman immediately seized on the comment as an indication of Romney’s political nature.
“It has become abundantly clear over the last couple of days what differentiates Gov. Romney and me,” Huntsman said in Concord. “I will always put my country first. It seems that Gov. Romney believes in putting politics first. Gov. Romney enjoys firing people. I enjoy creating jobs.”
And so Mitt Romney politically stepped in it and has spent much of the day trying to scrape it off his shoe:
Romney spent much of the rest of the day clarifying what he meant. At one point, Romney said he expected the comment to be taken out of context to try to hurt him, and his campaign issued a statement emphasizing he was talking about firing an insurance company, not people.
“Our opponents are taking Gov. Romney’s comments completely out of context,” said a statement by Gail Gitcho, the campaign’s communications director. “Gov. Romney was talking about firing insurance companies if you don’t like their service. That is something that most Americans agree with.”
Gitcho is CORRECT.
But in the nature of today’s spin if you repeat something over and over it allows the side repeating it to create its own reality out of inaccuracy or unreality. Those on that political sports team then say it and some get to actually believe it.
It’s sort of like applauding Newt Gingrich for talking about “pious baloney,” when Gingrich has provided enough pious baloney over the years to supply all of Hebrew National’s orders for the next two years.
Still, you’d think a politician who has been around like Romney would know better
Wait! Perhaps this is proof that he really IS just a modest businessman who made a lot of his money eliminating jobs and selling companies to make a profit after all.
This political negligence seems to be proof of that..
UPDATE: As I see what’s going on with his foes and how Democrats are reacting on cable shows and on the Internet I have to say: it’s one more example of how our politics works — one more instance of how truth doesn’t mean a thing. Romney did not say it in the context in which his GOP foes and Democrats are now saying.
Greg Sargent has the same reaction:
Dems are jumping up and down this morning because, as Taegan Goddard puts it, they’ve “caught him on video saying he likes firing people.”
Let me go on record saying it would be misleading and unfair to clip the video in question in order to quote Romney this way: “I like being able to fire people.”
Here’s the clip so you can judge for yourself if what you are hearing and reading matches reality. (Not that reality matters in politics anymore. If you don’t believe me, just listen to Rush Limbaugh for a week.)