Romney Damaged By Line When Taken Out Of Context

Mitt Romney’s statement “I like to fire people” certainly sounds far worse when taken out of context. It is being compared to John Kerry’s gaffe, “I voted for it before I voted against it.”  Both quotes have quite different meanings when heard in full context. Romney likes to be able to be able to get rid of insurance companies which don’t do the job (failing to acknowledge that this is exactly what he would be able to do with the exchanges which are to be set up under Obama’s health care plan). Kerry was explaining that he did not oppose military spending and that he did vote for the spending in one bill while he voted against it in a subsequent bill due to a change in how it would be funded.

The problem is that Kerry’s line out of context reinforced the attack on him as being a flip-flopper while Romney’s line makes him sound like an evil member of the one percent as opposed to being a jobs creator. This could wind up hurting Romney because of the determination of Newt Gingrich to undermine Romney’s campaign during the primaries. In this way in is somewhat analogous to Al Gore first raising the Willie Horton attack against Michael Dukakis before the Republicans. (On the other hand, Gore did not make the attack in the same manner as the Republicans later did.) It was one thing for conservatives to say Mitt Romney is not conservative enough, potentially helping Romney in a general election campaign. The latest attacks, including taking this line out of context as well as some valid criticism of Romney’s business record, can undermine Romney’s arguments in a general election campaign.

It remains to be seen how severe this line will hurt Romney’s election chances. One thing is clear. If there ever was a chance that Donald Trump would be made Romney’s running mate, this makes such a move far less likely.



  1. 1
    Captin Sarcastic says:

    I heard the Willie Horton analogy today and it is an interesting take, but I think a better analogy of Mitt’s capitalist experience relative to his campaign is John Kerry’s “reporting for duty” comment.
    Kerry and many supporters believed his military experience, especially in comparison to GWB, was his greatest strength in the general election. In the end, it was turned into his greatest liability, owing to a LOT of well funded lying.
    Romney points to his experience in the private sector as his greatest strength and most important differentiator between him and the rest of the field, and especially Barack Obama. Because Romney, like Kerry, made a single element so central to the narrative they have tried to create, they can’t walk it back.
    Romney is going to wish he was a career politican before this is all over, and his experience with Bain Capital is going to turn from what he believed to be his greatest strength into his biggest weakness, and ultimately, why their just won’t be nearly enough enthusiam to put him in the White House, regardless of how disappointed some folks have been led to be with the performance of President Obama.
    Of course the fact that unemployment will be down below 8% and the economy will be noticeably better by November isn’t going to help the GOP either.
    By October, the GOP will be stuck saying it would have been better faster if their guy was in charge. Not exactly a memorable bumper sticker.

  2. 2
    TJ Walker says:

    Great ad on mocking Romney “I like being able to fire people” quote:

  3. 3
    karenc says:

    There are so many ways that this should hurt Romney, if not now, but in the general elections. First, there is the obvious out of context hit.
    The second though is how it sounds in context . While, people often do make the decision to fire someone doing work for them, most of us take no pleasure from it – and sometimes even tell a white lie, not to say that their work is a problem. With him, his eyes are lit up, his demeanor is “all fired up” and defiant and he says he LIKES firing people. I can remember many managers who looked like they were going through Hell in the days when they had to decide who would be laid off. 
    A third problem was he was distorting the healthcare reform bill. He almost makes it sound like we had gone to single payer – and had no choice and that people would really rather having the ability to “fire” their healthcare insurer. (Ignoring that a large percent of the population has it through their employer – and though they could opt out, it would be financially dumb in most cases.
    Kerry’s explained – which it had been a few minutes before the unfortunate shorthand – actually makes him look better as it was another time where he was right. We would be in a lot less debt had the Senate (and the House) voted for the version Kerry did – and forced Bush to sign it.  Unlike Romney, it says nothing bad about his values.

  4. 4
    Ron Chusid says:

    I hate to use this statement itself because it is out of context. Firing people, even when necessary, is certainly not something I or most people who own business like to do. This could raise the question of whether he does like to fire people in other contexts.

    Romney’s misconceptions about the health care plan are a different matter, and he should definitely be criticized for distorting how the plan works. If you want to fire your health care plan, Obama makes it much easier. Currently most markets are highly dominated by a single insurance plan. There will be far more choices when the exchanges are operational.

    Unfortunately Kerry’s statement sounded ridiculous when played in commercials regardless of the true meaning. His original speech was received well by the audience–who heard the entire speech and not just one clip. The real problem here is that it is impossible to word everything optimally one hundred percent of the time in an age in which everything is recorded.

  5. 5
    RepublycanParty says:

    Romney Damaged By Line When Taken Out Of Context Liberal Values: Liberal Values Defending Liberty and Enlightene…

1 Trackbacks

Leave a comment