Monday, January 9, 2012

Romney Clarifies Remark on Firing People and Discharges Speech Writers Responsible for Gaffe

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HUDSON, N.H. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Mitt Romney's Republican rivals seized on a gaffe he made during a political speech at the Gilchrist Metal Fabricating plant in Hudson, N.H., in which the former Massachusetts governor declared that he liked to fire people who failed to provide the level of service he expects. The blunder occurred as Romney addressed members of the Nashua Chamber of Commerce on Monday. While discussing plans to improve the nation's "monopolistic" health insurance system, the presidential hopeful argued that insurance providers face inadequate incentives to offer better care to consumers. Most citizens obtain health coverage through employer-sponsored programs, Romney stated, which limits choices and the ability to "fire" providers who are not performing satisfactorily. "For example," Romney said, "I don't like the way my 70-year-old Cambodian masseuse ends my massages. But if I don't have the means to fire her and choose a different provider, I'm stuck with a dry, superficial and generally unhappy ending to my treatment. It's like bringing up sodomy without Santorum there -- you feel like something's missing."

"I like being able to fire people who provide services to me," Romney went on to say. "You know if someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say, you know, I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me."

Romney then held up two photos: one of his fat, leathery masseuse and her sandpaper like fingers beside another featuring a trim, blond Norwegian man with supple hands. "Who would you choose?" he asked the crowd. "Under the current system, you're not getting Sven."

Soon after the remarks were made, political foes began posting video of Romney uttering, "I like being able to fire people."

Although Romney initially blamed President Obama and other Democrats for the "out of context" clips, reporters pointed out that several GOP contenders -- including Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman -- had gone after Romney themselves.

Gingrich criticized Romney for advocating the arbitrary dismissal of workers in a poor economy plagued by high unemployment. He said: "This is why Mr. Romney's experience as a private sector businessman will never trump hard time in the political arena -- because he sees people as commodities. They're not. They're voters. He may be able to sack a person because she can't brew a decent cup of coffee -- not that he's allowed to drink coffee -- but that's not acceptable to true Republicans. We're the party of employment. We prefer not to fire anybody for any reason. Look, when I first entered the race, my campaign was about as relevant, coherent and appealing as a 'Human Centipede' marathon. But I didn't fire my aides. They all quit in disgust. That was their choice."

Gingrich drove the point home with a George W. Bush analogy: "Arguably the worst president in U.S. history, Mr. Bush. And he brought with him the likes of Rumsfeld, Cheney, Gonzalez, Ashcroft and a host of other atrocities to hang in his rogue's gallery. He wasn't just a poor chief executive, he was a pathetic, ignorant, pointless moron who thought if he screwed the pooch hard enough, God would wipe the slate clean and emancipate his soul during an apocalypse to make Rick Santorum and Tim Tebow question their faith. And we elected Bush twice. Lord knows how many crimes he allowed his administration to commit. Legal experts say more than 700. But did we fire him? No, we did not. We couldn't even bring ourselves to fire Clinton. We'd let the country crash and burn in a fiery, twisted mass of molten metal before raising taxes or unemployment rates. Mr. Romney, however, would obviously compromise both, seeing as how his willy-nilly firing of workers would put huge strains on taxes by proxy of welfare and unemployment compensation."

Romney continued to insist that his comments were taken out of context and edited, but acknowledged that his staff of speech writers had provided him with an "unacceptable and misleading product." To demonstrate his commitment to integrity, fostering job creation and becoming president, Romney terminated the speech writers who caused the problem. He also added that firing people, including corporations, does not "necessarily create higher unemployment but a larger pool of available labor with the choice to work for better employers."

(c) 2011. See disclaimers.

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