Mitt Romney’s ‘quiet room’ revelations


All this talk about Mitt Romney and his disdain for the 47 percent of the nation he views as entitled moochers has given me a sense of deja vu. Not so much what he said. It’s where he said it and the comfort such a setting seems to give him.

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During a “Today” show interview the morning after he won the New Hampshire primary, Romney was asked about his charge that President Obama was dividing the country “with the bitter politics of envy.” He agreed with Matt Lauer saying, “I think it's about class warfare.” Then Romney hammered Obama for “dividing America based on 99 percent versus 1 percent.”

“Aren’t there questions about the distribution of wealth without it being seen as envy?” Lauer asked. Romney’s response was an instant classic: “I think it's fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and tax policy and the like.”

“Quiet rooms.”

Like a quiet room at a Palm Beach fundraiser where Romney, as never before, spoke in great detail about what he would do as president. Or in Boca Raton, where the man who hopes to be president of the United States trashed the 47 percent of Americans he said support Obama. “There are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,” the multimillionaire Romney said with unnerving comfort. “[M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Conservative columnist Bill Kristol slammed Romney’s comments as “stupid and arrogant.” Peggy Noonan wrote last night on her Wall Street Journal blog, “This is not how big leaders talk.” No, and this is not how presidents talk, either. Romney has yet to learn that there are no “quiet rooms” on the presidential stage.

Jonathan Capehart is a member of the Post editorial board and writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog.
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