Addressing the Detroit Economic Club Friday afternoon, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R) reprised his familiar line that “the trees are the right height” and “the streets are just right” in his home state.
But he also made another statement that could draw him some unwanted attention: he told the crowd that his wife, Ann Romney, drives “a couple of Cadillacs.”
“This feels good, being back in Michigan,” Romney said. “You know, the trees are the right height. The streets are just right. I like the fact that most of the cars I see are Detroit-made automobiles. I drive a Mustang and a Chevy pick-up truck. Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs, actually. And I used to have a Dodge truck. So I used to have all three covered.”
(C-SPAN has a better-quality version of the video here)
The Romney campaign later said Ann Romney drives two Cadillac SRX’s (model years 2007 and 2010), one in California and one in Massachusetts.
The 2010 model of the luxury compact SUV retails for about $36,000 to $50,000, while the 2007 model retails for $38,000 to $44,000. (The base MSRP for a Cadillac SRX is $35,485, according to the Edmunds car price Web site.)
The “Cadillacs” line — which was not in the prepared text of Romney’s speech — would not be so troublesome if it weren’t for the fact that Romney has shown a tendency to make unforced errors on the campaign trail when making comments related to wealth.
Last month, Romney remarked that he “like(s) being able to fire people,” a comment that Democrats immediately seized on to paint the candidate as out-of-touch with the middle class. He has described his net worth as “between 150 and 200 some-odd million.” And he said in a CNN interview that he was not concerned about the “very poor,” a statement he later walked back.
Romney’s latest remark, while not a major flub, would seem to fit into that narrative: In an effort to emphasize that he drives all American-made vehicles, Romney instead drew attention to the fact that his family owns multiple cars in multiple states.
The timing of the comment is also unfortunate for Romney, coming at a point when the candidate is working to steer the GOP primary debate back to economic issues, his strong suit in the race.
Staff writers Philip Rucker and Dan Eggen contributed to this story.
This story has been updated.