Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s answer Monday to a question about health-insurance policy that included the remark “I like being able to fire people” is being criticized by his Republican and Democratic rivals and circulated widely in the blogosphere.

The Plumline’s Greg Sargent points out that Romney’s quote has been taken out of context in some reporting, but the sound bite was all his opponents needed.

The Democratic National Committee cut the minute-plus response to this 17-second clip , which it posted on its YouTube page and e-mailed to its media list.

Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman told a crowd in New Hampshire, “It’s clear [Romney] likes firing people; I like creating jobs,” ABC reported.

Romney’s comment is bait for the already escalating attacks from the rest of the GOP field over job losses at companies that his former firm, Bain Capital, shuttered or reorganized.

A super PAC supporting Newt Gingrich over the weekend began teasing a film it will distribute online about Romney’s time at Bain. It calls him a “corporate raider” and features interviews with former employees of the companies run by Bain. Winning our Future made a $3.4 million ad buy in South Carolina to promote the film.

Romney on Sunday responded to attacks by saying he once worried he was “going to get a pink slip.”

Rick Perry jumped into the fray Monday morning in South Carolina, the New York Times reported:

“Now, I have no doubt Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out because his company, Bain Capital, of all the jobs that they killed,” Mr. Perry said. “I’m sure he was worried that he would run out of pink slips.”

Former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum did not add to the chorus this morning when a reporter asked him about Romney’s comments. Santorum said he would not make Romney’s record at Bain an issue because “I believe in the private sector.”

Twitter mentions of Romney spiked this morning after the event and continue to rise, according to @MentionMachine data about him.


Romney: ‘I like being able to fire people who provide services to me’

Anti-Romney Bain attacks hit South Carolina

What is the @MentionMachine?