Romney’s words taken out of context

Mitt Romney has been quite the controversial candidate, spawning some very questionable statements.

During his campaign trail, Romney has constantly made statements that alienate or insult (sometimes both) a range of Americans. The comments have also become sources of political humor, but many Americans are not laughing. I understand people’s ill feelings toward the comments made, but it is important to note that they were taken out of context.

Romney, in a Republican presidential debate in October 2011, said: “I’m running for office, for Pete’s sake. I can’t have illegals.” Texas Gov. Rick Perry claimed that Romney knowingly had illegal immigrants working on his property. The context we are missing is that Romney then defended himself saying that he had hired a lawn company who had employed the immigrants. He tried to make clear that after he found out their status, he immediately had them fired.

Then, on a February morning in an interview with CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, Romney was quoted: “I’m in this race because I care about the Americans. I’m not concerned about the very poor — we have a safety net there.” Romney said this when he talked about his focus on the middle class. O’Brien asked him to clarify, stating “I think there are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say, ‘That sounds odd.’” Romney then tried to explain that he believes that there are a sufficient amount of resources for those who cannot seem to make ends meet. He also said he is not concerned about the very rich because they “are doing just fine,” thus leaving his primary focus on the middle class.

Most recently, at a May fundraiser in which Romney was speaking to a group of wealthy donors in Florida, he said, “There are 47 percent of people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with (President Barack Obama), who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that the government has a responsibility to care for them. … My job is not to worry about those people.”

The comments were secretly taped and released earlier this week on Mother Jones. Romney called a press conference to explain that while the comments were “not elegantly stated,” he would stand by his statements.

Romney has received much backlash and criticism for many comments he has made, but viewers are simply over-analyzing. On the surface, it may seem that Romney does not care about poor people or that he doesn’t care about 47 percent of America, but this isn’t completely true or even what he meant.

Americans are near the end of a dramatic and exhausting race. And the end of races tends to get ugly. The election is right around the corner, and at this point, either you are winning or losing.

And right now Romney doesn’t seem to be heading to Victor’s Village. Romney has realized that there isn’t anything he can do to sway the 47 percent, and while the comments were insulting, he has a point — that last stretch isn’t easy, especially with President Obama currently being ahead in the polls. Anything can change between now and Election Day, but it seems to be highly unlikely that a major shift would occur. As expected, Americans felt that they had less in common with Romney than Obama.

The history of his comments shows that they can be easily taken out of context and that he didn’t put as much thought into the comments as the people analyzing their meaning.

I’m not saying that the comments were right, but I’m saying give the guy a break. At the end of such hard-fought races, participants usually hold on as long as they can. If anything, it’s better to go down with a fight than to give up, and Romney’s attempt to explain the comments, or lack thereof, shows that he is not giving up so easily.

The rule in political campaigns is to make the other side look as incompetent and unqualified as possible, but you have to try to listen and understand. Regardless of whom you want to win the race, you have to understand the whole competition, not just the out-of-context statements made in it.

Ta’les is a junior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]