Mitt Romney Says He 'Misspoke' On 'Very Poor' Comments

RENO, Nev. -- Mitt Romney said he misspoke when he said he was not very concerned about poor people.

In an interview Thursday with Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston, Romney said his comments were an accidental "misstatement" of a position that he's repeated throughout his presidential campaign.

"I misspoke. I've said something that is similar to that but quite acceptable for a long time. And you know when you do I don't know how many thousands of interviews now and then you may get it wrong. And I misspoke. Plain and simple," he said. "Well what I said was my focus, my primary focus, is helping people get into the middle class and grow the middle class."

He said later that he wasn't running for president because of the wealthy. "The wealthy are doing just fine. I'm not running for president for the wealthy. Who in the world would care about running for president for the wealthy? I'm worried about the great majority of Americans--the middle class of America and the poor that used to be middle class, I want them back in the middle class."

The front-runner in the GOP nomination race said Wednesday in a CNN interview that he was "not very concerned about the very poor" because they have an "ample safety net."

In the interview with Ralston, he also addressed a comment he made previously to the Las Vegas Review-Journal where he said, "Don't try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom." Nevada also is the state hardest-hit by foreclosures in the nation.

"When I say 'don't stop the foreclosure process' what I mean by that is the best way to stop it is by getting the economy going so home values rise and people can meet their obligations," he said. "That's the best way to stop foreclosures. The idea of the government stepping in and trying to delay the process--that only continues to have the overhang of foreclosures and declining home values."

"The right course is not to say 'let's have the government write big checks to people,'" he said.

Ralston pressed Romney on his endorsement by Donald Trump, and asked if the former Massachusetts governor was offended by the real estate mogul's persistent questions about the validity of President Barack Obama's birth certificate. "The way Donald Trump will address an issue and the way I address an issue will often times be different," he said. "That doesn't mean I'm going to reject the endorsement of people of significance of this country who share values, who share beliefs on a whole host of issues. If we can agree 80 percent of the time we're on the same team."