The Wit, Wisdom and Compassion of Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives on stage on election night November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts, m
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney arrives on stage on election night November 7, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts, moments before conceding defeat to US President Barack Obama in the 2012 US presidential election. AFP PHOTO/EMMANUEL DUNAND (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

  • "This a man of wisdom and judgment, and he could have been president of the United States. That's the kind of person I'd like to have -- a person of wisdom and judgment." (Speaking about Dick Cheney at an Arizona town hall, Sept 2011)
  • "As to what to do for the housing industry specifically and are there things that you can do to encourage housing: One is, don't try to stop the foreclosure process. Let it run its course and hit the bottom." (October 2011)
  • "I don't think I've ever hired an illegal in my life... We had a lawn company to mow our lawn, and they had illegal immigrants, and when that was pointed out to us, we let them go... So we went to the company and we said, 'Look, you can't have any illegals working on our property. I'm running for office, for Pete's sake. I can't have illegals.'" (Republican presidential debate, October 2011)
  • "Rick, I'll tell you what, 10,000 bucks? $10,000 bet?" (Republican debate, December 2011)
  • "Many Tea Party folks are going to find me, I believe, to be the ideal candidate." (Town hall in Charleston, S.C., December 2011)
  • "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me." (Speech to the Chamber of Commerce, Nashua, N.H., January 2012)
  • "I'm not concerned about the very poor." (CNN interview, February 2012)
  • "This President is putting us on a path where our lives will be ruled by bureaucrats and boards, commissions and czars." (Speech in Manchester, N.H., April 2012)
  • "[Obama] wants another stimulus. He wants to hire more government workers. He says we need more fireman, more policeman, more teachers. Did he not get the message of Wisconsin?" (June 2012)
  • "I was born at Harper Hospital. No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate; they know that this is the place that we were born and raised." (Speech at rally near Detroit, August 2012)
  • "I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks." (Press statement, September 2012)
  • "No, middle income is 200,000 to 250,000 and less." (In response to George Stephanopoulos' question, "Is 100,000 middle income?" Good Morning America, September 2012)
  • "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, 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. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what... These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes -- doesn't connect. So he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives." (Secretly-taped speech at fundraiser, published in Mother Jones, September 2012)
  • "No, you go to the hospital, you get treated, you get care, and it's paid for, either by charity, the government or by the hospital. We don't have people that become ill, who die in their apartment because they don't have insurance." (Speaking in Ohio, October 2012)
  • "And I said, 'Well, gosh, can't we find some women that are also qualified?' And so we took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet. I went to a number of women's groups and said, 'Can you help us find folks,' and they brought us whole binders full of women." (Presidential debate at Hofstra University, October 2012)
  • "What the president's campaign did was focus on certain members of his base coalition, give them extraordinary financial gifts from the government, and then work very aggressively to turn them out to vote, and that strategy worked... With regards to the young people, for instance, a forgiveness of college loan interest, was a big gift... Free contraceptives were very big with young college-aged women. And then, finally, Obamacare also made a difference for them, because as you know, anybody now 26 years of age and younger was now going to be part of their parents' plan, and that was a big gift to young people. They turned out in large numbers, a larger share in this election even than in 2008 ... You can imagine for somebody making $25,000 or $30,000 or $35,000 a year, being told you're now going to get free health care, particularly if you don't have it, getting free health care worth, what, 10,000 per family, in perpetuity, I mean, this is huge ... Likewise with Hispanic voters, free health care was a big plus. But in addition with regards to Hispanic voters, the amnesty for children of illegals, the so-called Dream Act kids, was a huge plus for that voting group...He gave them [Hispanic voters] a big gift on immigration with the Dream Act amnesty program, which was obviously very, very popular with Hispanic voters, and then number two was Obamacare... It's a proven political strategy, which is giving a bunch of money to a group and, guess what, they'll vote for you." (Conference call with big donors explaining why he lost the election, November 2012)
  • Peter Dreier teaches politics at Occidental College and is the author of The 100 Greatest Americans of the 20th Century: A Social Justice Hall of Fame, published in July by Nation Books.