Only hours after winning Florida's pivotal Republican primary, GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney may have damaged his chances in a potential showdown with President Barack Obama by telling CNN that he is unconcerned about the "very poor."
"I'm not concerned about the very poor," he said. "We have a safety net there. If it needs a repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich. They're doing just fine. I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90-95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling."
Romney said his remarks were taken out of context.
"Sometimes things don't come out exactly the way you'd like them to," he later explained. "That's not exactly what I meant to say. My focus is on middle income Americans. We do have a safety net for the very poor, and I said if there are holes in it I want to correct that."
Newt Gingrich, who came in a distant second in Florida's winner-take-all primary, seized on Romney's comments.
The former Speaker of the House said he was "fed up with politicians in either party dividing Americans against each other. I am running to be the president of all of the American people, and I am concerned about all of the American people."
Fellow candidates Ron Paul and Rick Santorum will also be looking to narrow Romney's lead heading into this weekend's Nevada primary.
However, Arizona Senator John McCain says Republicans should not be looking to capitalize on the sound-bite.
"This business of plucking phrases out of long statements is getting very tiresome," McCain told CNBC this morning.
McCain was in Florida last week campaigning on behalf of Romney, his rival for the 2008 GOP nod.
by RTT Staff Writer
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