Mitt Romney annoyed the conservatives in the GOP by implying the government should take care of the "very poor," and he annoyed sentient people by implying the government had taken care of the "very poor."
Which is where the statement gets really offensive, despite his argument with Soledad O'Brien about what he really said. His meaning was clear: the "very poor" aren't really "very poor," because the social "safety net" is so generous and so supportive of them. "They're fine," Mr. Romney assures us (from his vast experience with the poor).
Contrast that attitude with the attitude of another scion of wealth, John F. Kennedy:
While the so-called religious issue is necessarily and properly the chief topic here tonight, I want to emphasize from the outset that we have far more critical issues to face in the 1960 election: the spread of Communist influence, until it now festers 90 miles off the coast of Florida; the humiliating treatment of our president and vice president by those who no longer respect our power; the hungry children I saw in West Virginia; the old people who cannot pay their doctor bills; the families forced to give up their farms; an America with too many slums, with too few schools, and too late to the moon and outer space.Or consider Kennedy's approach to the poverty he saw in West Virginia in 1960:
Kennedy presented a detailed outline of his program for West Virginia in a speech in Wayne on April 25, 1960. In the speech Kennedy stressed the need to increase unemployment benefits and modernize food distribution. He outlined a plan to create a youth conservation corps to give jobs to young West Virginians and to improve the infrastructure within the state. Kennedy also discussed the need to “develop steam plants in West Virginia to better utilize coal extraction. In a speech at Bethany College two days later, Kennedy stated, “We are failing to provide for those who have too little. We are increasing our wealth, but we are failing to use that great wealth to meet the urgent needs of millions of our citizens and the demands of our growing nation.”Kennedy was concerned, but Romney isn't.
Beware of people who tell you somebody else is trying to divide the country. Such people see the beam in their eye reflected in the eyes of everyone they look at.
(No, that's RFK, not JFK, in the photo. But try to imagine Mitt there. I can't, either.)