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January 09, 2012 2:00 PM Fear of pink slips

By Steve Benen

Mitt Romney tends to run into trouble when he tries to relate to Americans who are struggling. There was that time over the summer, for example, that he joked about being “unemployed.”

The multi-millionaire stumbled into a similar situation in New Hampshire yesterday, reflecting on the times he feared losing his job. “I know what it’s like to worry whether you’re gonna get fired,” Romney said. “There were a couple of times I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.”

By all appearances, this is plainly false. Looking back over his career choices, there was simply never a moment at which Romney was likely to get fired from anything. Arguably the only people who wanted to give him a pink slip were his constituents in Massachusetts, who grew to dislike him quite a bit. But Romney didn’t give them a chance — rather than lose a re-election bid, the governor quit after one term.

Asked by reporters for an example of Romney worrying about getting fired, his campaign team offered nothing, which is generally a big hint that the candidate just made it up.

But as it turns out, Romney’s manufactured memories opened the door to a new line of attack from his Republican rivals.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry picked up the attacks on Mitt Romney this morning, trying to capitalize off the former Bain Capital executive’s comment that he once feared getting a pink slip.

“Now I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out because his company Bain Capital with all the jobs that they killed, I’m sure he was worried that he’d run out of pink slips,” Perry told the crowd at Mama Penn’s restaurant.

Perry laid into Romney for heading a company which Perry alleged eliminated hundreds of South Carolina jobs.

“There is something inherently wrong when getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is how you do your business and I happen to think that’s indefensible,” said Perry. “If you’re a victim of Bain Capital’s downsizing, it’s the ultimate insult for Mitt Romney to come to South Carolina and tell you he feels your pain, because he caused it.”

Ouch.

It must really be crunch time — Rick Perry’s campaign rhetoric is getting sharper and more interesting.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

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  • c u n d gulag on January 09, 2012 2:06 PM:

    I'm waiting to hear from Icky Sticky Rickey to hear what he thinks about Mitt's "pink slip's."


    No.
    No - maybe I don't.

  • smartalek on January 09, 2012 2:14 PM:

    Well, if we can't have any Democrats with the heart/guts/spine to say things like this, and we clearly won't hear any such from the supine corporate media, I guess we'll have to find our rhetorical support where we can.
    Still, our country's in a pretty parlous state when we have to rely on a political psycho like Perry to champion the people (or as some of my favorite winger trolls are fond of saying, "the populous").

  • withay on January 09, 2012 2:17 PM:

    third paragraph: "Looking back over his career choices, there was simply a moment at which Romney was likely to get fired from anything."

    Please add "never" between "simply" and "a moment"

    [Good catch, I got it. --Mod]

  • Curmudgeon on January 09, 2012 2:29 PM:

    The Republican circular firing squad has just received a shipment of laser sights.

  • internet tough guy on January 09, 2012 2:36 PM:

    Oh NOW they start attacking him.

  • Joe Friday on January 09, 2012 2:40 PM:

    "Ouch" indeed.

    The DNC has to be chompin' at the bit, but they know they need to keep their powder dry until they can see the whites of Willards fancy omelette.

  • dj spellchecka on January 09, 2012 2:40 PM:

    i think mittens is confusing "pink slip" with "golden parachute"

    ps

    uaw worker confronts mitt over being anti-bailout

    buzzfeed

    In the latest episode of a campaign being waged by Mitt Romney's diverse opponents to characterize him as a greedy job-cutter, representatives of the United Auto Workers showed up at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast here to press him on his opposition to the 2008 auto bailout.

    Outside the event, a small group of protesters marched in a circle, chanting, "Romney gets the loot! Workers get the boot!"

    Inside the Radison in Nashua, Julie Kushner, a UAW elected director from Connecticut, stood up and interrupted Romney to preach about the harm that would have been caused if his position regarding the bailouts had been implemented. (In 2008, Romney penned an op-ed for the New York Times titled, "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.")

    "It would be better if GM had gone under?" the woman challenged Romney. "Over a million jobs were saved, good-paying jobs."

    Romney was reluctant at first to engage Kushner because organizers hadn't called on her, but he eventually responded that he would have preferred GM's creditors taking ownership of the company "instead of being owned by the UAW."

    http://www.buzzfeed.com/mckaycoppins/auto-workers-stalk-romney-in-new-hampshire

  • Josef K on January 09, 2012 2:45 PM:

    Pity this didn't come out two months ago, when it might've actually meant something. I'm thinking the best we can hope for is Romney becoming such damaged goods the electorate (the thinking part of it anyway) recognizes him for what he is.

  • internet tough guy on January 09, 2012 2:49 PM:

    "he eventually responded that he would have preferred GM's creditors taking ownership of the company "instead of being owned by the UAW."

    HAHA OH WOW

  • chi res on January 09, 2012 2:57 PM:

    “Now I have no doubt that Mitt Romney was worried about pink slips — whether he was going to have enough of them to hand out because his company Bain Capital with all the jobs that they killed, I’m sure he was worried that he’d run out of pink slips,” Perry told the crowd at Mama Penn’s restaurant.

    Rick Perry’s campaign rhetoric is getting sharper and more interesting.

    Certainly a different kind of "sharp" and "interesting" than they taught in rhetoric class when I went to school.

  • Rob on January 09, 2012 3:04 PM:

    What an unmitigated asshole Mitt Romney is.

    Even if he was fired from a dozen jobs, having a VAST PERSONAL FORTUNE to fall back on changes everything when you've lost a job. The fact that he doesn't get that shows how separated he is from the people he's so desperately trying to suck up to.

    The Mittster is complete and utter dolt, and if he is the nominee, Pres. Obama will clean his f*cking clock.

  • DAY on January 09, 2012 3:17 PM:

    According to Perry, there are TWO South Carolina companies that experienced Bain Pain, up close, and personal.

  • dalloway on January 09, 2012 3:23 PM:

    I'm beginning to think Mittens has some kind of mental impairment. No, seriously, maybe all the flip-flops and gaffes are because he has trouble maintaining a train of thought due to short-term memory issues or ADD. He literally seems incapable of thinking and talking at the same time. What does that say about his ability to handle the hardest job in the world?

  • j on January 09, 2012 3:34 PM:

    Could it be a coincidence that yesterday Willard had a difficult time on NBC in the a.m. also in the evening Christie (the human mountain of flab) flew to New Hampshire to hold a Romney town hall, I get the feeling that (as
    Romney would say) he cannot take the heat so should get out of the kitchen.

  • W.R. German on January 09, 2012 3:42 PM:

    Honk if you would like to fire Willard Romney from (any job).

    Cover your ears, America, the next 48 hours are gonna be NOISY!!!!

  • MNRD on January 09, 2012 4:00 PM:

    Now the Romney campaign is claiming that Rick Perry is a socialist!!! I kid you not!

    Are these guys deliberately trying to brand their candidate as an outrageous serial liar, or what?

  • RT on January 09, 2012 4:28 PM:

    @Josef K:

    "Pity this didn't come out two months ago, when it might've actually meant something."

    So it isn't just Democrats who keep their powder dry too long.

  • IDTT on January 09, 2012 4:40 PM:

    How long before Newt Gingrich or Dick Santorum I meant "Rick" point out the only time he was worried about getting a pink slip was when he was governor of Massachusetts when it was 47th in job creation?

  • exlibra on January 09, 2012 5:59 PM:

    The only time Mittens might have been worried about getting a pink slip was in France; he spent so much time pissing into buckets (they had no running water there, doncha know), he wasn't delivering enough converts to the Mormon sky. And, being recalled to the US, in the midst of the Vietnam War, wouldn't have been all that appealing to him. Fortunately for him, his bosses didn't seem to take as much pleasure in firing people as he himself does.

  • Kathryn on January 09, 2012 7:12 PM:

    Mitt Romney is an incompetent wooden ass, let's hope they nominate him quickly before even the Rove camp realizes how hopeless he is. He can't handle the slightest challenging question he hasn't memorized, yikes. Hard to believe the GOP found someone worse than McCain to debate Barack Obama. One worrying factor for me, and many others no doubt, is the super PAC attacks coming against Obama, Citizens United is an abomination.

  • square1 on January 13, 2012 3:41 PM:

    What I find interesting is that Romney fails to distinguish between being fired and being laid off.

    There is a big difference between being worrying about being fired, because you haven't done your job correctly, and worrying about being laid off, because someone thinks that your job is no longer necessary or because the economy has made your job unaffordable for your employer.

    I wouldn't be surprised if Romney had worried about being fired at some point. I'd be shocked if he ever worried about being laid off.

    Honestly, I wouldn't make that big of a deal about this except that Romney is obviously trying to perform damage control over his previous "firing" comment. But his previous comment about enjoying the ability to fire people is indefensible except if he means that he enjoys having the option to fire people who fail to perform. Who "enjoys" laying people off?

    This is what Republicans don't get. There were millions of Americans who were doing nothing but going to their jobs every day until 2008. Then assholes like Romney flushed the economy down the toilet and millions of Americans suddenly were laid off, faced pay freezes or cuts, and feared pay or job cuts. These Americans didn't do anything wrong. They weren't fired. They got screwed.

  • Marnie on January 14, 2012 2:06 PM:

    There is a world of difference when you are working class with no safety net facing a loss of income and being a son of the rich and facing a lossof income.

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