Obama Chides Romney Over Sudden Interest in Poverty

The president says he has noticed a change in the rhetoric of the Republican party.

Daniel Acker

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Let's just say it was a line that was bound to be spoken by Mitt Romney's critics sooner or later. 

Addressing the House Democratic retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday night, President Obama could not resist tossing a little shade in Romney's direction over the Republican millionaire's recent focus on poverty in America. 

“We have a former presidential candidate on the other side and [who is] suddenly deeply concerned about poverty," Obama said, as Politico reported. "That’s great, let’s go. Let’s do something about it.”

Romney is not the only prospective GOP presidential candidate to hone in on the plight of those who have been left behind as the nation continues to recover from the effects of the great recession. Rick Santorum, Jeb Bush, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Scott Walker, Chris Chiristie and Ted Cruz have all decried income inequality in recent weeks. 

"Republicans are and should be the party of the 47 percent," Senator Cruz declared this month in a deft swipe of Romney's famous recorded comment during the 2012 campaign, "we should be fighting for the little guy.”

Rhetoric such as that from a party that has steadfastly supported corporate tax breaks, fought expanding social programs, and opposed raising the minimum wage, has had many Democrats crying foul, and on Thursday, Obama summed up the feeling of many at the retreat. 

“Even though their policies haven’t quite caught up yet, their rhetoric is starting to sound pretty Democratic,” Obama said.

The president continued his pep talk to Democratic members of the House by focussing on, what else, those left behind during the recovery. 

"The ground that middle class families lost over the last 30 years still has to be made up, and the trends that have squeezed middle class families and those striving to get in the middle class, those trends have not been fully reversed," Obama said, adding, "So, as much as we should appreciate the progress that's been made, it shouldn't be a cause for complacency, because … we've got a lot more work to do."

 

 

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