I'm trying to imagine the conversations candidate Mitt Romney is having with his senior campaign staff after another one of his unfortunate misstatements.
A staffer might say, "Mitt, what the heck did you mean by saying you're not concerned about the very poor. Do you see how bad that sounds?"
Romney replies, "I'm getting sick and tired of the media constantly reporting the actual words that I speak. It's so unfair. Anyway, did you see the context of that interview? All I meant was we have a lot more middle class people than poor people, so I'm going to worry more about them."
"OK, I think I understand what you're trying to say," replies the staffer, "but why would you lead off your remarks by saying that you're not concerned about the very poor? That's the part that's going to re-circulate all over You Tube. And it doesn't sound very charitable, does it?"
"Hey, I did say something about repairing the safety net, didn't I? Why don't the media report on that?"
"That was a good one," admits the staffer. "Of course anybody who takes a minute to look at your budget proposals knows that you're actually planning to rip giant holes in the safety net."
"Give me a break," responds the candidate. "I'm tired. Anyway, the very poor are only a small part of the electorate, and we're making efforts to make sure they don't vote. The middle class is who we need to be concerned about. There seem to be an awful lot of them, and they seem to have a lot of worries about their own circumstances. They're not going to care about the poor, are they?"
"There you go again, Mitt. Our supporters might not care too much about the very poor, but it still doesn't sound very Christian to them if you come right out and say you're not concerned about the very poor."
"OK, OK, I get it. I'll try to lay off the poor."
"That's the spirit, Mitt. You know, poor people are people too."
"Oh yeah, you mean like corporations?"
"Not quite. We're not proposing any tax breaks for poor people. And we don't mind regulating them either."
"Hmm. Maybe I'd just better not talk about poor people anymore then. But what can I talk about? You told me not to say I like firing people. I'm not supposed to say anything nice about corporations. I can't talk about money or taxes. And now I have to leave poor people alone?"
"Just keep saying that everything is Obama's fault. That seems to be your best tactic. I like that line in your speech last night about how Obama got us into this mess. Keep repeating that, and people might forget that we had the economic mess before Obama even got into office, and things have been steadily improving ever since."
"It is kind of hard to explain that, isn't it? It just comes so much more naturally to me to admit that I don't give a crap about the poor."
"I understand, Mitt, just stay on your toes, ok?"