Mitt Romney is taking some heat for his remark about the poor:
Now, I'm no Romney supporter, and this is classic political foot-in-mouth syndrome. But on the other hand, I have to ask: has feigning some sort of super-concern for those living in poverty become another part of our once-every-four-year's game of national politics? And, apart from political campaigns, does it mean much?
Multi-millionaire Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is taking fire from his political rivals over remarks suggesting he is indifferent to America's poor.
The wealthy ex-governor of Massachusetts and former private equity executive made the comments in an interview with CNN on the morning after his crucial victory in the Florida primary.
"I'm not concerned about the very poor - we have a safety net there," he said.
"If it needs repair, I'll fix it."
Mr Romney was making a point also made by president Barack Obama about the need to shore up the American middle class.
But his language fed perceptions that he is out of touch with ordinary people.
"You can choose where to focus, you can focus on the rich, that's not my focus," he said.
"You can focus on the very poor, that's not my focus. My focus is on middle income Americans, retirees living on social security, people who can't find work."
Some would argue that it does--and that what it means is actually not such a good thing. Like in the present debate about the HHS's anti-Catholic policy, there's an assumption on the left that people really do need government solutions to everything. Promiscuous women all over America will suffer greatly if their employers aren't forced to buy them contraceptive pills or pay to have them sterilized! The very poor will suffer greatly if we don't force the present level of government safety-net programs to be increased exponentially! And so on.
But isn't there something condescending, in the case of the very poor, in the way they and their concerns are used to get votes by people who have no idea of what real poverty is like, and who have never shared their burdens or understood their challenges? And isn't there something objectifying about insisting that campaigns run by millionaires have to give a certain sort of insincere nod to poverty in order to be taken seriously?
I don't know the answer here; poverty is a real problem. But if we have some sort of simplistic national faith in the ability of any president to "fix" poverty in one or even two four-year terms, doesn't that say more about our credulity and desire to push off our own responsibilities to the poor onto the government than it does about our presidential candidates?