Quote of the Day: Ann Romney Doesn't Consider Herself Wealthy

The front-runner's wife proves she's as skilled at putting her foot in her mouth as her husband.

Here's Ann Romney on Fox News Monday:

Those that are suffering from M.S. or cancer or any disease I feel like I want to throw my arms open and say, welcome to my family and welcome to the place where I've been and, so, you know, we can be poor in spirit and I don't look -- I don't even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow, and how I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and the people I care about in my life and that is where my values are and those are my riches so for me having done through a difficult period in my life both with M.S. and with breast cancer it has done something to my heart and it's softened my heart and made me realize there are many people suffering in this country and they are suffering from things that aren't financial -- and some people are suffering from things that are financial, as well -- but those that are suffering, for me, I just have a larger capacity for love, and for understanding."

Guess which part of that quote is getting the most attention? If you guessed this part, you win: "I don't even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow."


There are already (!) two schools of thought on this. The liberal organization Think Progress snipped the video (above) without context. The Washington Post's Chris Cillizza criticizes that move, arguing the context is important. Perhaps -- and it's true that Ann Romney was making a genuine point about how health is more important than wealth, a view few Americans would disagree with. But that's too simplistic a view. First, after gleefully and unrepentantly taking President Obama out of context, the Romney camp has forfeited its right to mount the high horse. Second, it's unclear whether the full context really helps her out much. After all, it's easy for a multimillionaire to dismiss financial concerns in an aside ("and some people are suffering from things that are financial, as well").

Throughout the Republican campaign, candidates' wives have been seen as the voices of reason for bumbling men: Callista Gingrich the steadying influence on her erratic mate; Karen Santorum reading Rick the riot act for calling Obama a snob for pushing education; Ann Romney humanizing her sometimes robotic husband. As it turns out, women are people too, and just as fallible. No one who likes Mitt Romney is going to be swayed by the clip. But insofar as there's an impression that he can't connect with or isn't concerned about the poor, it certainly doesn't help.

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David A. Graham is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Politics Channel. He previously reported for Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, and The National.

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