Mitt Romney: 'I Like Being Able to Fire People'

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Update 2:54 p.m.: Romney has responded to the flurry of attention given to his comments with the predictable, and sensible response typical of his conflict-averse campaign. "I understand in politics people can decide to grasp at anything and take it out of context and make it something it's not," Romney said at a Monday campaign event. "That's the nature of the process. I've got to be an adult about it and recognize it comes with the territory."

Sure he's talking about private health care, but this video is just waiting to be turned into an attack ad. As Think Progress notes, Romney was speaking at a campaign event in Nashua, New Hampshire on Monday morning, arguing that people should be able to buy their own health insurance if they wish to. A 32-second clip (above) makes that context clear. But unfortunately for Romney however, he used seven words that politicians shouldn't use amid 8.5 percent unemployment: "I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I’m going to go get somebody else to provide that service to me." A 17-second version of the moment (below) sounds much harsher and seems pretty likely to be replayed again and again in the campaign season. Of course it's not really a fair attack: he's not really talking about his layoff-littered business history, which attack ads are already criticizing. But strict attention to placing words in context that hasn't always been a big priority for the Romney campaign. Rick Perry took that line of attack on Romney in South Carolina on Monday morning, saying at an event, according to ABC News, "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." But that was in response to the last time Romney, a multimillionaire, tried to feel the pain of the unemployed, saying at a New Hampshire event on Sunday, "I know what its’ like to worry about whether or not you are going to get fired. There are times when I wondered whether I was going to get a pink slip.”

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