Electable candidate: I didn’t earn much in speaking fees, just a few hundred thousand

posted at 7:52 pm on January 17, 2012 by Allahpundit

He didn’t quantify the amount himself, but then he doesn’t have to. The DNC’s ad team will do it for him when they pluck this soundbite a few months from now.

“What’s the effective rate I’ve been paying? It’s probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything,” Romney, a GOP presidential candidate, said. “My last 10 years, I’ve — my income comes overwhelmingly from investments made in the past rather than ordinary income or rather than earned annual income. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. And then I get speaker’s fees from time to time, but not very much.”…

Romney collected more than $360,000 in speaking fees from such companies as Barclay’s Bank and Goldentree Asset Management over a 12-month period ending last year, according to his financial disclosure filing.

Like Philip Klein and Ace, I don’t understand how he isn’t more attuned to his own rhetoric when talking about wealth. He knows the left is going to demagogue him for it; in virtually every other aspect of the campaign, he’s exhaustively prepared and disciplined. His critics were unfair in knocking him for saying he likes being able to fire people, but he has to realize that talking about “firing” anyone, in whatever context, is going to get their attention as part of an attack on Bain’s layoffs. Same here: Obviously he was speaking relatively when he said he doesn’t earn “much” from speaking fees, but even in that context, the takeaway is, “How much must this guy earn that $360,000 a year qualifies as ‘not very much’?” More from Klein:

Romney actually earned $374,327.62 from speaking fees in 2010 and early 2011, according to financial disclosure forms released earlier this year. That alone would put him among the top few percent of taxpayers. Of course, the point Romney was trying to make was a technical accounting one — relative to his investment income, the speaking fees aren’t very big, which drives down his effective tax rate. I get it. But statements like this are just gold to President Obama, who hopes to make Romney a poster child for his class warfare reelection strategy. A comment like this, in the middle of January, isn’t likely to be on voters’ minds in November. But if Romney continues his pattern of making such statements, it will become a huge problem should he be the nominee.

If he’s trying to tamp down curiosity about his tax returns, he has a funny way of doing it. Even so, I do sympathize with him for having to walk a fine line rhetorically to avoid moronic-yet-effective lines of attack like this. For instance, I’m tempted to say that he should treat any amount of money, no matter how small, as “a lot” while on the trail since that’ll signal to voters that he’s in touch with blue-collar workers and that he’s likely to cut spending if elected. But that wouldn’t work, would it? Imagine him walking out of Starbucks with coffee and a reporter asks how much he paid and he replies, “Five bucks. A lot!” That would be true — it is a lot for coffee — but it would also sound bizarre and phony coming from a guy worth $250 million. The only way out, I think, is to studiously refuse to characterize any amount of money as large or small unless he’s talking about the federal budget. If he does that and treads lightly on rhetoric about laying people off, he won’t do much damage to himself.

The things we have to worry about in the era of omnipresent media. Here’s Pelosi insisting that the conservative base doesn’t really believe that Romney can beat Obama. Is she right?


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He is too rich to be my president. Definitely out of touch with the poor and the blue collar folks

liberal4life on January 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

He is too rich to be my president. Definitely out of touch with the poor and the blue collar folks

liberal4life on January 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

This quote from liberal4life is a good example of the mentality which is driving our nation into the gutter.

We should acknowledge and salute success, not trash and demonize it. How can a nation survive if accomplishment is disrespected and punished?

shinty on January 18, 2012 at 10:21 AM

He is too rich to be my president. Definitely out of touch with the poor and the blue collar folks

liberal4life on January 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Geee! Where have I heard that before?
Lobotomy4life?

KOOLAID2 on January 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM

I haven’t read or heard this anywhere, but I strongly suspect that there are many Democrats who are crossing over and voting for Romney to effectively block the conservative candidates, i.e., Newt and Santorum, in their version of “Operation Chaos,” such as Rush used to advocate while trying to derail Obama back in ’08. Our only hope is that either Newt or Santorum gets out for the good of the party. We simply cannot defeat Romney while continuing to split the conservative vote.

jfs756 on January 18, 2012 at 10:28 AM

He is too rich to be my president. Definitely out of touch with the poor and the blue collar folks

liberal4life on January 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

So you want someone who can’t manage their money, or earn a substantial wage to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world?
Actually, Mitt is wealthy, but not that wealthy, he isn’t even in the top 10,000 in wealth in America…

right2bright on January 18, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Lobotomy4life will ask this question daily for the next 200 days, even though many of you answered it numerous times. Can ‘it’ be fixed?

KOOLAID2 on January 17, 2012 at 8:18 PM

You can’t fix STUPID!!!

Gunlock Bill on January 18, 2012 at 10:35 AM

I have never seen Romney at least once defend his massive wealth. Is he ashamed of being rich?

Why is he trying to go the route of “I can feel your pain”?

liberal4life on January 17, 2012 at 8:52 PM
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…what….wat…wad….wad did I write half an hour ago? Oh yea!

Is Romney ashamed of his wealth?

liberal4life on January 17, 2012 at 9:24 PM
Lobotomy4life!

KOOLAID2 on January 17, 2012 at 11:28 PM

Since you just came out of mom’s basement…I’ll help you since I know your condition. (Psssst! It’s the 18th today….this was yesterdays thread).

He is too rich to be my president. Definitely out of touch with the poor and the blue collar folks

liberal4life on January 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

Pssssst!…If you scroll down…you can go back for months and look for pictures of Mittens…you can occupy yourself in the basement until November!

KOOLAID2 on January 18, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Quit using the worst pix of Romney you could ever find!

Bambi on January 17, 2012 at 7:59 PM

He looks like a corpse in that photo.

They do this to every candidate here, Bambi. You haven’t noticed until now? It’s not different because it’s Mitt.

capitalist piglet on January 18, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Compared to Bill Clinton’s $80M, $360K is not much.

BBReggie on January 18, 2012 at 10:43 AM

He can see that his candidate has no chance and it’s clear to him that his opinions of how these primaries would play out have been figments of his imagination. So all that is left is to find every anti-Romney article he can in a vain attempt to convince himself, beyond the common sense God gave him, that he must have been right all along and it’s just going to take a little bit more time for it to come to fruition.

csdeven on January 18, 2012 at 8:57 AM

You must be talking about workingclass artist,

Perry will win Texas…and Texas has 155 delegates. Florida delegates have been cut down to 50.

workingclass artist on January 16, 2012 at 10:27 AM

Perry will be the last man standing to go against Romney.

workingclass artist on January 16, 2012 at 10:45 AM

Too bad Perry is LOSING in Texas!!!!

And it has caused workingclass artist to lose her mind.

Tis sad to see.

Gunlock Bill on January 18, 2012 at 10:44 AM

When Obama is through with Mitt he will look like Marie Antoinette.

He has a glass jaw and the Republicans will lose if he is our candidate.

He is incapable of defending himself. You don’t send the private school mama’s boy into a playground fight with the school bully. He loses every time. And don’t think this thing is not going be a nasty, back scratching, hair pulling, biting fight. Romney is not equipped. He wants to “have discussion about his time at Bain”. And after all “Obama is rich too”. This is no more than the school yard taunt of “I’m rubber your glue, what bounces off me sticks to you”.

If we are stupid enough to send a glass jawed mama’s boy into a back alley fight, we get what we deserve.

Rio2010 on January 18, 2012 at 10:45 AM

He is too rich to be my president. Definitely out of touch with the poor and the blue collar folks

liberal4life on January 18, 2012 at 10:08 AM

He’s too male, too good looking, too religious, too East Coast, too smart, too business savvy, and he has too many kids to be my president! I want someone who looks, acts and thinks just like me to be president. /

2L8 on January 18, 2012 at 10:51 AM

But he’s the most electable!
Really, he is!
Really!
Hello??

GMO on January 18, 2012 at 11:56 AM

What is wrong with making money? Is this now a country where even Republicans bash someone for doing well? Romney has stayed on message and stayed organized. He was not my candidate, but he is looking better. Gingrich made money too- esp from Fannie and Freddie (or he could not have a bill of half million at Tiffanys!). This blows me away to find Democrat talking points on Hot Air!

AnnaS on January 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM

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