Romney: I like being able to fire people who provide subpar services; Update: Huntsman, Perry pile on

Well, don’t we all. In fact, there’s one guy in particular who I’m itching to fire in November.

In case you haven’t seen it elsewhere, here’s the outrageous outrage du jour, a Democratic attack so cheap and out-of-context that even lefty Greg Sargent felt obliged to defend Romney from it. The full, entirely unobjectionable quote: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me. … You know, if someone doesn’t give me a good service, then I want to say, ‘I’m going to go get someone else to provide that service to me.'” Surely, surely, only an especially desperate Democratic hack would stoop to twisting that.


Huntsman quickly tried to capitalize on Romney’s remarks — later on Monday morning in New Hampshire he said, in contrast, that he likes “creating jobs.”

“What’s clear is he likes firing people, I like creating jobs,” Huntsman said in Concord.

Team Huntsman went so far as to send out a blast e-mail with the following statement from one of its senior advisors:

“Today, Mitt Romney reminded voters why he’s one of the weakest frontrunners in presidential history. ‘I like being able to fire people’ doesn’t exactly scream electability. History shows that nominating a gaffe-prone, out-of-touch, flip-flopping, inauthentic candidate is a losing strategy. Yet, John Kerry’s legacy lives on with Mitt Romney. Voters are looking for someone they can trust. That’s Jon Huntsman, not Mitt Romney.”

The authentic, non-flip-flopping senior advisor who authored that: John Weaver, who left the GOP for a time to become a Democratic strategist after McCain’s failed presidential bid in 2000 and is now known chiefly for saying things like, “There’s a simple reason our party is nowhere near being a national governing party. No one wants to be around a bunch of cranks.” Even better, appended to Weaver’s e-mail statement are a bunch of news stories from the past few months designed to illustrate how out of touch Romney is; the very first one is this old WaPo piece describing how Romney once went fishing for a $1 bill in his wallet but only had $100 on him at the time. There’s no class warfare like class warfare waged by the son of a billionaire, my friends.

Exit question: Does Romney deserve a tiny bit of criticism simply for handing Democrats an easily distorted soundbite? Politicians shouldn’t be hyper-cautious about everything they say but a guy who’s now taking flak even from Republican candidates about his work at Bain needs to be exceptionally careful in how he talks about layoffs.

Update: Turns out Huntsman isn’t the only desperate Republican to stoop this low. Enjoy your new ringtone, Perry fans.