A 1962 interview with Mitt Romney’s mom reveals his father was on “welfare relief” when he first arrived in the U.S. as a refugee from Mexico. The archived footage was published on Buzzfeed on September 3, before hidden camera footage with Romney’s controversial “47%” comments made headlines.
In the video, identified only as an infomercial for George Romney’s gubernatorial run in Michigan, Lenore Romney says George’s family was poor, living on potatoes and on welfare.
Below is the transcript from the 1962 interview with Lenore Romney:
INTERVIEWER: “There are those who say that since he’s a man of considerable means he really doesn’t care about people.”
LENORE ROMNEY: “You know we’ve only owned our home for the last four years. He was a refugee from Mexico. He was on relief, welfare relief for the first years of his life. But this great country gave him opportunities.
“The family was poor. He said they lived for a year on nothing but potatoes. He’s known what it is to have to work for every dime he’s had since he was 12.”
“Oh my God! George Romney was on welfare, so according to Mitt Romney’s own logic Mitt Romney could not win the vote of his dad who would be part of the 47% of unconvincibles,” the “Daily Show’s” John Stewart said jokingly on Tuesday night. (It starts at about the 4:48 mark.)
But Colorlines.com’s economic justice blogger Imara Jones says there’s not much to joke about.
“The video reveals that the ahistorical nature of Romney’s “47 percent” rant extends to his own family. He’s spun a story of America that isn’t even in sync with his own experience. It also underscores that people who are in tough situations, like Romney’s father, are there due to circumstances beyond their control and our help to stabilize,” said Jones, who recently wrote a story titled “Mitt Romney’s ‘47 Percent’ Remarks Have Everything To Do With Race.”
“A single mother or father who earns $22,000 a year, works two jobs and is in school—and therefore pays no federal income tax—is on their way to a better place. As with Romney’s father, they just need all of our help until they can get there,” Jones went on to say.