Romney making it too easy for the liberal media?

Mitt's trouble with words


This is a rush transcript from "The Five," February 1, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GREG GUTFELD, CO-HOST: Covering primaries is hard. You wake up, turn on the TV, and when you realize you've been sleeping in a department store, you run away. But sometimes, the candidates, they make it easy for you.

After beating Newt, Mitt Romney had this to say.


MITT ROMNEY, R-PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm in this race because I care about Americans. I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it. I'm not concerned about the very rich. They're doing just fine.

I'm concerned about the very heart of America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN: I think there are lots of very poor Americans who are struggling who would say that sounds odd. Can you explain that?

ROMNEY: Well, you had to finish the sentence. I said I'm not concerned about the very poor that have a safety net, but if has holes in it, I will repair them.

O'BRIEN: Got it.


GUTFELD: Well, in context, I get it. He wants to concentrate on those who pay all the taxes, i.e., those who make the safety net possible.

But when it comes to filling the daily news bucket, context is a pain. Thankfully, stuff like, "I like to fire people" or "I'm not concerned about the very poor" makes bucket filling a breeze.

Here's a tweet from the editor of "The Nation," a lefty paper. "Compassionate conservatives sucked into Romney's gilded sewer. Romney says he is 'not concerned about the very poor.'"

Then there's this from Obama's 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina, "So much for 'we're all in this together.'"

See how easy that was?

So, come on, Mitt, can't you make it harder for them? Look, I don't think Mitt has a bad bone in his body, but his flaws are robotic malfunction that prevents from seeing words beyond their basic utility, like Robbie the robot from "Lost in Space," he sees no emotional import in his phrasing, so even when he's right, he sounds wrong.

I don't mind, I'll take the bloodless charm of Calvin Coolidge over Dr. Phil. But at least make Letterman's writers work for their pay. Or don't do interviews before you've truly woken up.

I blame it all on not being able to have caffeine. Being Mormon -- I could not do anything in the morning!

DANA PERINO, CO-HOST: The point that you last made in not doing TV before you've had a chance to wake up, I also don't understand why they are having the candidates do as much TV as they're doing every single day. If you're in a Republican primary, would you have done that interview? Why? Why is it necessary to be on CNN in the morning?

BOB BECKEL, CO-HOST: Exactly. That's the thing. You got -- you know, there are so many outlets. You got to pick and choose your outlets. Why would a conservative go on MSNBC or CNN?


BECKEL: The other thing about -- you know, there are some words in presidential politics particularly that you just tell your candidate, don't say. Never say I'm not concerned about anything. Those words don't exist.

I'm not concerned. No, no, no. Don't say that.

TANTAROS: Or say about the poor.

BECKEL: About the poor, yes.

TANTAROS: That's where they're going to stop the video in the ad.

BECKEL: Because, you know, here's where he's vulnerable on that, he said the safety net but needs fixing, it does need fixing, number one. But number two, he leaves himself so open on this. You ask yourself, they keep saying Newt puts his foot in his mouth. This is a series now with Romney.

PERINO: This reads a lot worse than it sounds.


PERINO: You could take out that sound bite, like when it was first sent to me, I didn't see it on air because I was wasn't watching that show, obviously. But when I read it, I thought, oh, my God. And then when you hear it, it's like OK. It's not out of context.

And I would think that the Obama administration and campaign should be a little more careful because President Obama has a tendency to say things that can be grossly taken out of context as well.

BECKEL: And so do the conservatives who taken them and say, we're getting a little bit lazy, took him completely out of context.


BOLLING: Like Eric did.

GUTFELD: We're all guilty of this in one way or another.

ERIC BOLLING, CO-HOST: Wait, wait --

TANTAROS: But he makes -- to defend Mitt Romney, OK, so he chose his words poorly, but he's --

BOLLING: What did I take out of context?

BECKEL: When you said the president said Americans are lazy. He was talking about American business overseas.

BOLLING: We've become lazy.

PERINO: Yes, no -- you both have a point.

BECKEL: OK. We both have a point. Thanks.

TANTAROS: But to defend Mitt Romney, did he choose his words poorly. But he does make a point. There are programs in place, tons of them, SCHIP, Medicaid, which Obama expanded, food stamps, section 8 housing, there are counselors. There are so many programs for poor people, for single mothers that are on the books that nobody is threatening -- no one wants to touch them.

PERINO: Then the safety net that actually needs solving is the entitlement programs, which --

TANTAROS: Obama hasn't touched.


BECKEL: You can't touch that without having the Congress vote.


TANTAROS: To reform them though, to keep them there for the poor people.

BECKEL: -- to suggest these programs are so robust programs. Section

8 housing has been done away with.


BECKEL: Yes, section 8 housing has been done with, because of the scandal about selling those things.


BECKEL: Yes, it is.

TANTAROS: No. Bob, come on. There is public housing in place.

BECKEL: OK, if I'm wrong.

TANTAROS: Expansive welfare programs to help poor people. That was Romney's -- that was his point.

BECKEL: I understand, but I'm just saying, I'm just arguing that they are not as strong a safety net as he purports it to be. Although he did say, if it's busted, I'll fix it.

GUTFELD: You know what? I got -- somebody tweeted me earlier saying a safety net should be a trampoline and not a hammock. I thought that was very clever. But I think this is a gaffe only to the media because they're the ones who are obsessed with proof that you care. You care. If you don't care, you're evil.

BOLLING: No, because, Dana, correct me if I am wrong, when he said that, his handlers on the side were like, oh, jeez.

PERINO: They're like oh! Criminy.


BOLLING: Spin control.

GUTFELD: You would say criminy.

PERINO: I would say criminy.

GUTFELD: You would say something else?

PERINO: I might have said something else, too. Actually.

BECKEL: Criminy. What is criminy?

PERINO: Criminy.

BOLLING: Let's call what it was. It was a mistake.

BECKEL: Is that for people who don't swear? Sorry.

BOLLING: He's trying to make a point that he's more concerned about the middle class. He also said I'm not concerned about the very rich.

GUTFELD: Yes, that's true. He said it in the wrong way.

TANTAROS: He needs a bigger message. That's one thing that he does need. This electability argument, I'm inevitable. It's great for a primary, but I don't think it's going to work in the general election. He's got to reach higher.

And last night, he had some great lines from that speech about we're not just replacing a president. We're working on keeping the country.

BECKEL: You get on his economic plan that he outlined. Remember that?

TANTAROS: He's go to boil that down, I agree.

BECKEL: It will only increase the budget deficit more than Obama's does.


BOLLING: Best line of the whole race so far? Mr. Obama, you were elected to lead. You chose to follow. Now get out of the way.

I mean, that really --

BECKEL: Get out of the way with what? Let me come in and do what?

GUTFELD: All right. We've got to move on.

BOLLING: And lead.

GUTFELD: Here's a thought, Soledad O'Brien sounds like a breakfast item. Soledad O'Brien kind of like Eggs Benedict, doesn't it? I'll have the Soledad O'Brien.

BECKEL: Where did that come from?

GUTFELD: I don't know. It makes me hungry when I hear it.


GUTFELD: All right.

TANTAROS: Still don't want to eat them.

BECKEL: You got to get out of here, Greg.

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