Sunday, August 14, 2011

corporations are people, my friend!


Video - Mitt Romney moderate centrist conservative?

NYTimes | Emerging on the campaign trail in Iowa after largely shunning the state, Mitt Romney was confronted on Thursday by hecklers on corporate tax policy and told one of them, “Corporations are people, my friend.”

Mr. Romney was speaking at the Iowa State Fair’s soapbox on Thursday morning, but when it was time for the question-and-answer session, the mood turned heated, with a small group of angry hecklers calling on Mr. Romney to support raising taxes on the wealthy to help finance social entitlement programs.

“We have to make sure that the promises we make in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are promises we can keep, and there are various ways of doing that,” Mr. Romney said. “One is, we can raise taxes on people.”

“Corporations!” the protesters shouted, suggesting that Mr. Romney, as president, should raise taxes on large businesses.

“Corporations are people, my friend,” Mr. Romney responded, as the hecklers shouted back, “No, they’re not!”

“Of course they are,” Mr. Romney said, chuckling slightly. “Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?”

It was a telling, unscripted moment for Mr. Romney likely to be replayed on YouTube. In an instant, he seemed to humanize himself by pointedly squabbling with the group of hecklers, showing flashes of anger and defying his reputation as a sometimes stilted, unfeeling candidate.

But at the same time, he seemed to reinforce another image of himself: as an out-of-touch businessman who sees the world from the executive suite.

Mr. Romney’s remarks drew a quick response from Democratic Party officials. “It is a shocking admission from a candidate — and a party — that shamelessly puts forward policies to help large corporations and the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class, seniors and students,” said Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.

The remarks and the reaction touch a sensitive spot. Mr. Romney’s past as co-founder of Bain Capital, a private equity firm, gives him the business credentials that he says are needed to steer a troubled economy. But Democrats have depicted Bain under his tenure as destroying jobs through corporate takeovers in search of profits.