Ann Romney joined her husband in making a verbal mistake regarding their wealth Monday on Fox News.
We can be poor in spirit, and I donít even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing, it can be here today and gone tomorrow.
The couple is worth at least $250 million and made $20.9 million last year alone. That comes out to more than $57,000 per day and more than the median household income for an entire year. Yet she does not consider herself wealthy.
Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post believes Ann’s quote should be looked at in a larger context. Looking at the full quote reveals she was talking about her struggle with multiple sclerosis and cancer.
ď[O]ne thing this disease has been for me has been a wonderful teacher. And with that comes an ability for compassion for others that are suffering. And for me, I want to make my family bigger. Those that are suffering from M.S. or cancer or any disease I feel like I want to throw my arms open and say, welcome to my family and welcome to the place where Iíve been and, so, you know, we can be poor in spirit and I donít look ó I donít even consider myself wealthy which is an interesting thing. It can be here today and gone tomorrow, and how I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones I have and the people I care about in my life and that is where my values are and those are my riches so for me having done through a difficult period in my life both with M.S. and with breast cancer it has done something to my heart and itís softened my heart and made me realize there are many people suffering in this country and they are suffering from things that arenít financial ó and some people are suffering from things that are financial, as well ó but those that are suffering, for me, I just have a larger capacity for love, and for understanding.Ē
If one takes the entire quote as though she is talking about spiritual wealth then she is talking about communal relationships and her faith. For many people of faith, spiritual wealth comes from a relationship with God and with other believers. Ann believes she is blessed to have riches in the forms of close relationships but was able to battle her illnesses because of her means.
Ms. Romney has credited horse riding with helping her to deal with multiple sclerosis, a pastime that most sufferers of the disease do not have access to.
As The New York Times noted in 2007, dressage horses can run in the seven figures and the saddles can cost thousands of dollars.
She won’t even tell Mitt how many horses they own. Her husband’s campaign must consistently beat back his own gaffes about wealth and this one is actually on par with his past mistakes. Cillizza misses the actual context by ignoring the question posed to Ann by Fox News’ Neil Cavuto.
Even in the face of attacks on your husband, or the famous Cadillac comment, that he [owns] two Cadillacs, or he says things that strike some as being out of touch, you defend him, but you donít dwell on it, you shake your head as does he, but does it pound again and again, especially in light of Newt Gingrich now piling on, saying that your husband, maybe you by extension, the Romney family in general, is oblivious given your wealth, to the everyday concerns of average folks, like gasoline prices, like all this stuff? What do you say to that?
He clearly asks her about Mitt’s gaffes, Gingrich’s populist attacks, and their utter aloofness to the realities of everyday American families. That’s the real context of her statement.
Photo by Gage Skidmore