‘Not Wealthy,’ Ann Romney’s Gaffe

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.

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Photo by Gage Skidmore


Cindy B.
Cindy B6 years ago

God willin and the creek don't rise, whether or not she considers herself "wealthy" will become very moot in November.

Barbara Benway
Past Member 6 years ago

Michael, - further down I posted a response to a similar question. This is a woman who is certainly NOT just storing up wealth here on earth. It was really interesting, to me at least, kind of makes me feel like I"m not doing much...sigh.

Gina ~ when I reasearched Mrs. Romney's volunteer activities I think she does have a connection to people. As to having a connection with "most people". Really, who of any of these women has such a connection? They may have childhood backgrounds that are something like ours, the PTA may have been a piece of all their early marriage years. Once they got into politics, were married to a person in an elected office it's all different. Likely, in my opinion, the last First Lady who had a "connection" with the public was Bess Truman. Or, who would you think, Gina?

Michael Anda
Michael Anda6 years ago

Speaking of grasp, what is so hard about the concept of some people finding greater worth in realms other than money?

Matthew 6:19–21 | NAS
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Gina P.
Regina P6 years ago

So much for her grasp on the lives of most people.

Barbara Benway
Past Member 6 years ago

Deborah ~ Here is the tax code on gifts from the IRS web site: What is considered a gift?
Any transfer to an individual, either directly or indirectly, where full consideration (measured in money or money's worth) is not received in return.

What can be excluded from gifts?
The general rule is that any gift is a taxable gift. However, there are many exceptions to this rule. Generally, the following gifts are not taxable gifts.

Gifts that are not more than the annual exclusion for the calendar year.
Tuition or medical expenses you pay for someone (the educational and medical exclusions).
Gifts to your spouse.
Gifts to a political organization for its use.
In addition to this, gifts to qualifying charities are deductible from the value of the gift(s) made.

If we had it, who among us wouldn't give to our children?

Deborah L.
Deborah L6 years ago

Frances: I heard about the amount that Mitt gave his kids tax free for the year, but if any of us regular people give our kids over $10,000 a year, we are penalized and have to pay taxes on it and report it.

Friends don't let friends vote republican !

Barbara Benway
Past Member 6 years ago

Peggy ~
I am so glad to see you back! In fact, I tried to send you a message to say so but I it won't go. User error is involved no doubt. If you have a minute would you send me a message, please. I would love to talk to you about you passion for grandparents raising grandchildren.

I don't know if you have been reading along lately, Peggy. Patrick W. says he thinks I am you AND Diane O. Frances may have bought on although they must be joking. Why on earth would anyone do tha? I must say, however, if I were to assume an alternate persona you would be my first choice. Sadly, I don't know Diane O., she hasn't posted since I've joined. Maybe we could scout her up and convince her to come back! ;-)

Peggy Oconnor
Peggy Oconnor6 years ago

Since tearing Anne Romney apart seems to be the task here, let's look at some former first ladies, like Hilary Clinton, who did nothing as a first lady but make a poor attempt at changing healthcare, which was not the job of the firs lady! When that didn't work, she wrote a book about family and parenting and the cookies she bakes for her daughter. Well, there are no reports in history that Hilary was Mrs. Domestic. Of course she did have to spend time fighting off the lawsuits from her previous life. Now we have Michelle Obama. She openly stated she "hated" the White House when they moved in. So she hired a staff of 26 to help her, the largest staff in history for a first lady. Then, to help with her boredom, she decided to travel to foreign countries to vacation and buy designer clothes and take a planeload of family and friends with her. Isn't it nice she planted a garden for the White House? I highly doubt she got her finger nails dirty. As for their husbands, Bill and Hilary came to the White House as "Middle" class. By the time they left, (taking the White House Silver) they both had million dollar book deals and high fees for speaking engagements, as the Obama's will when they leave. So when Anne Romney states her "wealth" is in the people in her life rather than the money, please read the ENTIRE piece. Don't be critical because her cause was not one of your friends. You really have to be crawling around to read into her remarks what most of you have. T

Michael Anda
Michael Anda6 years ago

Need butterfly credits.

Barbara Benway
Past Member 6 years ago

Ann Romney also participates in horse therapy programs. She organized the following programs: literacy programs for children including the annual Scholastic Reading event, as well as organizations such as Partners for Youth with Disabilities, the American Red Cross, the Boston Ten Point Coalition, and the Perkins School for the Blind. As First Lady, she also served as a board member of the MA Children's Trust Fund. In recognition for her efforts, Mrs. Romney was the recipient of the 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award from Operation Kids.

Mrs Romney has also been the director of Best Friends, providing educational and social opportunities for inner city girls. She was a volunteer instructor at a multi-cultural organizationthat serves children in inner city schools.

No surprise, she has been on the Women's Cancer Advisory Board.