In an interview with Soledad O'Brien, Willard said the following:
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% of Americans right now who are struggling and I'll continue to take that message across the nation. [...]
"You can focus on the rich, that's not my focus. You can focus on the very poor, that's not my focus. My focus is on middle-income Americans."
Now, there are those who believe that this was Willard's attempt at a dogwhistle. That ' the very poor' was code for Black. Might be.
Here's what No More Mister Nice Blog said:
THAT WAS NO GAFFE. THAT WAS A BRAND-NEW TALKING POINT.
(Update: or maybe not so brand-new.)
See? He keeps repeating it. It's a rehearsed line. It's a talking point he wants to take into the campaign. He wants to divide and conquer; he wants middle-class people who've had the rug pulled out from under them in this recession to feel that their interests are in opposition to the interests of "the very poor." He wants them to think that President Obama is excessively concerned with "the very poor" at their expense.
Will this work? I don't know. But it's no slip-up. It's no gaffe.
Wouldn't put anything past him, but here's the thing that reporters should be asking. Bump the dogwhistle, just ask the following:
W-T-F is the' very poor'? What is the demarkation for ' the very poor'? What's the financial status demarkation line for the poor in this country versus the very poor?
Willard's only concerned with the 90-95% of Americans who are struggling?
Another question that needs to be asked of him is WHAT PERCENTAGE OF AMERICANS, based upon those artificially low government baselines, are considered POOR in America?
Here's the answer Willard - IT'S LARGER THAN 5%.
And about that social safety net that Willard claims he wants to protect?
I, and others call bullshyt on that one, considering that all the fiscal policies he says he wants to implement would SHRED THE SOCIAL SAFETY NET in this country.
Of all the segments about this, I enjoyed Tweety's the most, because he came closest to the repulsion that I feel for Willard.
Though Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell both did good segments on it too.
Lawrence enjoying pointing out how no GOPer, even if they felt it, was stupid enough to say what Willard did:
Lawrence's Discussion with Fineman and Howard Dean
Here's the DNC's response to Willard: