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Thune: Romney Not Part of the One Percent?

Senator Thune, I don't mind that you're out stumping for Mitt Romney. Participating in the process is great, especially when you're not doing it just to get a vice-presidential nomination.

You can endorse Romney, you can stump for Romney... but can you at least be honest about Romney? When Scott Keyes of Think Progress asked you Tuesday night if you think multi-millionaire investment banker Romney is a member of the "one percent," you said no:

KEYES: Do you think there is any merit, they're charging that he's of the corporate 1 percent?

THUNE: No. I think that this is somebody, if I'm somebody in this country who is worried about my job or is looking for a job, I want somebody out there who knows how to create jobs. [...] Obviously tonight these are people who are going to protest, that's fine. That's a democracy, we welcome that. I thought he handled it well.

KEYES: The charges are off-base though?

THUNE: They are. I think it's all what you'd expect from a campaign like this. The other side's got their people out there. I'm very happy with where his campaign is, with how he's addressing the issues, and what I think he can do to get people back to work [Scott Keyes, "Sen. Thune Says There Is "˜No' Merit To Idea That Multimillionaire Romney Is Of The 1 Percent," Think Progress, 2012.01.03].

Come on, John. There is at least literal merit to the statement, "Mitt Romney is a member of the richest one percent of Americans." The 99th percentile for annual household income is $506,533. Romney makes millions each year on his retirement package from Bain Capital.

Maybe Senator Thune meant that Romney isn't a member of the one percent; he's a member of the zero-point-one percent.

We can debate about whether being a member of the corporate one percent is good or bad, but we cannot deny that Mitt Romney is a member of that one percent.

Audio from Keyes-Thune interview:


  1. troy jones 2012.01.06


    There are two definitions of the 1%.

    1) The objective measure of one's annual income.
    2) The political measure/group OWS has demonized as causing the financial debacle and hindering its correction.

    Mitt Romney might be and probably is in #1. But Thune's rejection he had a role in the financial debacle and hindering its correction is wholly accurate. The question was asked in the political context and not in the objective context. Thune answered it wholly accurately.

  2. Roger Elgersma 2012.01.06

    Romney should replace the jobs he sent to China before he tells us he can create jobs or run for president. He is the bad part of the one percent since he destroys jobs for his own profit. He also got a bailout from the government in the early ninties on his way to getting rich. He could wreck this economy without even knowing it.

  3. Donald Pay 2012.01.06

    I look at this differently. The problem is not with the 1 percent. It's with the 99 percent.

    Many of the 1 percent do understand that the economic policies of this country have favored them, and that after 30 years of such policies the middle class has been hollowed out. Many understand that such policies are crippling the country, are unfair and have to change in order to provide greater wealth to the middle class so that the great American Dream can continue.

    This is still a democratic republic, even with Citizens United providing more tools to some of the corporate elite. Anytime the 99 percent want to make a change, all it takes is for us to vote out the people who support the economic policies (tax cuts and loopholes for the wealthy, trade deals, lack of regulation) that have tanked the economy and led to a dying middle class and a financial autocracy. Leaders like Thune and Romney support such policies. Vote for the other guys. If you don't, you have only yourself to blame.

  4. Steve Sibson 2012.01.06

    Cory, number one, Big Government only help guys like Romney. And two, I believe the solution is to reduce the size and scope of government, instead of promoting the sin of coveting.

  5. larry kurtz 2012.01.06

    Steve, again: free market=coveting.

    Two stories caught my eye yesterday:

    “On Romney, a Washington tax expert took a stab at it, “If I had to guess, you would find a very large charitable contribution deduction [based on Romney’s affiliation with the Mormon church] and then I’d think you’d see a lot of capital gains…. It’s likely to show a pretty low effective rate — but the same thing would happen if you saw Warren Buffett’s tax return.””


    “It’s like a bad joke. Why did the Greek government borrow so much money? Because it couldn’t get its own citizens to pay taxes."

    That is one more definition of the 1%, Mr. Jones; entitlement based on crony capitalism.

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.06

    Come on, Troy: Romney clearly belongs to the corporate 1%. Whether that 1% is evil or not is open for debate, but he is a member of it.

    Donald, I do agree that the 99% need to get their poop in a group and vote for their interests. We are always one election away from smashing corporate power... but we need good people to run and more good people to listen and believe their votes matter.

  7. Douglas Wiken 2012.01.06

    An economist (can't remember name or even where I saw him..probably Charlie Rose) said that OWS had it wrong. The GOP is actually trying to protect 1/2 of the upper one percent. He said we should be talking about protecting the 99.5% of us.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.06

    Robert Reich agrees with me:

    "More than anyone else running for president, Mitt Romney personifies the top 1 percent in America — actually, the top one-tenth of one percent. It’s not just his four homes and estimated $200 million fortune, not just his wheeling and dealing in leveraged-buyouts and private equity, not even the jobless refugees of his financial maneuvers that makes him the Gordon Gekko of presidential aspirants" [Robert Reich, "Mitt, Son of 'Citizens United'," blog, 2012.01.05].

  9. Roger Elgersma 2012.01.07

    Donald, blaming the 99% is pure arrogance. The attitude that all the little peons(the masses) do not have a brain larger than a pea, so we smart ones need to make all the rules and therefore deserve all the pay is just selfish. The last twenty years we have a corporate mentality that if an executive gets fired they get a payout(golden parachute). The six top execs in the Sioux Falls utility that gave themselves each one to two hundred thousand each so they could "feel good about themselves" after they declared bankruptcy is just ludicrous. The Iowa college president who got paid $400,000 to leave after being caught on camera pouring beer down the throat of a female college student, rather than getting fired is ridiculous. The arrogance that the people at the top are to good to be wrong is why they get even more greedy. This 'I am to good to be wrong' attitude just has to go. Now the unions have no power and the little guy fears for his job so the one percent just keep on rolling. The banks scared Bush into giving them a huge bailout and now they are making a lot of money even though the economy is not doing that great yet. Production should lead in profitability and the banks should make money off of that situation because we are not going to become prosperous just because the bank charged enough fees to make a lot of money of off us.

  10. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.07

    I don't hear arrogance in Donald's suggestion, Roger. He makes the point that regular folks still have the tools of democracy at their disposal. We face an uphill battle to elect someone who will do our bidding rather than the bidding of the wealthy, but it's not impossible. We need to get together with those one-percenters who realize the system is impoverishing almost everyone and make some changes.

  11. Douglas Wiken 2012.01.07

    The last ATLANTIC MONTHLY has an article on the continued inquisition. The whole article should make your blood boil, but one of the more interesting and scarier ideas in it is that those in power can invent moral justifications for the most evil, contradictory and destructive actions.

  12. Bruce Whalen 2012.01.07

    What a stupid topic!

    And, If you can't vote for Romney because he has a label indicating financial worth then you can't vote for Obama because he has that same label. Except for I doubt Obama earned much of his.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.07

    Bruce, Bruce, Bruce: I didn't say I couldn't vote for Romney because of a label. I said John Thune's rejection of this label for Romney is counterfactual.

    But since you mentioned it, I will say I can't vote for Romney because he seems to speak out of all sides of his mouth. I listened to much of the New Hampshire debate tonight and heard constant triangulation, obfuscation, and sloganation.

  14. Bruce Whalen 2012.01.07

    Okay, my bad. I just reached the end point of this silliness over percentages.

    Yeah, with Romney we won't get much different from the last three year's of Hope and Change already experienced. But I voted for Palin instead of McCain and in the same way will vote for Thune (or other veep pick). And I will vote while overlooking that Thune endorsed two moderate/liberal candidates for president that I prefer not to vote for.

  15. caheidelberger Post author | 2012.01.08

    Boy, that's a thin justification for voting. Maybe you better fight for someone a little better at Americans Elect. Can you find a good 99-percenter?

  16. Bruce Whalen 2012.01.08

    Yeah your right about thin. But what do we have as an alternative?

    Just to keep it real and to both admit voting thin is an inconvenient truth and since Obama is a so-called one-percenter, who else will you vote for?

  17. larry kurtz 2012.01.13

    Conventional wisdom pushing Thune to front of veep line in an effort to sway god and guns wing.

  18. larry kurtz 2012.01.13

    Who would DD appoint in the unlikely event that JT will become veep (goddess forbid)?

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