Even before Mitt Romney declared on Friday morning that he wouldn't be running for president after all, the former Massachusetts governor had his fair share of skeptics who were suspiciously side eye-ing his legitimacy as a Republican presidential nominee this time around. Although we'll never see another Obama-Romney rivalry at the highest level of American political competition, on Thursday, the country witnessed a bit of déjà vu President Obama mocked Romney for being "suddenly concerned" about poverty, in what could have been #tbt moment straight from the 2012 election.
Romney has, in recent months, attempted to rebrand himself as an Anti-Poverty Warrior of sorts, expressing desire to address poverty and economic inequality, which, naturally, led to many responses of disbelief and ridicule. But Obama's derision has perhaps been the most apt, considering their former rivalry. At a House Democrats' retreat in Philadelphia on Thursday night, the President said:
We've got a former presidential candidate on the other side who suddenly is just deeply concerned about poverty. That's great! Let's go! Come on, let's do something about it. I am glad that their rhetoric at least has shifted, but let's make sure that the policies match up to the rhetoric.
Obama named no names, but it was clear who he was talking about. Set aside his tendency to flip-flop — always a dangerous character flaw for politicians — Romney's run in 2012 highlighted, if anything, the economic disparity between himself, an out-of-touch, corporate yes-man, and the average American. The discrepancy was, and still is, reflective of a significant nationwide problem — an increasing wealth gap and accumulation of money at the top of the economic food chain (e.g. the one percent, Romney, etc.)
Of course, the "corporations are people, too" lawmaker wasn't going to take a swipe from his former foe, the current President of the United States, lying down. Romney took to Twitter to respond with the insinuation that Obama was to blame for the poverty levels.
At the Philadephia retreat, Obama also called on his party members to rally in defense of their values and in celebration of their accomplishments, telling the caucus that Democrats can't win,
[W]hen we're shy about what we care about, when we're defensive about what we've accomplished, when we don't stand up straight and proud... Stand up and go on offense and not be defensive about what we believe in. That's why we're Democrats!
The President also called out the Republican party for their platform, as they aim to court more minorities, women and younger voters, as well as the middle class. He said:
Even though their policies haven’t quite caught up, their rhetoric is starting to sound pretty Democratic. I consider imitation the highest form of flattery.
What we know is that middle-class economics works. That’s pretty rare where you have two visions, a vigorous debate, and then you test who’s right. And the record shows that we were right.
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