Campaigns/Elections

Romney: "Corporations Are People"

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Today, while standing on a bunch of hay bales (Why, Iowa? Why?) Mitt Romney slapped on a smile and went to town on some hecklers. 

not a listening tour

(Click on the image for the non-embeddable video, and skip to the 4:00 mark)

This exchange resulted:

ROMNEY: We have to make sure that the promises we make—and Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare—are promises we can keep. And there are various ways of doing that. One is, we could raise taxes on people.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Corporations!

ROMNEY: Corporations are people, my friend. We can raise taxes on—

AUDIENCE MEMBER: No, they're not!

ROMNEY: Of course they are. Everything corporations earn also goes to people.

AUDIENCE: [LAUGHTER]

ROMNEY: Where do you think it goes?

AUDIENCE MEMBER: It goes into their pockets!

ROMNEY: Whose pockets? Whose pockets? People's pockets! Human beings, my friend. So number one, you can raise taxes. That's not the approach that I would take.

Romney doesn't mean that corporations are entitled to some of the legal rights of people in the Citizens United sense. He means it in the sense that the money made by corporations flows in and out of human hands—or pockets, in the language of the heckler who hoisted himself on his own metaphorical petard.

People are already mocking Romney for this supposed gaffe, but even TNR's Jonathan Chait grants that Romney is right on this point—although Chait is careful to point out that corporations are made of people who are richer than average. 

Another bonus moment from the same event that almost tempted me to like Romney a little: 

AUDIENCE MEMBER: You came here to listen to the people!

ROMNEY: Nope, I came here to speak.