Romney’s odd definition of ‘middle class’

I have a hunch as the campaign progresses, we’ll be hearing this quote again.

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For those who can’t watch clips online, Mitt Romney was on MSNBC this morning, and fielded a question from Tom Brokaw about whether Romney expects to deal with rising poverty if he’s elected president. The Republican replied:

“Well, I want to make sure we have a safety net to care for those that are poor, but I want to get those who are poor into the middle class.

“My ambition is to make sure that we start creating jobs again in this country and that we have rising median incomes, as opposed to the 10% decline we’ve seen in the last four years.

“To get people back into work, get higher incomes, and let people have a middle-income life standard they had in the past. That’s the whole effort that I’m involved in.

“Somebody who’s fallen from the middle class to poverty, in my opinion is still middle class.”

Putting aside the fact that it’s fundamentally dishonest to blame President Obama for falling median wages during the Bush era, I’m just not sure what Romney means when he defines “middle class.” As he sees it, even if someone falls into poverty, he or she is still middle class? In what universe does that make sense?

No wonder Romney thinks he, despite having a quarter-billion in the bank, is part of the middle class — this guy is so far out of touch, he no longer even understands what middle class even means.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.