RENO, Nev. – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich blasted his opponent, Mitt Romney, after Romney said earlier Wednesday that he was “not concerned about the very poor.”
Gingrich, at an event in Nevada, said Romney’s comments displayed a “perfect distinction” between the two candidates’ approaches.
“I am fed up with politicians in either party dividing Americans against each other,” Gingrich said. “I am running to be the president of all the American people and I am concerned about all the American people.”
Romney earlier told CNN’s Soledad O’Brien,” “I’m in this race, because I care about Americans, 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,” Romney added. “They’re doing just fine. I’m concerned about the very heart of the America, the 90, 95 percent of Americans who right now are struggling, and I’ll continue to take that message across the nation.”
Gingrich said that the founding fathers intended to create opportunities for the poorest in the country.
“Let me shock Gov. Romney,” Gingrich said. “The founding fathers meant the very poor, who they called, ‘Americans.’”
Romney later told reporters that his comments were taken out of context.
“We have a number of ways of helping the poor,” Romney said. “And yet my focus, and the area that I think is the greatest challenge that the country faces right now, is not to focus our effort on how we help the poor as much as to focus our effort on how to help the middle class in America, and get more people in the middle class, and get people out of being poor and becoming middle income.”
Gingrich said he intends to reach out to all people.
ABC News’ Emily Friedman contributed to this report.