7 Gaffes That Might Haunt Mitt Romney in 2016

2016 could bring back the "47 percent" and "binders full of women" re-runs.

ByABC News
January 15, 2015, 10:11 AM
Mitt Romney is pictured in Cleveland, Ohio on Nov. 4, 2012.
Mitt Romney is pictured in Cleveland, Ohio on Nov. 4, 2012.
Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

— -- Mitt’s back! The two-time presidential candidate is making calls and meeting with advisors to form a rationale for a third bid.

But if he does hit the road to the White House again in 2016, which he says will be different, will Mitt Romney be haunted by ghosts of campaigns past?

Here’s a look at some of the former Republican presidential nominee's most cringe-worthy moments:

1. ‘47 PERCENT’

Less than two months before the November 2012 election, Romney committed a gaffe that he even admitted “did real damage” to his campaign. The left-leaning magazine, Mother Jones released secretly-recorded videos of the candidate at a private fundraisers telling donors: “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what…who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. ... These are people who pay no income tax.”


At the second presidential debate between Romney and President Obama at Hofstra University, social media poked fun at Romney’s response to a question about pay equity for women. What Romney was trying to get at was this: While filling cabinet positions as governor of Massachusetts, he was given suggestions by women’s groups for candidates, and they just happened to be in binders.

The comment went viral and led to more than a few Internet memes.


Romney handed the Obama campaign firing power when he said, “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” Romney admitted the comment in January 2012 haunts him.

"I've had a couple of those during the campaign, which have haunted me a little bit, but I'm sure before this is over will haunt me a lot," Romney said.


In a “Good Morning America” interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Romney defined middle class income as $200,000 - $250,000. He previously made a comment at a town hall meeting where he said "the 80 to 90 percent of us" in the middle class had been hurt most by the Obama economy. Median household income for 2013 was about $53,000, according to census data. Romney had $13.7 million in income in 2011.


Romney almost made it out of his Europe and Israel tour without it being a disaster. However, he definitely did not escape the tour unscathed. During his first trip abroad he called preparations for the Olympics "disconcerting" which miffed Prime Minister David Cameron, and then he was criticized for being “racist and out of touch” by Palestinian leaders when he claimed that “Israel was doing better than Palestine economically because of its culture.” While Romney was in Poland, reporters were clamoring for Romney to respond to the criticisms. One reporter shouted out, “What about your gaffes?” which elicited a “kiss my a**” response from a Romney campaign spokesperson.


This is a perennial favorite for Democrats: In 2008 op-ed for the New York Times headlined “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Romney publicly announced that he was against the auto bailout, which hurt him in Ohio, a critical swing state at the time. A managed bankruptcy, according to Romney, would avoid giving the shareholders and bondholders a free pass -- they are the ones who bet on management and they lost.


With yet another memorable one-liner, Romney said, “Corporations are people, my friend” during a question-and-answer session at the Iowa State Fair in 2011. It was an unscripted moment after people urged him to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations to help fund social welfare programs followed by days’ worth of headlines. His controversial response was immediately ambushed by Democrats, who criticized the event as another example of how Romney is nothing more than an out of touch businessman.