Republicans have had little but contempt for the ongoing protests on Wall Street and around the nation. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) called the protesters a “mob,” Herman Cain said they’re “un-American,” and Rep. Spencer “serve the banks” Bachus (R-AL) believes that the protests are “misdirected” and instead should be aimed at “job-killing regulations.” The conservative media have also done their part to dismiss the protesters as “freaks” who are “aligned with Lenin.”
However, some Republicans are a tad more wishy-washy. 2012 presidential hopeful Rick Santorum called the protesters a “fringe group” when he appeared on CNBC, but later said, “I understand the motivation behind the protests.” GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney, meanwhile, at first said that the protests are “dangerous.” But during a town hall in New Hampshire yesterday, he seized upon the protesters call for an economy that works for everybody, saying, “I worry about the 99 percent,” and added, “I understand how those people feel”:
I don’t worry about the top one percent. I don’t stay up nights worrying about ‘gee we need to help them.’ I don’t worry about that. They’re doing just fine by themselves. I worry about the 99 percent in America. I want America, once again, to be the best place in the world to be middle-class. I want to have a strong and vibrant and prosperous middle-class. And so I look at what’s happening on Wall Street and my own view is, boy I understand how those people feel…The people in this country are upset.
Earlier that very day, Romney criticized the protesters, saying, “all the streets are connected — Wall Street’s connected to Main Street — and so finding a scapegoat, finding someone to blame, in my opinion, isn’t the right way to go.” Romney didn’t explain how the protesters went so quickly from a “dangerous” group to such sympathetic figures. He also delivered both sets of remarks while joined by former Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH), who is now working as an adviser for mega-bank Goldman Sachs.