Spotlight Exclusives

Poverty a Complicated Conversation in the Presidential Race

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This past summer, the Circle of Protection, a group of Christian leaders working to advocate on behalf of programs that protect poor and low-income people, invited the presidential candidates to provide video statements on how they would help low-income people and those suffering from hunger both here and abroad. By last week, both campaigns had replied, and you can find their responses here.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />


OOTS joins many in recognizing the importance of getting candidates to speak on the record about the most vulnerable citizens. Yet it is clear that poverty has been a complicated topic for both candidates and a thorny debate on the campaign traila debate not ended by the video statements.


Only a few days after the Circle of Protection released the video statements to the public, a tape of Governor Mitt Romney۪s remarks at a fundraiser became front page news. In particular, Romney said that “Well, there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that 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.”


President Obama has also received coverage regarding the extent to which he has or hasn۪t discussed poverty on the campaign trail. A September 16 POLITICO article entitled “Obama leaves out most mentions of poverty” notes that the president is “running for re-election without almost ever even using the word poor۪,” continuing, “[W]hen he does, it۪s not to describe the problem or his administration۪s efforts to combat it only an aspirational message of trying to get more impoverished people into the middle class.” (As an aside, OOTS would like to point out this article also mentions Spotlight۪s own original polling on whether it۪s important to voters that a presidential candidate discuss povertysee here for more).


As the controversy continues, there۪s little question we۪ll continue to hear more about poverty and campaign 2012; our hope, however, is that we۪ll learn more about each candidate۪s specific plans to reduce poverty and increase opportunity beginning in 2013.

Posted by Mike

Here at Out of the Spotlight, we offer a behind-the-scenes look at the latest news and information essential to anyone working to fight poverty. From key political appointees to clashes over policy, we cover the news that doesn’t always make the evening news. Check out Out of the Spotlight for our take on the twists and turns of the latest political developments and their impact on poverty reduction. Topics and ideas are welcome! Just contact or

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