Romney Points Finger at Single Moms on Gun Violence

Babies out of wedlock, AK-47s in the streetsWang Lei/Xinhua/ZUMA

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.

The issue of gun violence, long stuck in an unvirtuous cycle of hardened rhetoric, tends to get ignored in national politics. But 2012 has been terrible with mass shootings, and an audience member raised the issue in Tuesday’s town hall presidential debate, asking what will be done to limit the availability of assault weapons and keep them from criminals. President Obama, directly acknowledging the recent slaughter at a Colorado movie theater, called for a “comprehensive strategy” to deal with the problem.

Mitt Romney took a different approach, demonstrating that no issue is too peripheral for him to make false claims, dissemble, and utter comments likely to piss off women. (See also from Tuesday night: binders.) In less than three minutes, Romney bungled the facts on assault weapons, cited Fast and Furious as the nation’s “greatest failure” on gun violence, and, more broadly, pointed the finger at single moms:

But let me mention another thing, and that is parents. We need moms and dads helping raise kids. Wherever possible, the—the benefit of having two parents in the home—and that’s not always possible. A lot of great single moms, single dads. But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone—that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically.

That set up Romney’s assertion that “we can make changes in the way our culture works to help bring people away from violence.” (Watch his full remarks below.)

If it seems a little nutty to suggest that fewer unwed mothers is key to reducing carnage from AK-47s, consider that Romney also recently embraced a debunked conspiracy theory involving a United Nations plot to seize Americans’ firearms. Moreover, Romney got his facts wrong Tuesday night, claiming in his initial response that it’s “already illegal in this country to have automatic weapons.” As the LA Times and other news outlets have since explained, automatic weapons can be possessed legally in the United States.

As for his declaring that the alleged Fast and Furious conspiracy is our nation’s “greatest failure” on gun violence, Romney might want to speak with survivors of the mass shootings in Aurora and Tucson, as Obama has. After Romney made time in September for a long chat with the National Rifle Association’s chief lobbyist, some of those survivors reached out to the GOP presidential candidate and asked for equal time. But as I reported recently, he has ignored them.

Not surprisingly, Romney wasn’t always such a hard-liner on guns. As Obama himself pointed out Tuesday night, the former Massachussetts governor once signed a ban on assault weapons similar to the federal legislation that expired in 2004. Watch Obama call him on it:

And here are Romney’s remarks in response to the town hall attendee’s question about assault weapons:

Footage via the New York Times, where you can see the full video and transcript.

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

TIME IS RUNNING OUT!

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and it's truly crunch time: About 15 percent of our yearly online giving usually comes in during the final week of the year, and in "No Cute Headlines or Manipulative BS," we explain why we simply can't afford to come up short right now.

The bottom line: Corporations and powerful people with deep pockets will never sustain the type of journalism Mother Jones exists to do. And advertising or profit-driven ownership groups will never make time-intensive, in-depth reporting viable.

That's why donations big and small make up 74 percent of our budget this year. There is no backup to keep us going, no alternate revenue source, no secret benefactor. If readers don’t donate, we won’t be here. It's that simple.

And if you can help us out with a donation right now, all online gifts will be matched thanks to an incredibly generous matching gift pledge.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate