Mitt Romney's 'open mic' moment troubling for minorities

OPINION - Romney is rarely consistent, but when it comes to policies that will assist those in need, he is consistently opposed to any real safety net...

Mitt Romney is a man of mystery. He has remained vague on policy details and chooses instead to double down on the Obama attacks. The attacks are both repetitive and rote; a broken record playing the same message about President Obama’s supposed failures on everything from the economy to foreign policy.

Even during the heart of the Republican primary, when GOP candidates generally try to distinguish themselves with specifics, Romney never bothered, instead relying on the ever ready pivot back to “Obama has failed” plus fill in the blank. Romney’s campaign has been unclear about his positions on everything from equal pay and Lily Ledbetter to whether a Romney administration would end the war in Afghanistan.

That is, until this weekend, when Romney remarks at a private fundraiser with wealthy donors in Florida were overheard accidentally by two reporters on the street near the event.

In the “quiet room” candidate Romney let loose sharing much more information about how a President Romney might govern if elected in the fall. The answer might be surprising. Reporters on the street overheard Romney in the rare moment of talking specifics with the presumptive GOP nominee for president saying, “I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go…Things like Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which my dad was head of, that might not be around later.”

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It is no small thing to propose getting rid of HUD. The “Great Society” agency is essential to people of color and the middle class who rely on HUD’s assistance in cases of housing discrimination, predatory lending, and foreclosures. Anyone who has been paying attention during the past decade knows that all three are of vital importance to communities of color.

HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal opportunity is responsible for enforcement of all discrimination cases based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status. HUD also serves as a regulator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac primarily setting housing goals for these two entities focused on housing for people of color and middle and low income families.

But that apparently doesn’t mean anything to Mitt Romney, who has said openly that he is not very concerned about the “very poor.” Romney has also made the point that poor women receiving government benefits should not be “stay at home” moms like his wife Ann Romney, but instead should be forced to go out and get jobs so they could understand the “dignity of work” in order to receive benefits to support their families.

He has also said he thinks the foreclosure process should run its course offering no support for homeowners under water with their mortgages during a down economy.

Romney is rarely consistent, but when it comes to policies that will assist those in need, he is consistently opposed to any real safety net. Couple this with his mind-boggling tax plan that doesn’t make mathematical sense and Romney has given hints about just who is on his radar of concern.

At times it’s difficult to put together the pieces to understand what Mitt Romney is all about, but over the past few weeks it has become much clearer. When it comes to communities of color, middle and low income families, and anyone who isn’t lucky enough to be born rich, Mitt Romney is not only lacking concern for these citizens, he is openly hostile to their concerns.

Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter at @zerlinamaxwell