"It was a misstatement. I misspoke," said Romney, who after winning the Florida primary early this week is considered to have inched closer than his other three rivals to bag Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Barack Obama in the November presidential elections.
"I've said something that is similar to that but quite acceptable for a long time. And you know when you do I don't know how many thousands of interviews now and then you may get it wrong. And I misspoke. Plain and simple," Romney said.
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Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, received widespread condemnation after he said in an interview that he does not care for the very poor. "I'm not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there. If it needs repair, I'll fix it," Romney said.
Meanwhile, according to news reports, Congressional Republicans are worried that such verbal gaffes by Romney might hurt him in the months before the November elections.
"Republicans say the normally disciplined Romney needs to get back on message, and avoid handing Democrats sound bites that can be used in attack ads in the general election," The Hill reported.
"When you know that the media is against you to start with, which is the case with Romney and [Newt] Gingrich, you have to be extremely careful that you don't give them a phrase that can go on a bumper sticker," one Republican congressman was quoted as saying on condition of anonymity.
"Romney, unfortunately and through no fault of his own whatsoever, is almost the ideal caricature for the 'divide America' strategy of Barack Obama. It's going to be important for him to be aware of that," said Congressman Trent Franks.
According to latest Gallup polls, Romney leads the national polls by a margin of six points. Romney has so far won primaries in two States -- New Hampshire and Florida; while Newt Gingrich has won South Florida.
The former Pennsylvania Governor, Rick Santorum, narrowly won the Iowa Caucus.