The Best Lines of the 2012 Election

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"Corporations are people, my friend"

Mitt Romney at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 11, 2011

In the early days of the Republican nomination process, Mitt Romney faced a group of angry hecklers at the Iowa State Fair and, in a heated exchange over entitlement programs, made this memorable statement. The Obama campaign later needled   Romney over the line, and Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren invoked it in her speech at the Democratic National Convention.

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Governor Romney: Your turn has been heard, you got your chance to speak. I've got my chance to speak now. I'm going to take one more question.

Daniel Simmons: Governor Romney, I've been asking --

Romney: What's your name?

Simmons: My name is Daniel Simmons, I'm 23 years old.

Romney: And where are you from, who sent you? Who are you working with? You've got a little video camera here.

Simmons: Myself! Social Security cannot, legally, add a single dime to the deficit. Do you agree -- I'm also a teacher -- do you agree that Social Security should take no part in deficit reduction negotiations?

Romney: Do I believe that Social Security should take no part in deficit reduction negotiations? Is that the question? And the answer is this: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid account for about half of federal spending.

Heckler: That's a LIE!

Simmons: Not the deficit --

Romney: Just hold on --

Heckler: That's a LIE!

Crowd: Let him talk!

Romney: -- about half of federal spending. And if we are ultimately, not just this year, but over the coming decades, going to be able to balance our budget and not spend more than we take in, we have to make sure that the promises we make in Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare are promises we can keep. And there are various ways of doing that. One is we could raise taxes on people --

Simmons: CORPORATIONS!

Romney: Corporations are people, my friend. . . . We can raise taxes on --

Simmons: No!

Romney: Of course they are! Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people.

Crowd: [laughter, jeers]

Romney: Where do you think it goes?

Crowd: In their pockets!

Romney: Whose pockets? People's pockets! Human beings, my friend.

(The exchange begins around 0:45 of this video.)


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