Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's wife, Ann, is being skewered by the mainstream media for telling Fox News during an interview Monday, "I don't even consider myself wealthy" — an apparent verbal misstep given the Romneys' massive financial resources that are often estimated as exceeding $200 million.
But in reality, that quotation is taken out of context and unrepresentative of the substance of Ann Romney's broad reflections about how surviving both multiple sclerosis and breast cancer has altered the way she sees the world. In essence, she was conveying the fact that surviving two debilitating diseases has taught her that true wealth is measured in terms of relationships — not money.
The Romney campaign posted a 52-second YouTube clip and full transcript of Ann's entire comment.
"That is so interesting because the one thing this disease has been for me has been a wonderful teacher. And with that comes an ability for compassion for others that are suffering. And for me, I just want to make my family bigger. Those that are suffering from MS or from cancer or from any disease, I feel like I just want to throw my arms open and just say: welcome to my family and welcome to the place where I've been. And, so, you know, we can be poor in spirit and I don't. … Look, I don't even consider myself wealthy, which is an interesting thing, it can be here today and gone tomorrow. And how I measure riches is by the friends I have and the loved ones that I have and the people that I care about in my life. And that is where my values are and those are my riches."
Washington Post blogger Chris Cillizza offered a fair analysis of what he ultimately concluded is "much ado about not all that much."
"(If) you are unfavorably inclined to the Romney family and/or agitated by Mitt Romney's genuine gaffes about his wealth — hello $10,000 bet! — then you will hear the Ann Romney comments as the latest in a series of examples about how out of touch they are. But, viewed in the full context of her longer remarks, it seems that most reasonable minded people could agree that Ann Romney's comments don't amount to a real gaffe."