Yes, Mitt Romney told a woman in New Orleans whose home was entirely submerged by floodwaters that she should “go home and call 2-1-1.” And no, he didn’t explain how she was supposed to use a telephone from a house under water, or offer her the use of a yacht, or even his cellphone.
But he didn’t suggest that she borrow from her parents to buy a new home.
That means something. The man is making progress. He’s not totally uneducable. With persistence, he might learn to perform simple, repetitive tasks.
No, being President isn’t among them. But Romney needn’t be unemployed. Rupert Murdoch runs a sheltered workshop for empathically challenged Red Team veterans, and I’m sure he’d find a job for such a worthy beneficiary somewhere in his operation.
UPDATE The story linked above from the HuffPo is marked “AP/Huffington Post.” This by-lined AP story from the Orange County Register omits the reference to 211 and quotes the flood victim as saying nice things about Romney. On the other hand, this story from the right-wing news aggregator CNS has the same by-line and includes the 211 remark but not the favorable comments from the victim, which the BBC also reports. Bloomberg/Businessweek has the reference to calling 211, but without the “go home and call,” and does include praise for Romney from the flood victim. I hope someone asks Kasie Hunt, the reporter, what actually happened.
FOOTNOTE If this were the Romney campaign, I’d just shrug and say “We’re not going to let our blog be dictated by fact-checkers.” But I’m not prepared to follow Romney’s lead into postmodernism. The story points to what I think is a larger truth about Romney’s lack of empathy; after all, as the AP story points out, disaster relief is one of the targets for budget-cutting under the Ryan plan. But truthiness isn’t truth.
If Romney actually told the woman to “go home and call 211,” that was a remarkably dumb thing to say, and the fact that he came across to her as “caring” is neither here nor there. But if he didn’t say it, he didn’t.