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Romney gaffe might prove costly

world Updated: Jan 11, 2012 00:48 IST

Agencies
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Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney offered his political rivals a gift on Monday when he volunteered that he liked firing people — an unfortunate remark just as his opponents launched millions of dollars in campaign ads labelling him a heartless corporate raider.

Speaking on the eve of Tuesday’s Republican primary in New Hampshire, he said: “I like being able to fire people who provide services to me.” He was referring not to making workers redundant but defending the free market, the ability to swap providers if service is poor. But, given the cynical way ads have been distorted so far in the 2012 campaign, there is a strong chance his remarks will be seized upon for use in attack ads, using just the words “I like being able to fire people”.

It is a potential election bonus not just for the Democratic party but for the remaining Republicans in the race for the party’s nominations. It came as supporters of one of Romney’s fiercest and angriest Republican rivals, former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, released a trailer for an ad which will cost a staggering $3.4m to air.

The ad details the devastation allegedly caused by layoffs in firms taken over by Romney when he was chief executive of the Bain investment company.

New Hampshire goes to the polls on Tuesday in the first of a series of primaries to be held following last week’s Iowa caucuses. The overall winner takes on Barack Obama for the White House in November. gns