WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney on Friday inserted himself back into a vigorous debate over the direction of the party he led in 2012, urging Republicans to drop their opposition to raising the minimum wage, a topic expected to be a major focus of this November’s midterm elections.
While Romney may not have immediately changed minds within his party, his remarks quickly went viral among Democrats and Republicans, indicating they could help ignite a discussion within the GOP about how far Republicans need to go to win over working-class voters.
“I part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it,” Romney said Friday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “Because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay. And I think communicating that is important to us.”
Last week, only one Republican in the Senate — Bob Corker of Tennessee — voted to advance a bill that would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10. The bill failed to cross the 60-vote threshold needed to avoid a filibuster.
Public opinion polls show that a minimum wage hike has broad support. Two-thirds of Americans support raising the minimum wage to $10.10, according to a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted in February. The poll found that 62 percent of independents and 86 percent of Democrats supported such an increase, while 54 percent of Republicans surveyed said they opposed it.
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