In April, Senate Republicans blocked a bill that would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10. But in a wide-ranging interview on MSNBC's Morning Joe on Thursday, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said, "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, who got caught deriding the "47 percent" of Americans who don't pay income tax during the 2012 campaign, continued, "Frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay." Most Republicans would agree with him there, but the party is still firmly on the side of not raising the minimum wage. Democrats have been campaigning on the issue all year — President Obama declared it one of his top priorities during the State of the Union. Republicans have criticized Dems for being unwilling to compromise and unserious in their efforts.
As Jonathan Topaz at Politico points out, other Republican candidates from 2012 have come out and said they support raising the wage: former Sen. Rick Santorum and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty both said recently that they'd support a hike. Romney is the highest-profile Republican yet to break with the party on the issue, however, like the others, Romney did not say he stands by the $10.10 figure nor did he offer a concrete number where the wage should be set.
Romney assured the Morning Joe hosts that he's not making this statement to prepare for any kind of campaign. When asked about 2016, he joked, "I think our best prospects of getting back the White House are with someone who has not run twice before as I have."