By Paul Steinhauser
CNN Political Editor
WASHINGTON (CNN) — In a break with many in the Republican Party, Mitt Romney says he backs a move to raise the minimum wage.
“I, for instance, as you know, part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage,” the 2012 GOP presidential nominee said Friday morning.
“I think we ought to raise it, because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay, and I think communicating that is important to us,” Romney added in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Romney’s comments come just days after a bill pushed by Senate Democrats to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour failed to garner the 60 votes needed to pass. Only one Senate Republican voted for the measure.
In recent days, two opponents of Romney during the last race for the GOP presidential nomination, former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, who’s also considering another White House bid in 2016, both supported some kind of minimum wage increase.
Democrats are using the issue of raising the minimum wage, and the opposition from most Republicans, as part of their income equality push as they campaign in this year’s midterm elections.
Romney was open to a minimum wage hike when he served as Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007 and when he first ran for president, in the 2008 campaign. In 2011 and early 2012, during his second White House run, Romney also supported a wage hike, but he changed his stance a few months later, saying in an interview on CNBC that “there’s probably not a need to raise the minimum wage.”
The most recent polls on the issue indicate a strong majority of Americans supporting raising the minimum wage, with Republicans mostly divided on the issue.
GOP lawmakers point to a recent Congressional Budget Office report that found the wage hike could lift 900,000 people out of poverty but also lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs. A recent poll from Bloomberg indicated that a majority of Americans found that trade-off unacceptable.
Not running again
Romney said once again shot down any suggestions that he has a third run for the White House in the works.
“I’m not running for president in 2016,” he clearly stated, adding with a smile that “I think our best prospects of getting back the White House are with someone who has not run twice before as I have.”
Romney gave a similar answer during a CNN interview in February with the Situation Room’s Wolf Blitzer.