Romney Reacts to 47 Percent Video, Stands By Remarks
On Monday, my colleague David Corn published exclusive video of remarks Mitt Romney made at a closed-door fundraiser for big-money donors, in which the GOP presidential nominee declared that 47 percent of Americans—that is, those who support President Obama—are "dependent upon government" and "believe that they are victims." (And, according to Romney, Obama backers don't pay income taxes either.) Now, the Obama campaign is looking to turn those statements into a major campaign issue. Here's the statement from campaign manager Jim Messina that was emailed to reporters on Monday afternoon:
"It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as 'victims,' entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take 'personal responsibility' for their lives. It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."
It was also blasted out to Obama's 19 million Twitter followers. For Romney, this may be only the beginning of his problems: more clips from this private fundraiser are coming soon.
Update: And here's the Romney campaign's statement, from spokeswoman Gail Gitcho:
Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy. As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney’s plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs.
Update II, 9/17, 10:23 p.m.: In a rare and hastily scheduled press conference in Orange County on Monday night, Romney stood by his remarks. "This is the same message I give to people," Romney said of his dig at the 47 percent. His only failing, he said, was in the delivery. "It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way," Romney said. "I'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question and, I'm sure I can say it more clearly"
Romney added, "I hope the person who has the video would put out the full video."
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