Romney: 47 percent of voters ‘dependent upon government’
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney finds himself in hot water after a video of him calling nearly half of the American electorate “dependent upon government” surfaced Monday.
The video, leaked in full by Mother Jones, a liberal-leaning online magazine, shows Romney speaking to a room of 30 donors at a closed-door, $50,000 per-plate dinner fundraiser at the Boca Raton, Fla., home of private equity manager Marc Leder on May 17. Most of the footage is blurred to protect the identities of those at the dinner.
Romney said voters who support President Barack Obama are “entitled,” and therefore have no choice but to vote for him and other Democrats.
“There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it,” Romney said. “That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.”
Romney, apparently at ease in the video and displaying his rarely seen but well-documented sense of humor, said that same group does not pay federal income taxes.
“Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect,” he said.
The former Massachusetts governor said he does not have to concern himself with winning them over.
“My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney said. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney defended the comments in front of reporters Monday night.
“It’s not elegantly stated,” Romney said. “I’m speaking off the cuff in response to a question.”
He said he does not give different messages to donors behind closed doors than he does to the public.
“We have a very different approach, the president and I, between a government-dominated society and a society driven by free people pursuing their dreams,” Romney said.
The Obama campaign called their opponent’s remarks “shocking.”
“It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement.
The video was available online in short clips for months now, but it did not become major political news until the full video was posted online by Mother Jones’ David Corn. According to New York magazine, James Carter IV, the grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, found the uploader of the clips and got him in contact with Corn.
Carter spends his time doing opposition research on Republicans and hopes to be hired to do research soon.
“I’ve been searching for clips on Republicans for a long time, almost every day,” Carter told New York. “I just do it for fun.”
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