Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is attempting to do some damage control following the revelation of remarks he made at a private fundraiser earlier this year criticizing supporters of President Obama as people who don't assume personal responsibility or pay income taxes.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said in the undated video, released by liberal news outlet Mother Jones late Monday.
"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," he added in the one-minute video, which blurs faces of donors but in which you can clearly see Romney speaking.
The former Massachusetts governor goes on to characterize this 47 percent as people who "believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it - that that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them."
"These are people who pay no income tax," Romney is heard saying. "My job is not to worry about these people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
The video created a firestorm on traditional and social media last-night, with pundits and journalists speculating when and where the remarks were made and how this would affect the Romney campaign.
Mother Jones DC editor David Corn then revealed he believed the remarks were made at a fundraiser at the Boca Raton, Florida, home of Marc Leder, the co-CEO of Sun Capital Partners, Inc., a private equity firm focused on leveraged buyouts and debt.
The Corn article also cited a New York Post piece claiming Leder is famous for holding wild parties at his Bridgehampton, N.Y., property, where "guests cavorted nude in the pool and performed sex acts, scantily dressed Russians danced on platforms and men twirled lit torches to a booming techno beat."
Late Monday night, Romney held an impromptu press conference to address the video, a rare move from a candidate who is not known to seek out direct press interaction.
Romney stood by the remarks, chalking them up to answering a question on how his campaign strategy would garner the votes necessary to win the election.
"There is a very different approach of the two different campaigns," Romney said at the press conference in Los Angeles. "As I point out, I recognize that among those that pay no tax - approximately 47 percent of Americans - I'm not likely to be highly successful with a message of lowering taxes."
In response to reporter questions that he characterized nearly half the electorate as victims unwilling to take personal responsibility, Romney said, "Of course individuals are going to take responsibility for their life, and my campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again."
"It's not elegantly stated," Romney added when asked whether he thought the manner in which he delivered the remarks was offensive. "I'm sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that."
In the immediate reaction to the video release yesterday, some pundits speculated this would be a major blow to the Romney campaign. Others thought it simply solidified his position as the conservative candidate.
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina urged supporters of the president to donate in the wake of the video's release.
"The man who spoke these words — who demonstrates such disgust and disdain for half of our fellow Americans — is the other side's choice for President of the United States," Messina said in an email message to supporters.
"If we don't come through for President Obama right now, this will be the guy making big decisions that affect us and our families every single day," he added.
The issue will most likely continue to be raised in the weeks leading up to the first presidential debate on October 3rd. The debate, which will address domestic policy, will be held at the University of Denver in Colorado.
by RTT Staff Writer
For comments and feedback: email@example.com