Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in a bid to detract attention from recent controversial remarks leaked to the press, began an all-out onslaught on what he calls the president's "web of dependency."
In an USA Today op-ed Wednesday, Romney attacked President Barack Obama for pursuing a "redistribution" policy that had led to "the worst recovery since the Great Depression."
"Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency. My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility," the Romney op-ed added.
The remarks came a day after the Romney campaign started its drive to divert attention away from controversial remarks the former governor made at a fundraiser last year.
At the event, hosted by private equity CEO Marc Leder, Romney said "There are 47 percent [of Americans] who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them."
"These are people who pay no income tax," Romney is later heard saying in the video, first reported by Mother Jones on Monday. "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 comments created a firestorm on traditional and social media, with pundits saying this was the worst gaffe for the Republican candidate known for his occasional foot-in-mouth moments.
But on Tuesday, the Romney campaign sought to use these remarks to accuse the president of being too focused on wealth redistribution and not enough on personal responsibility.
"We have two very different views about America. The President's view is one of a larger government. There is a tape that just came out today where the President is saying he likes redistribution. I disagree," Romney said on Fox News Tuesday.
The tape was recorded at a Loyola University event in 1998, in which then state-senator Obama said he would be in favor of some redistribution of wealth if it meant all Americans could play by the same rules, a motif prominent now in his 2012 re-election platform.
"I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources, and hence facilitate some redistribution," Obama said, adding, "Because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody has a shot."
This isn't the first time a Republican has slammed Obama for his remarks on redistribution. In the 2008 campaign, Senator John McCain criticized then Illinois Senator Obama for telling Samuel "Joe the Plumber" Wurzelbacher "when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
But, the Obama campaign said the exhumation of the 1998 quote by Romney was simply an obvious attempt to hide outrage against their own candidate's gaffe.
"The Romney campaign is so desperate to change the subject that they've gone back to the failed playbook co-authored by Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber," Obama for America press secretary Ben LaBolt said.
"[Obama] believed then, and believes now, that there are steps we can take to promote opportunity and ensure that all Americans have a fair shot if they work hard. Unlike Governor Romney, he doesn't believe that if you're a student who applies for a loan you're looking for a handout," LaBolt added.
But on Wednesday morning, the Romney campaign continued to blast Obama for his 1998/2008 remarks by issuing further public statements from staff and politicians.
"Mitt Romney's vision for America is an opportunity society, where free people and free enterprise thrive and success is admired and emulated, not attacked," Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a Wednesday statement.
"President Obama's vision for America is a government-centered society, where government grows bigger and more active, occupying more of our everyday lives," Rhoades added.
These remarks were echoed by Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey who said "Americans understand that success comes from a society based on free enterprise, where opportunity abounds and a thriving economy supports upward mobility."
"They need a president like Mitt Romney, whose policies will create jobs, generate new wealth, and allow people from all walks of life to achieve their fullest potential," Toomey added.
by RTT Staff Writer
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