Obama 'victim'-izing Romney
September 28th, 2012
06:25 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama 'victim'-izing Romney

(CNN) - President Barack Obama wasted little time recently adding a new element to his stump speech which makes Mitt Romney the victim of his own comments.

At a fund-raiser in Florida last spring, Romney said that that 47% of people pay no federal income taxes, are dependent on government, and view themselves as victims - and will support Obama regardless of the arguments Romney makes about lowering taxes.

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His comments were secretly recorded and posted on a left-leaning website last Monday and Tuesday.

Romney said his words were "off the cuff" and "not elegantly stated," but Obama proceeded to use them against him.

A spokeswoman for Romney, Amanda Henneberg, commented to CNN on this report, saying "This election presents a clear choice between the government dependency of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s vision of economic freedom."

Obama debuted a form of the line at a town hall-style meeting for the Univision television network three days after the video was first released.

"When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government, my thinking is maybe you haven't gotten around a lot, because I travel around the country all the time and the American people are the hardest working there are," Obama said to applause from the audience, which consisted primarily of supporters.

"Their problem is not that they're not working hard enough, or they don't want to work, or they're being taxed too little, or they just want to loaf around and gather government checks. We've gone through a challenging time," he continued. "People want a hand up, not a handout."

That was on Thursday. The Obama campaign went on to turn the comments into campaign ads, and meanwhile, Obama was refining the line he would use at campaign rallies.

The next day, Obama used the "47%" sentiment in his remarks at the AARP convention, though he did not mention the word "victim."

"But when it comes to gridlock, look - I came in in 2008 and I said, even though I got 53% of the vote and 47% of the country voted against me, that I'd be the President for everybody, and I'd listen to everybody's voices," Obama said, referring to a theme he spoke on after his election.

Later on Friday, the president rolled out a version of his victim line which has become standard fare in his stump speeches since then.

"I don't believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who think that they're not interested in taking responsibility for their own lives," he said in Woodbridge, Virginia. "I don't see a lot of victims in this crowd today. I see hard-working Virginians."

"Some of you may be students trying to work your way through college. Some of you may be single moms like my mom putting in overtime to see if you can provide a better life for your kids," Obama continued. "Some of you may be senior citizens who have been saving your whole life for your retirement. Some of you may be veterans who have served this country bravely soldiers who defend our freedom today."

He brought the personalization - "I see hard-working Virginians" - on the trail with him. In Milwaukee on Saturday, he saw "hardworking Wisconsinites." This past Wednesday, there were "hardworking Ohioans" in both Bowling Green and Kent. And the "hardworking Virginians" were back on Thursday in Virginia Beach.

Since the Woodbridge event, his language has remained generally similar - citing students, moms, and senior citizens.

Obama used the comment again on Friday at a fundraiser in Washington - "when I travel this country I don't meet victims" - though he dropped any geographic reference, perhaps a victim to speaking inside the beltway.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. elle

    Well, Obama has it right, we, the people, do not want to depend on government. But don't let his seeming compassion fool you. He is for NWO, etc. & we will have no rights. He just has to get elected first and he will say whatever it takes to be Pres for another term. That IS when we will see his true colors & they aren't red, white & .blue, sorry to say....As for .Mitt, he has his own NWO plans as well, educate yourselves on the Mormon doctrine & players, the behind the scenes agendas that they have dreamed/planned for decades, your jaw will drop, your vote there will stop. Either one as pres. will be a sorry disappointment, it is a crying shame. My ancestors & maybe yours too, founded this country, fought in the major wars, etc.....Will we get America back with either one of these two, off beat, to say the least, characters?

    September 29, 2012 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  2. vrim

    Nothing wrong with telling it like it is.

    September 29, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  3. mapaxn

    Obama is not victimizing Romney. Romney is victimizing Romney. By being a daft, clueless 1%er with only contempt for the working class, it is Romney and Romney alone that is digging the grave for his political career. After all Romney has done to twist Obama's words and policies; it is hard to believe anyone is deluded enough to sympathize with Romney after he spit on half the country. This is a PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION. If Romney doesn't take this seriously enough to choose his words wisely no matter who his audience is, he does NOT deserve to be elected, and he surely does not deserve sympathy when Obama uses this against him. Guess what – he SHOULD. Anyone who cares about the working class would shout this from the rooftops.

    September 29, 2012 02:44 am at 2:44 am |
  4. Amy

    4 more years

    September 29, 2012 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  5. Fortinbras

    Romney needs to hit a grand slam against Obama, and I just dont see it happening.

    September 29, 2012 04:09 am at 4:09 am |
  6. Jeremy theodore

    To put this 47% comment in perpective,this was not a one line or phrase, this was a one hour detail explanation to a question. His answers reflect exactly what he felts and wanted the person to know about what he thinks. This was a one on one answers with no press, no undecided all present here was core supporter who wanted to know Mitt before the dish out the big bucks, and that what they got.

    September 29, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  7. Adam Kushner

    Can you just imagin what the GOP and Romny campaign would be doing to Obama iif he said anything close to the remarks that Romny said?
    Just look at all the insults and low down, untrue, abuses they have been giovbing now over the past four years?
    The list is appaling and compleatly unjustified.

    September 29, 2012 04:58 am at 4:58 am |
  8. mat

    Funny how I see nothing about the political imprisonment of the film maker. Obama's Amerika.

    September 29, 2012 05:14 am at 5:14 am |
  9. Geoff

    The Tea Party and Grover Norquist are out of touch with reality. Republicans have no legitimate argument toward being a better choice than Obama, which in all honesty is depressing. Penguins are far smarter than we are when it comes to politics.

    September 29, 2012 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  10. Jim

    Poor Mitt. Poor, poor Mitt. It's so sad when things he says are actually repeated.

    September 29, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  11. annieL

    The reason so many American workers have need of government assistance at some point in their lives is because our economy offers fewer and fewer jobs for low-skilled workers. Too many people are forced into vocational schools and colleges to escape near-poverty wages and find when they finish they are among scores of qualified applicants for the same job. A two-year or four-year degree has become the high school diploma of a generation ago and is constantly being devalued by oversupply. Add to this, the fast obsolescence of skills by rapidly changing technology and many are forced back to school in mid-life, chasing new jobs with more education. No wonder so many fall off the treadmill.

    September 29, 2012 06:49 am at 6:49 am |
  12. MrRickinNH

    I am proudly one of the 47% of Americans that are on the gov. dole! I earned my retirement by paying into the SS fund for all of my working years... and now... reaping the benefits of my contributions. And this bozo (Mittens) thinks I am on the take! Lets hope the voters don't let him anywhere near the oval office!

    September 29, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  13. liberal disease

    Obama is a disease that is spreading like a wild fire. we are sick of paying for people who do nothing, because Obama has a score to settle with the USA because of his commie father problem with England..How in the hell did we get here?
    We need to get these foreigners out of the white house!

    September 29, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  14. southexas

    Let Mitt ask Ana Romney for help unless Mitt is still a mama's kid..

    September 29, 2012 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  15. atc333

    Unfortunately for Mitt, he was caught on tape expressing his true beliefs,which came across as coming straight from his heart, with no "double speak" delivering his plain, simple message to a group of his peers who alos agree with his assessments of the 47%.

    The fact that he is selling the same failed economic theories which have created the GOP's massive redistributions of wealth to the top 2% one again only insures this groups continued funding of his campaign, for after all, the Romney/Ryan "Marvelous " Budget only guarantees them substantial returns on their campaign "investments" in Romney during a Romney GOP controlled Administration. No rocket science involved here.

    September 29, 2012 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  16. Ron in SC

    The GOP and Tea Party has been attacking Obama since he went into office, in fact they said it was their one mission...to get Obama out of office. They have been lying every step of the way and now they want to wine about ads in the election? If you cant stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

    September 29, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  17. Gurgyl

    47% video is so pathetic on the part of mitt the twit....watch it on YouTube....

    September 29, 2012 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  18. Malory Archer

    The entire reichwing is nothing but a bunch of victims. One need look no further than CNN's own message boards for proof of that. One poster even goes by the handle "Obama victim". Guess that "personal responsibility" thingy they're always spouting on about only applies to "you people".

    September 29, 2012 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  19. XWngLady

    All candidates do this!! Its called a "stump speech"...CNN quit trying to generate sympathy for Romney...BOO-HOO Romney...Romney is NOT being victim-ized here...He insulted half of the country and now he's got to face the consequences! That 47% includes people in Ohio, Wisconsin, Virginia, etc. and these folks need to know what Romney said and understand how he views many Americans. Its fair game! So qit whining about it.

    September 29, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  20. mattski

    Sadly it's Mitt that's victimizing Mitt. He can't un-ring the bell..

    September 29, 2012 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  21. Bette

    When did the term "victim" come to imply something that the person can fix? My definition of it is the opposite – victims are those who really do deserve some community/government support because they have been disabled or put out of work by something out of their control. (Something that could happen to you or me in the blink of an eye.) Politicians need to find a phrase to distinguish between people who "view themselves victims" because they ARE, and those who are not trying to help themselves because they falsely believe their problems are someone else's fault.

    September 29, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  22. Norma Vessels

    Keep up the good work, President Obama .. we're with you all the way to the finish line!

    September 29, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  23. Armyvet129

    If you believe in President Obama's policies then you are a victim of misdirection. This President's intentions are clear, and only a person who believes the rich victimizes them can possibly agree with redistribution. People who only worry about themselves and their own capabilities do not have time to envy the rich, they are too busy trying to join them.

    September 29, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  24. 40acres

    Romneys excuse for his statement "that was off the cuff". So what does that mean Mr. Romney? Was it off the cuff from your heart or was it off the cuff meaning you don't say what you think. Lying to your donors or telling them your true feelings....which is it sir? You got one thing right....it was definitely inelegant.

    September 29, 2012 09:23 am at 9:23 am |
  25. Randy

    In a 1998 interview, Obama stated he supports wealth redistribution. This statement has been ignored by the media and is a slap in the face to hard working Americans who moved forward on their own, not on the backs of others! Wealth redistribution is a political term for theft. Plus, when asked in 08 about wealth redistribution Obama denied supporting wealth redidistribution. Maybe the media should spend equal time reviewing the statements of both candidates.

    September 29, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
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