October 4th, 2012
11:39 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney on 47% comments: I was 'completely wrong'

(CNN) - Mitt Romney said he was "completely wrong" when he argued that nearly half of Americans were "victims" and dependent on government.

The admission came Thursday as the GOP presidential candidate sought to clarify his controversial "47%" comments.

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"Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney said on Fox News. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."

Last month, secretly recorded video of Romney at a May fundraiser showed the Republican candidate saying 47% of Americans will vote for President Barack Obama "no matter what."

"There are 47% who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."

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The non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that for tax year 2011, 46% of households will end up owing nothing in federal income taxes. But if payroll taxes are counted, the number of non-payer households drops precipitously - to an estimated 18% in 2011.

Adding to his argument about entitlement, Romney said his "job is not to worry about those people."

"I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," he added.

"What I have to do is convince the 5 percent to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful."

After the videos, which were posted on the progressive news website Mother Jones, caught fire, Romney called a last-minute press conference with pool reporters while he was in California at the time.

The former Massachusetts governor acknowledged the comments were "off the cuff" and "not elegantly stated," but he defended the main point of the message, saying he was criticizing the increasing size of government and entitlement programs.

"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 following day, Romney still stuck by his comments and elaborated on the logistical reasoning behind his remarks.

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"We were of course talking about a campaign and how he is going to get close to half the vote," Romney said. "I'm going to get half the vote, I hope, I want to get 50.1% or more. Frankly we have two very different views about America."

In the first presidential debate Wednesday, Obama surprised political observers by not going after Romney on the comments, as he has on the campaign trail in the last two weeks.

On Fox News Thursday night, Romney was asked what he would have said if the president had brought up the controversial statements–which is when the GOP nominee went as far as to say he was "wrong."

He then argued that, if elected, he would represent all Americans, not just half.

"I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100% and that's been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100%. When I become president, it will be helping the 100%."

What’s your reaction to Mitt Romney saying his secretly recorded comment that nearly half of Americans were victims dependent on government was "completely wrong?" Share your thoughts below or using the hashtag #47percent.


Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (1,403 Responses)
  1. david

    Once again he can erase his genuine feelings that he said in a private fundraiser, revealing with a sociopathic review of his history. The man bullied another man because of his long hair (because he thought he was gay) and "gang cut" his hair with other men. He has never addressed this and we need to know the truth. Seems reminiscent of the current beard cuttings in the Amish community. I wish I had a dollar for all of his redirections and his blatant lies I dare this man to meet me face to face.

    October 5, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  2. Joe

    So, Mr. Romney here had the chance, weeks ago, to admit that he was wrong when this first occurred but didn't. He had the chance to apologize at that time, but didn't. Now, weeks later, in the heat of battle with his ratings slipping, he now admits he was wrong.... What duhhhh.....? Everyone can see that the way he handled that he doesn't mean a word..... How can anyone trust him as a President.... World leaders won't be able to. Seriously, it's like a car salesman. They say whatever they want you to hear to make the sale. Once the sale is done, watch out..... No way, no thanks!!!!! GO OBAMA!!!!!

    October 5, 2012 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  3. Flip Flop Distributer

    Oh come on! Can't the man pick a view point and stick to it??

    October 5, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  4. Christ.D

    To all those that were saying he isn't wrong and are glad he said, please come defend him "on how right he was" and on his flip-flopping.

    October 5, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  5. tmc

    So was the guy who was convicted of DWI 12 years ago..

    October 5, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  6. wondering999

    Good grief. He really does change what he says from minute to minute. How can anyone rely on what he says???

    October 5, 2012 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  7. Ellis

    So bizarre that Mitt said he was wrong when in fact he was right on. I am one of the 47% and haven't paid any taxes in over 10 years and everyone else still continues to support me. It is great to be me!

    October 5, 2012 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  8. Joe

    The flip flopper strikes again!

    October 5, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  9. Chmee

    Flip flop number 824.

    October 5, 2012 05:48 am at 5:48 am |
  10. gwats

    No Mitt,
    You were speaking honestly, or you were lying to a room full of people who paid you $50K each for you to lie to them. Either way, you are not fit to be President.

    October 5, 2012 05:51 am at 5:51 am |
  11. max

    he’s sad he got caught saying it … I doesn’t even care for the next 52%, he cares ONLY for his 1%

    October 5, 2012 05:53 am at 5:53 am |
  12. suedee

    This man is always talking out of both sides of his mouth....so stupidly funny. Romney is the consummate pitchman saying whatever people want to hear. I can't believe in anything he says, much less believe his actions will be anything less than his chaotic retractions. RETRACTABLE ROMNEY Maybe it's the Mormon apostles and fellow bishops to guiding him. Instead of America the beautiful, we'll be America; division of the Mormon cult.

    October 5, 2012 05:54 am at 5:54 am |
  13. Sean Crees

    So first he said it, then he got caught saying it, then he doubled down on what he said, and now he is saying what he said was wrong. You know, i don't know if this guy actually believes anything he says, the only thing i know for sure is he will say absolutely anything that is required of him so he can get what he wants. Maybe he was just pandering to the rich people in the room when he originally said it, maybe he's pandering to the general electorate now, who knows. Who knows what this guy actually thinks, or will actually do once he's president, and that's the scariest thing of all.

    October 5, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  14. Steve

    This whole thing is a joke. We all know the out come. They should both take office.then we can here both of them make excuse.where screwed

    October 5, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  15. suedee

    This man is always talking out of both sides of his mouth....so stupidly funny. Romney is the consummate pitchman saying whatever people want to hear. I can't believe in anything he says, much less believe his actions will be anything less than his chaotic retractions. RETRACTABLE ROMNEY Maybe it's the Mormon apostles and fellow bishops will be guiding him. Instead of America the beautiful, we'll be America; division of the Mormon cult.

    October 5, 2012 05:55 am at 5:55 am |
  16. Vampnet

    Flip floppin Romney.. Recording doesnt lie.. behind closed doors, in front of his millionaire buddies, he says the truth.. on stage in front view of public opinions, he will say what ever is needed even tho nearly everything he says in public is a lie or a twisted truth. The Debate showed me noting new.

    October 5, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  17. Craig

    and it only took him a week and a half to figure it out.

    October 5, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  18. David

    Yeah Right you don't care a rats azzzzz about anyone than yourself you lying hypocrite you said what you said from your heart and now you want to retract it come on you politicians are all the same oh when will a true honest person come out and be up front with the American people I have the answer when hell freezes over. this is all just BS!!!

    October 5, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  19. Jeff Cox

    Yeah, right.

    At this point I think his lying is pathologic.

    October 5, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  20. Jack

    Romney, the flip flop apologize candidate. One day he will figure out of he likes Americans.. (at least the non Ivy League, non rich ones)

    October 5, 2012 05:56 am at 5:56 am |
  21. Stanchman

    the public Romney (flip) and the private Romney (flap) are in conflict... imagine that...

    October 5, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  22. drjc

    Bolstered by hte success of his debate "performance", the new moderate mitt spends some of his fresh capital and flips from "not elegant" to "wrong", completely bypassing the new favorite "misspoke." This is probably necessary, since he pounded the point in repeatedly. He calculates he can now publicly disrespect his far right masters and project magnanimous beneficence upon the comtemptible masses that so clearly disgust him, so that they will trust him. When the wheel spins again, where will it stop?

    October 5, 2012 05:57 am at 5:57 am |
  23. Etch a Sketch

    I'm Mit Romney & I approve this message...no wait I don't approve this message...then again, yeah I approve this message...If I say I disapprove of this message will you vote for me? In that case I disapprove this message. IDK maybe I do approve after all. Yeah, I approve this message, disapproving is totally wrong.

    October 5, 2012 05:58 am at 5:58 am |
  24. Gail D

    DO YOU WANT a President that was "completely wrong" ? What if it was NOT ABOUT the 47% ?
    What if he was "completely wrong" about a Declaration of War ? .....about pushing a button ? about the economy ?
    I appreciate honesty, BUT, at this point, it does not take an Einstein to figure out he is JUST PANDERING FOR VOTES !

    October 5, 2012 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  25. EJ

    This guy is a heartless liar, he goes from one lie to another and his wife calls him an honest man which leads me to believe she is a confused woman and seeing how her hubby lies it is understood. People who support candidates like this is how this country got screwed up – how can anyone trust what this man says.....

    October 5, 2012 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
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