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. Romneyderp

    He will say ANYTHING, and i mean ANYTHING, to get a bump. The man is a liar.

    October 5, 2012 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  2. JD

    This is the guy we want as President of the United States? Wow!

    October 5, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  3. JustSaying2u

    This is a great opportunity to Mitt shake his "Ëtch-a-sketch" right in front of our eyes. It just adds to my opinion that Mitt Romney doesn't really stand for anything, and will say or do anything which gets him a vote.

    October 5, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  4. Samira Haddad

    Mitt is dishonest. Period. If he admitted something in a court of law, would the prosecutor or judge accept his admission that he was wrong when he said what he said?

    October 5, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  5. Marie MD

    NEWSFLASH!!!!!!!!!!! READ ALL ABOUT IT.
    Another flip flopping moment by the twit.
    You said the words, you owned up to the words after a waiter who is one of those 47% posted it and now you were wrong?
    BTW twit, the rnc has a lying ad in MD about 12M jobs lost. You said 23M in your temper tantrum moment. Which one is it? Who is lying? Maybe both you and your pathetic party ad?

    October 5, 2012 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  6. Oooooops

    Here we go, trying to fix one more lie after saying at least a dozen in the debate!!!

    October 5, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  7. NameLinda S

    Sorry, Mitt, but you cannot unring this bell.

    October 5, 2012 06:29 am at 6:29 am |
  8. Culver_City90230

    Mitt Romney: Say what you mean and mean what you say! You remind me of a child who gets caught in a lie and then says "Oh, I said that but I really meant to say something this". We heard what you said. You are playing on our intelligence, and we ("the 47%" now called "the 100%") are not stupid. Team Obama: Watch out for those hanging chads, especially in those swing states.

    October 5, 2012 06:30 am at 6:30 am |
  9. Aysun Belge

    He is "completely wrong" about everything.

    October 5, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  10. Paul

    This is one slippery dude. It is tough to debate a person who says one thing and then has an army of campaign people immediately after the debate "walking his statements back" to their true platform. For example, Romney states that under his healthcare plan, pre-existing conditions will be covered. However, as seen in his interview with Jay Leno, what he really means is if you have always (ALWAYS=CONTINUOUS) had coverage. Leno asked, well what if you had lost your job and had a gap in coverage, to which Romney replies, well, we can't play the game like that. He either is clueless in knowing how much it is for a person and family to get coverage during a time of unemployment no less or he really does not give a **it. He is not a genuinely honest person. Because he says people can't play the game like that, maybe he should not have shipped people's livelihoods overseas. He played games with people's lives and financial security. Make sure he loses in this game, vote Obama 2012

    October 5, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  11. Gedwards

    Liberals spend over a year saying that 99% of Americans are victims. Dems love it and agree.

    Gov Romney makes a statement about 47%, and Dems make it their primary campaign talking point.

    October 5, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  12. Culver_City90230

    Mitt Romney: Say what you mean and mean what you say! You remind me of a child who gets caught in a lie and then says "Oh, I said that but I really meant to say something else". We heard what you said. You are playing on our intelligence, and we ("the 47%" now called "the 100%") are not stupid. Team Obama: Watch out for those hanging chads, especially in those swing states.

    October 5, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  13. Mo

    This guy will do anything to get a vote its a lil to late buddy.. I really came into this election with an open mind but i cant vote for a liar!!

    October 5, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  14. TampaMel

    The question I have is, is he saying he was wrong about the 47% or is he saying it was wrong to say it out loud because then people will know how he really feels? I thing it is the later. He is an elitest slug and he was talking to his elitest slug friends. The people in the middle class who agree with him have not thought this out. You Middle Class Romney followers need to understand, YOU are part of his 47% that he and his friends do not care about.

    October 5, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  15. Anonymous

    When my now adult son was a young child, he had the perfect way of avoiding punishment for any wrong doing. Once he was aware we knew what he had done,he would put himself to bed and tell us he shouldn't get any supper , no future birthday presents and probably no Christmas presents. In the end, we would be arguing that he shouldn't be so hard on himself etc etc etc. it worked every time ...until we figured out the ploy. Reading the Romney "I was completely wrong" statement reminded me of that time!

    October 5, 2012 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  16. pjs

    He will say anything now to elected.

    October 5, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  17. ol cranky

    So he said it, got busted, defended his statement pretty strongly for a few weeks and suddenly he now says he was wrong? While I normally appreciate someone admitting they were wrong, this just sounds like insincere pandering. We don't need this in a POTUS. Can you imagine the kind of trouble this could get us into if our POTUS pulls this stuff during international negotiations?

    October 5, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  18. AngieS

    Is he KIDDING?? Just how dumb does Mitt-the-Twit think we are?? He's already long since on record saying that the poor of this country are not his concern...why would anyone in their right mind believe him, now??

    October 5, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  19. Person

    Big whoop. if it was wrong he shouldntve said it

    October 5, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  20. NameMummyinchief

    Romney is such a lair. He could careless abt d middle class Americans. Ppl dont buy his stroies. How come none of his sons never serve in the military?

    October 5, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  21. liberal disease

    it's probably more like 40

    October 5, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  22. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    I admire a person when they can own up to their mistakes. I haven't seen Obama or Biden own up to any of their misleading gaffes or attacks? Oh I forgot, they're perfect and don't make any.

    October 5, 2012 06:35 am at 6:35 am |
  23. mb2010a

    Mitt Romney is "completely wrong"...period. Obama 2012...

    October 5, 2012 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  24. NATHAN WIMBERLY

    Mitt the twit and the unhinged GOBP tea potty can run, but they can not hide. The American people are on to their lies.

    October 5, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  25. dell

    so he lied.

    October 5, 2012 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
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