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. Seven gartner

    if you elect this guy America, than I have lost ALL faith in your intelligence.

    October 5, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Reasonably

    He cares about 100% of HIS money. Off shore accounts, tax returns not given, car elevators and multiple houses. Romney is a man of the people – the people with 8+ digit bank accounts.

    October 5, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  3. Dennis

    Everyone should understand how Romney operates by now – say whatever you need to get elected.

    In the debate, Obama should have said: "I never know which Mitt Romney I'm going to debate. Is the Mitt that was governor of MA? Is it the Mitt on the campaign trail the last 18 months? Is the Mitt in front of wealthy donors? Is it the Mitt that has suddenly turned into "Mr. Middle Class"? The policies he peddles are different depending on the audience and time frame. What policies would he pursue if he gets elected? Who knows!

    And then follow with: "I can tell you this: Mr. Romney has never been part of the middle class, he doesn't understand the middle class and he earned his fortune making money for wealthy investors at the expense of the middle class!

    October 5, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  4. Neeni

    Mr Romney we all make mistake., no one's perfect and I know you care for me and all Americans. Governor you're FORGIVEN. I will vote for you in November no matter what. You're the best, Blessings

    October 5, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Steve

    Mitt – You are "Completely Wrong" for being president of the United States.

    October 5, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  6. zero more years of Obama

    I put a well worded comment that happens to be pro-Romney together and submitted it twice, but hmmm, can't seem to find it. I put another one out (from zero more years of Obama) and you posted that one on page 39. I guess I can see what's happening here. You're censoring the ones that you want your readers to see and not posting most of the pro-Romney ones. I thought you had made it beyond that, CNN. You should try to be more fair and balanced. Maybe your readership and viewing audience would go up and bring your ratings up, too.

    October 5, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  7. kmac

    Moreno watch something besides FOX-you clear know nothing about "fast and furious" which actually started in 1982 and has different names since the start. And what on earth could be happening or has happened in Libya. The only thing there is the government did not have any intel showing a planned attack. Lack of intel caused 9/11 or did it. Did the Arab friends of Bush do it with his knowledge and support. Why was he out of Washington on that day–the day a plane was to hit the White House and one on the Pentagon–or just coincidence?

    October 5, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. robert

    Yea lets elect mitt he can help those in poverty. He will create good paying jobs aprox 12,000,000 in his 1st term. He'll bring down the cost of gas to at least "W's" era prices $1.50 per gal. as well as the cost of other goods. Yea lets elect a competent leader.

    October 5, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. MaryM

    Mitt, you said Exactly how you felt at that fund raiser with your wealthy buddies. Americans know that and you know that.
    You are not fooling anyone. You are now only saying you are wrong/ flip[ flopping again because You are losing the election. Bye Bye Mitt.
    Mitt, You are not Presidential material and queen, you people, Ann will never be first lady.

    October 5, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. dimond

    sorry cant make dead man alive .bullet out of a barrel can not return.sir

    October 5, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. Reasonably

    With a flip, flop, flibby to the flibby to the flip flip flop and you don't stop a-floppin' and a bang bang boogie say up jump the lier with a rhythm to the lying a-beat.

    October 5, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Mark of Tennessee

    LOL @ Romney... Tomorrow he will say he was right, Then wrong, Then Right , Then wrong, Then right etc. and expect you to believe all of his lies

    October 5, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. lsn2me

    romney will create alot of jobs in the hydraulic fracking sector. do we really need water for our children and our grandkids? what's wrong with creating earthquakes anyway. it's kinda fun and exciting, rockin' and shakin'. got earthquake insurance? i can't get it cuz my house is brick and mortar.

    October 5, 2012 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. Derrick

    This did it for me! I WAS one of those undecided voters, watching the debates to make my final decision. However, why watch the debates when it is CLEAR Romney will say anything to get your vote. This is not to say the President won’t do the same! But Romney has totally shifted positions on some major issues ALL in a matter of a few weeks. I do NOT trust a word he says. I’m casting my vote for Obama and putting my ballot in the mail this week end. Not waiting to hear more lies!

    October 5, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  15. Sue

    I thought Romney never apologized. He seems to be falling all over himself to do it once he got caught. He could care less about the average American and that came out on the tape. He is an embarrassment and I hope the public isn't dumb enough to elect this guy. He needs to retire.

    October 5, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. txteacherwithbrains

    Romney was actually right. There are a lot of people who are on the dole, and this is what, 2nd or 3rd generation? Oh and guess what-they tend to be members of a minority population. That ought to give you a clue. While the 47% was wrong, the man was right. We have to get the fool out of the White House before he turns us into a middle-east hell hole. He has already attempted to destroy our flag and our nation. Do you really want him for another 4 years?

    October 5, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Name C Williams

    It takes a humble person to admit his mistake –unlike BroHama Hussein who is apparently perfect. Wake up America b4 its too late.

    October 5, 2012 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. txteacherwithbrains

    Romney was actually right. There are a lot of people who are on the dole, and this is what, 2nd or 3rd generation? Oh and guess what-they tend to be members of a minority population. That ought to give you a clue. While the 47% was wrong, the man was right. We have to get the fool out of the White House before he turns us into a middle-east (expleteive deleted) hole. He has already attempted to destroy our flag and our nation. Do you really want him for another 4 years?

    October 5, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. GOP Shape Shifting

    Trying to pin this guy down to any specific policy or stance is like trying to nail Jello tothe wall. Just when you think you know what he stands for the morphs into something else. The ultimate flimflam man.

    October 5, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. David

    It's refreshing to have someone in politics admit when they were wrong. Much different than the constant lying and cover-ups that Obama consistently spews out. In fact, Obama looks more and more like Bush the longer he stays in the job. Time for NEW Hope and CHANGE!

    October 5, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  21. Milton

    I'll bet you 10,000 dollars he did mean it! Oh, wait, which way is the wind blowing today?

    October 5, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  22. Mark Boada

    Of course, Romney was wrong. Nearly every time he opens his mouth, he is wrong - either inaccurate or he's lying. That's not the kind of person who ought to be in the White House - except if he's paying for a tour.

    October 5, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Valar Morghulis

    Mr Romney we all make mistakes, no one's perfect and I know you care for me and all Americans. Governor you're FORGIVEN. I will vote for PRESIDENT OBAMA in November no matter what just in case. You're the best, Blessings

    October 5, 2012 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. Marshmaster

    Too bad Mitt didn't serve in the military because he would have learned that when you serve, you are defending 100% of the country no matter what fraction you deem to be correct. He'd go back to following the wishes of his major contributor and ignore those who couldn't write a giant check to his campaign if he's elected. Also he says he's been unemployed for the last few years. Anyone that's been unemployed for several months knows that you are having to battle the claim by some employers that your skills are no longer current – so Mitt what have you done to keep your skills current?

    October 5, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  25. RWM4Obama

    Starting with the debate we are seeing the "etch a sketch" Romney. Everything he said to his radical base will blur as he lies his way toward the middle. Does any rational person believe he is sorry or that he believes he was wrong?

    October 5, 2012 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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