March 13th, 2013
03:53 PM ET
1 year ago

Bartender put Romney's campaign on the rocks

(CNN) - The man who filmed Mitt Romney making the now-infamous "47%" comments is speaking out about why he secretly-recorded the GOP presidential candidate at a fundraiser last May.

Scott Prouty, a bartender who worked for a catering company, said he was inspired to do so after a friendly encounter with former President Bill Clinton.

Prouty came forward in interviews with the Huffington Post and “The Ed Show” on MSNBC.

At a previous event, Prouty said Clinton came back to the kitchen and expressed gratitude to the staff, waiters, bartenders and busboys who helped cater the event. He took photos, shook hands, signed autographs and complimented the meal, he told Huffington Post.

He said when he heard Romney would be attending an event that he was tending, he brought his camera in case he could get a picture with the presidential hopeful.

The former Massachusetts governor, however, was late to the Florida event and left shortly after it was over, without speaking to the event staff. While he told the guests that his comments would be off the record, he did not address the same instructions to the wait staff.

Prouty said he placed a Canon camera on the bar and pressed the record button. He told Huffington Post he had no intention to publish the video until he heard Romney's speech.

"I felt it was a civic duty. I couldn't sleep after I watched it," he said. "I felt like I had a duty to expose it."

Part of his intention in taping Romney’s comments and releasing them to the public was to relay what the candidate said at private high-dollar fundraisers, which was different from his normal stump speech.

“People paid $50,000 for dinner. Nobody I know can afford to pay $50,000 for dinner,” Prouty said on “The Ed Show.”

“I felt an obligation for all the people who couldn’t be there, so they could hear what the candidate actually thinks,” he continued.

Romney, Prouty claimed, doesn’t have “any idea what a typical American goes through on a regular basis.”

In the video, Romney could be heard saying nearly half of Americans were victims "dependent" on the government and would vote for Obama no matter what.

"There are 47% of people who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you-name-it," Romney said on the tape.

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

The moment caught on camera is still noted as a major turning point in the race and cited–even by Republicans–as one of the main reasons Romney lost the election.

Reflecting on the moment himself, Romney said earlier this month that "it was a very unfortunate misstatement."

"It's not what I meant. I didn't express myself as I wished I would have," he said on Fox News, adding that he wasn't guarding his words as carefully since it was a private event.

"It was very harmful. What I said is not what I believe. Obviously, my whole campaign - my whole life has been devoted to helping people, all of the people. I care about all the people of the country," he said. "But that hurt. There's no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign."

In an interesting twist, James Carter, an opposition research and grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, found the video online and put the bartender in touch with a writer for the left-leaning magazine Mother Jones.

He told CNN last month that Obama personally thanked him after the election when the president met James and his cousin, Georgia state Sen. Jason Carter, at an event in Atlanta.

"After (Jason) got his picture taken, he told Obama that I was the one that had found the 47% tape," James Carter said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

"Then Obama said, 'Hey, great, get over here.' And then he kind of half-embraced me, I want to say, put his arm around me, and we shook hands. He thanked me for my support, several times," he said.

Carter added he had only seen a small portion of the hour-long tape at the time and had no idea it would blow up as much as it did last September.

"I obviously hoped that everything that I found would make a difference," he said. "It ended up being way beyond my wildest dreams."

Carter's grandfather, Jimmy Carter, bragged about his grandson's efforts in a separate interview on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

The former president said he thought the video was a "pivotal moment" in the election.

"It was something (Romney) could not deny and it stuck with him for the rest of the election and I think it was a major factor, if not the major factor," he said.

"Carter won Obama the election," Morgan joked.

"I think so," Carter said, laughing.

– CNN's Ashley Killough and Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Rudy NYC

    Reflecting on the moment himself, Romney said earlier this month that "it was a very unfortunate misstatement."

    "It's not what I meant. I didn't express myself as I wished I would have," he said on Fox News, adding that he wasn't guarding his words as carefully since it was a private event.
    -----------
    Hogwash. Around the same time frame he was saying publicly that all he needed was 51% of the vote to win. The 47% remark is just a continuation of the same theme. Go back and check your video from June 2012, CNN. It's in there.

    March 13, 2013 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  2. rs

    The irony in this story is simply delicious. Aside from the 47% comment (Romney lost by getting only 47% of the popular vote); by snubbing the wait staff, one of them catches Romney in this most egregious lie (that 47% pay no taxes and are the "takers"-ignoring that most who receive government subsidies are elederly and White- and probably Republican!) said in a room full of rich people getting special tax breaks and eagerly seeking even more. A non-drinking Mormon taken out by a bartender.

    The truth is Romney's campaign was on the rocks anyway. No one was buying the ultra-draconian Ryan budget (ANOTHER tax cut for the rich, paid for by the poor, and the elderly)- That is what killed his campaign.

    The post-election whining that somehow Obama "bought off" those votes, all the while Romney's plan gave the 1% an additional $800,000 each in additional tax relief certainly reduced what is left of his credibility- especially in light of his huge Defense budget increase plans. It was George W. Bush's "Cut-Taxes-and-spend" all over again.

    March 13, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. kayla

    stupid is as stupid does

    March 13, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    Ray E. (Georgia) wrote:

    Rudy NYC says, Where are the right wing revenue increases? They moved to China Rudy. ... Sorry Rudy. The right wing is all tapped out to the tune of 17 Trillion Dollars. You have all the tools. Now go get it.
    ---------
    The middle class was tapped out under George W. Bush when debt was only $10 trillion. That's why the economy crashed in 2008. Trickle down bankrupted the middle class back in 2008.

    March 13, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  5. John the Historian

    Romney is only part of the Republican Christian Right, the military-industrial complex, the corporate elite and the the billionaires who don't want to pay taxes. Romney go the fictional planet of kolob or go to Nauvoo, Illinois to wait your polygamist Jesus Christ who preached to the American-Indians. Still trying to find those gold tablets or the square boats that brought the Jews to be the ancestors of the American-Indians. What a cult religion.

    March 13, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Bob

    We found out what the true heartless and cold money grubbing machine that is Bishop Rmoney REALLY is.

    March 13, 2013 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. Tex2013

    Jeez...could this story be any more outdated and irrelevant?

    March 13, 2013 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    rs

    The irony in this story is simply delicious. Aside from the 47% comment (Romney lost by getting only 47% of the popular vote);
    ----------
    The media has totally passed on the fact that around the time the video was shot, Romney was saying publicly that all he needed was 51% of the vote to win the general election. Irony within irony.

    March 13, 2013 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. Donna

    What he did was totally illegal. Now that it is known who violated the law he should be arrested and prosecuted,

    March 13, 2013 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. teej

    These guys are not competing for America and its good standing in the world. They're competing with other rich guys throughout the world. If they're not going to be able to pay their illegal immigrant wages in order to keep up with their Jones, they're going to fight collective bargaining and workers unions until they can force Americans to work for nickels. Shame be upon them!

    March 13, 2013 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Name Carl

    47% Thats all we need to say about Romney....

    March 13, 2013 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. Magic undies

    Romney obviously forgot to put on his Mormon Magical Underwear that night...........

    March 13, 2013 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. ThinkAgain

    This was Romney's stock speech that he said to all wealthy potential donors. To believe otherwise is naive.

    It was just a matter of luck that it got recorded – and thank goodness it did!

    March 13, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. b

    Romney is correct and it was off the record. I can only imagine what Obama's converstions were like with his racist pastor.

    March 13, 2013 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....and do you know why Rush Limbaugh doesn't have guest in his show? Because he's a Blowhard who can't debate the issue

    With the rate at which the HATEFUL GOP-TeaPARTY was bashing President Jimmy Carter that including idiotic Mitt Robme himself; it's just a icing on the cake that Jimmy Cater's grandson won the election for President Obama!

    Now Mitt Robme will NEVER BE PRESIDENT...and I repeat for you half-wit dimbats GOP idiots out there, Mitt Robme will NEVER BE PRESIDENT!!!

    Nice to bash Jimmy and bash the American people in some high-brow high-dollar private event where yall eating caveat and mocking & laughing at the little people...........just the qualification you need to be a FAILED PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE!!!!

    March 13, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Funny how Repubs like to yammer on about "principled" and "moral" they are, but when they are caught on tape, they immediately run away from their words.

    Just goes to show you what a pack of liars they are ...

    March 13, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  17. Marie MD

    The twit's campaign was already on the rocks. The bartender just made sure the world knew about the lies and how the animal torturer himself thougth about the little people.
    The bartender proved that he and the staff serving the rich thought they were not even there. Sort of what the rethugs and the rich think of the 98%

    March 13, 2013 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. Sniffit

    "Bartender put Romney's campaign on the rocks"

    Mittens' own words put Mittens' campaign on the rocks.

    FIFY (altho that's setting aside the fact that he was already sort of on the rocks anyway, but whatever)

    March 13, 2013 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. RomneyWho

    And the band played on! :(

    March 13, 2013 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Marie MD: "The bartender proved that he and the staff serving the rich thought they were not even there. Sort of what the rethugs and the rich think of the 98%"

    Have you ever worked as a bartender or wait staff? The purpose of the job is to SERVE people. Not to have them fawn all over you. I was in the business for about 15 years, anybody who would whine that their table wasn't paying attention to them doesn't understand their own job.

    March 13, 2013 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    "Bartender put Romney's campaign on the rocks"

    Apparently, CNN believes the guy won't be geting enough death threats from deranged Teatrolls as it is, even though Mittens is the ONLY person responsible for Mittens' disgusting beliefs and statements, so they've decided to encourage the perception that it's ok to blame the bartender guy.

    March 13, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  22. missingmick

    The reason Romney's comments upset people is because they are true - the truth is often hard to face. Look what we ended up with in the long run: Obama and his Mama. Now we're really in for it - same failings as before and four more. We need more Walkers, Romneys, Synders. Their states improve(d) with them running them. People take note. I give a you-know-what what color our president is, he just needs to lead and improve our economy and Obama stinks.

    March 13, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  23. The NRA is a T e r r o r i st organisation....and do you know why Rush Limbaugh doesn't have guest in his show? Because he's a Blowhard who can't debate the issue

    Exposing Mitt Robme for who he really is was a refreshing eye-opener for Americans to make up their minds...GOP-TeaParty folks come to you begging for your votes and call you names behind your back!!!!

    March 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  24. bassman

    Compare how our media treated Romney's statement at a fundraiser, and Pres. Obama's statement of 'clinging to guns and religion' and you see why most Americans think our media is biased.

    March 13, 2013 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  25. Jeb

    Romney repeated that remark in a call to campaign donors after he lost the election.

    If he didn't mean to tell half the country to go f..... themselves, why did he do it multiple times?

    March 13, 2013 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |