Obama speaks out on Romney video
September 18th, 2012
07:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama speaks out on Romney video

(CNN) – President Barack Obama suggested Tuesday that Mitt Romney was "writing off a big chunk of the country" in remarks made in the controversial, secretly recorded video from a May fund-raiser published Monday.

In an interview taped for "The Late Show" with David Letterman in New York, the president said he didn't know what his opponent was referring to in the video but was quick to add, "One of the things I learned as president is you represent the entire country. If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone."

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"What people want to know though is you're not writing off a big chunk of the country because the way our democracy works," said Obama. "This is a big country. And people disagree a lot but one thing I've never tried to do and I think none of us can do in public office is suggest that because someone doesn't agree with me that they're victims or they're unpatriotic."

The secretly recorded footage exploded on-line Monday when the liberal-leaning news organization Mother Jones posted a story and video clips. Tuesday the web site put out an additional clip and then later in the day published more than 49 minutes of the recording. Among Romney's remarks that stirred controversy was a comment describing "47 percent of the people who will vote [for president Obama] no matter what" as being dependent on government.

The president continued noting the 2008 presidential race against Sen. John McCain.

"When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain," Obama said. "They didn't vote for me and what I said on election night was: 'Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president.'"

Letterman reminded Obama of his own campaign gaffe in 2008 when then-senator and Democratic candidate said at a fund-raiser in San Francisco that certain Americans will "cling to their guns and religion."

Obama said he "immediately felt it was wrong" and quickly apologized, compared to Romney who has defended the crux of his comments though admitting they were "not elegantly stated."

"There are not a lot of people out there who think they're victims," Obama said. "There are not a lot of people who think they're entitled to something."

Obama continued: "We've got some obligations to each other, and there's nothing wrong with us giving each other a helping hand so that that single mom's kid, even after all the work she's done, can afford to go to college.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (70 Responses)
  1. sugar

    If Mitt doesn't feel tax money should be spent on America and Americans needs then what does he plan to do with all those mountains of cash?

    September 18, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. myviewis

    If President Obama doesn't know what Romney is referring to how then can Obama make a statement that gives us the impression that Romney is not going to work for all the people, he won't be representing all the people??????

    "the president said he didn't know what his opponent was referring to in the video but was quick to add, "One of the things I learned as president is you represent the entire country. If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone."

    September 18, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Mike

    Romney has made it clear that he's only going to be the President of his rich millionaire and billionaire donors. He couldn't care less about the rest of us.

    September 18, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Jack in Florida

    I would definitely want Barack Obama and Michelle as our First Family, over Thurston Howell III and Lovey......they are so out of touch with the real world, it is sad!!

    September 18, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  5. apple pie

    You'd think an apology from someone making such comments as Mitt did would be self-evident. But then, that would be "apologizing," and that's a dirty word for a Republican, isn't it?

    September 18, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. Ed1

    I still think Obama should keep one promise he made he didn't cut the Deficient in half within his first three years so he shouldn't get re-elected. His words not mine just hope you keep him to his promise and don't vote for this clown we can't afford his spending and giveaways.

    September 18, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. FedUp

    Romney wrote off as many votes as Biden did when he said Romney would put us back in chains. This is a ridiculous campaign! None of them deserves to be elected or re-elected and that includes the VP!!!

    September 18, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  8. NameGhost

    Yeah the country may not be in great shape. But I want a personwith courage, vision, commitment to fairness, and a sense of community to run the show. Some things the president has tried have not worked that well. But were better off tha n when we started. You may disagree with the methodology Or
    the results. But the president would never disparage half the country; in fact I think he's tried to do the best by all of us. I think a lot of people think because he's of color he's preferrentially going to be the advocate of people of color; I reject that. I think he's been a very good advocate for all of us. I think mitt Romney is an advocate for a very narrow monied class and is unfit to run for president. What he said is inflammatory, insulting, classist and vile. This is the one time I believe he honestly spoke his mind. He is contemptuous of those different than him. He is a disgrace to all americans

    September 18, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. kathyjfla

    Then why, Mr. President, do you pander to all your liberal voters and then try to divide the rest of us, all the time???

    September 18, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  10. victoria

    I believe this whole talk/tape was taken out of context by Mother Jones and Obama and all who have reported on it...It was Romney talking to his base about the job that lied ahead and that the folks that are not receiving help as needed but are cheating the system and freeloading will vote for Obama as he promises roses with out thorns...Lies...anyway if anything I believe it helped Romney no matter what the media says ...I know many folks tired as am I of the status quo!

    September 18, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  11. Pete

    He's very calm about the whole thing and won't let it take him off message,Romneys not for the 47%,just the 1% that lines his pockets...Pres.Obama is the man of the people,not the corporate lap dog that Romney turned out to be!!!

    September 18, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  12. PaulC

    I lived through the 40's and 50's where medical care was pay up front and no assistance. You got sick and had no money you died. You were unemployed and hungry and had no family to help you starved. Community and church help was sketchy at best. Those were unpleasant time.
    I certainly don't want the country to go back to those days and I believe in helping those who cannot help themselves and not the lazy. We must be able to distinguish between the two.

    September 18, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. peridot2

    That's MY President. He's right, none of us is an island. We all help each other.

    Those people receiving benefits worked and paid taxes to qualify for them. How is it people like Romney never refer to this fact? No one wants to be disabled. Let Romney become disabled and see how he likes it.

    September 18, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  14. air2air2

    You wish it was just Romney dissing the 47 percent, but he's not alone by a long shot. Every word of his is right, and today you have a destroyed economy and trillions in debt to prove it. Trillions that went to buy votes from you parasites that expect the rest of us to wipe your elite little butts. And you'll vote for the same again and again until, like Europe, the gravy train runs out.

    September 18, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  15. Marie Dowdle

    Why should Romney apologize for the truth, it's not like the American people don't know what's happening. Obama told letterman he has worked for the people who did not vote for him. He has worked to divide America more than any other President in history ever has. The American people are smarter than Obama gives us credit for, we see the damage his Presidency has done to America, we see his failed policies, his derisiveness, the mountain of debt left to our children and grandchildren and we say "IT'S TIME FOR A CHANGE".

    September 18, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  16. David

    Obama 2012 – representing fairness

    September 18, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  17. mb

    I pay as tax, and Medicare tax, and I bust my butt to make a good living for my family. Sometimes I even work 60 or 70 hrs a week. And if Romney dorsnt think that I'm owed my as and Medicare when I retire, he can take his phony fake wanna be president self back to the whole he crawled out of. He's a joke and needs to just go back to Massachusetts and keep his mouth shut. All middle class and poor Americans will suffer very bad if Romney gets elected. He's already stated he doesn't care about us. Hes only going to fight for the rich.

    September 18, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  18. Mickey

    Romney's statements just happen to be true. He merely said the folks on the government dole for whatever reason won't vote for him. That's true they won't. Obama has no ideas on how to put those people back to work. He didn't say he was writing them off as people.

    September 18, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  19. ku4twz

    How about Obama speak out about jobs, gas prices, debt, ? Oh that's right, he has Clinton doing that because his record was better than Obamas.

    September 18, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  20. m123

    blah blah
    lies distortions obfuscations
    blah blah blah
    what a horrible president

    September 18, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  21. mb

    Romney is wanting to become more dependent of the govt himself. He wants the extra income he would get by being pres, and he wants the retirement income he would get after we would vote him out after 1 term.

    September 18, 2012 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. Gurgyl

    I like this guy–not because he is democrat, but because he is calculated, shrewd, takes steps accordingly.

    September 18, 2012 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  23. donny

    i dont vote cause i dont no how is why. but im for obama.

    September 18, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  24. Ancient Texan

    "One thing I've learned as president is you represent the entire country" is a totaly asinine and false statement! Obama has his group of followers and his special interest groups and the rest of the nation is the ENEMY and can ride in the back.

    September 18, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  25. Marie MD

    We haven't watched it yet but President Obama does care about everyone NOT just the elite 1% who elegantly put the 99% down.

    September 18, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
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