Romney sticks by his '47%' remarks, hits back
September 18th, 2012
05:08 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney sticks by his '47%' remarks, hits back

(CNN) – Mitt Romney said in an interview Tuesday that remarks he made at a fund-raiser in May casting supporters of President Barack Obama as dependent on government were an honest reflection of his campaign's message.

"This is a message I'm carrying day and day out and will carry over the coming months," Romney said on Fox News. "This is a decision about the course of America, where we're going to head. We've seen the president's policies play out over the last four years."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

On Monday, secretly recorded clips of Romney speaking at a campaign fund-raiser were released on the website of the left-leaning magazine Mother Jones, including a clip of Romney characterizing supporters of Obama as dependent on government support systems.

"There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney says in one clip. Adding to his argument about entitlement, Romney said his "job is not to worry about those people."

In the interview Tuesday, Romney said he was making a political analysis in the remarks, not a broader assessment of Americans who rely on government-funded programs.

"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."

He went on to cite an opposition-research video, released on the conservative Drudge Report website Tuesday, that shows Obama endorsing "redistribution" in 1998.

"The president's view is one of larger government," Romney said. "There's a tape that came out today where the president's saying he likes redistribution. I disagree. I think a society based upon a government centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role, redistributes money, that's the wrong course for America, that will not build a stronger America, or help people out of poverty."

Republicans began circulating the clip of Obama on Tuesday afternoon as the full 50 minute video of Romney's fund-raiser was set to release on Mother Jones' website. In the Obama video, the future president is heard speaking at Loyola University in 1998 about making government more effective.

"I think the trick is how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody's got a shot," Obama is heard saying.

Ben LaBolt, a spokesman for the Obama campaign, responded in a statement which cited figures from the 2008 campaign, "The Romney campaign is so desperate to change the subject that they've gone back to the failed playbook co-authored by Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber.

"Fourteen years ago, then-Senator Obama was making an argument for a more efficient, more effective government – specifically citing city government agencies that he didn't think were working effectively," LaBolt continued. "He believed then, and believes now, that there are steps we can take to promote opportunity and ensure that all Americans have a fair shot if they work hard. Unlike Governor Romney, he doesn't believe that if you're a student who applies for a loan you're looking for a handout."

In his interview Tuesday, Romney framed Obama's remarks as an endorsement of redistributing private wealth, rather than on making sure government agencies were well supported.

"I believe the right course for America is one where government steps in to help those that are in need, we're a compassionate people, but then we get people to build their own lives, creates their enterprises, we believe in free people and free enterprise, not redistribution," Romney said. "The right course for America is to create growth, create wealth, not redistribute wealth."

Also see:

– Eastwood: If they were 'dumb enough to ask me…'

– In new tape, Romney casts doubt on peace in Israel

– Obama camp wastes no time highlighting Romney tapes

– Hatch might 'die before his term' ends, opponent charges

– Biden on Romney tape: 'words speak for themselves'

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. BadgerFan21

    Well, Bye-Bye independent voters!!

    September 18, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. benny sudakov

    I think this guys is absolutely right, as far as I am concerned you pay no taxes you do not contribute to the prosperity of the country but have a free ride on the taxes other people pay to make the country going. The number of such people is roughly 47%. The talk about working class and redistribution of wealth remind me qute the slogan I heard when I leaved in Soviet Union, economy there did not do well to say it mildly.

    September 18, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  3. Nowayjose2833

    How about that, a tax-dodging mooch who pays a lower tax rate than I do whining about people who don't pay taxes! You gotta love Republicans.

    September 18, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  4. Leftcoastrocky

    Romney considers that 47% of the population are lazy good-for-nothings (that is, black and brown people) who are sponging off the hard-working 53% of Americans who work for a living. He likely does not regard a white engineer working for a defense contractor as "dependent on government," although that is true. Romney is confusing people who pay no federal income tax (for example, elderly, white Republicans who live only on Social Security) with black welfare mothers.

    September 18, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  5. penstruck1

    A presidential candidate who states upfront 'it’s not my job to worry about 'those' people'. Wow. I am one of the 47%. I have been gainfully and successfully employed for more than 41 years as an accountant. Then the 2009 economic event occurred. I was "downsized". And, since I have been working for so long, corporate America doesn't want me, because I am "too old, too expensive, and maybe too smart".
    The Obama administration helped me by intervening on my behalf with my bank. I was TWO payments behind, but making payments on my mortgage each month, and the bank was threatening me. In my frustration, I wrote to the White House. Obama didn't make my house payments for me, but his administration did intervene so that the bank will now let me make the payments over time.
    I did benefit from extended unemployment. And I now am working in my own business, probably too small for Mitt to care about.

    September 18, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  6. ronb

    "You people just don't get it". "You common people don't know how things work".

    September 18, 2012 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  7. peter

    Bottom Line: Mitt Romney will do a better job than Obama. We all know that.

    September 18, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. demrules

    If Willard is as spiritual as he profess to be and those so-called Evangelicals around him, then they would know that his unwillingness to apologize is called "pride"! Therefore Proverbs 16:18 & 19 clearly states:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before the fall. 19 Better it is to be of an humble spirit with the lowly, than to divide the spoil with the proud.

    September 18, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. Charlee

    You have to admit there are a LOT of people in this country that see themselves as victims in one way or another and it's tearing our country apart.

    September 18, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. Squigman

    Fools always press their point, even after the arguments have been settled. A leader, knows when right is right, and wrong is wrong. There are no leaders here.

    September 18, 2012 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  11. burnz

    Is Romney high 24 hours a day?

    September 18, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  12. Ron Bennett

    Ha. Those poor 47 percent of the people who don't pay their taxes won't vote for Mitt, according to Harry Reid, Mitt Romeo was one of those 47 percent as little as 3,4,5,6,7,8,9 years ago. So in other words if the election was held three years ago Mitt wouldn't even vote for himself...

    September 18, 2012 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  13. sativa619

    Stick a fork in Mittens... he's done.

    September 18, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  14. Joyce

    I am part of that 47% that voted for President Obama. I plan on voting for him again. I have a job and pay taxes.

    September 18, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Pete

    Romney do you think vets that are categorized in your 47% statement will appreciate it after fighting for this country,something none of your kin has ever done but run!!How bout retired seniors,disabled,infirmed in nursing homes,the poor,unemployed are all these your give aways that vote to Pres.Obama because he'll take them and more..He is the peoples president,not a corporate lap dog that does tricks at millionairs retreats for donations..This president wants to turn around a once crippled economy something this business man liked to prey on with Bain.So don't you so called sanctumonious republicans preach anything of ethics,morals, or political awareness because republicans you have none!!

    September 18, 2012 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. normajean @ verizon ,com

    How can one pay income tax if they have no income....??? how does this make them a free-loader????

    September 18, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  17. luke,az

    The Republican ship is on fire. Captain Thurston Howell Robme IV has ordered all the life boats lowered into the water. The Republican Party is about to explode. Is Captain Robme going to go down with the ship or not? Stay tuned until next weeks episode of GOP's Island.

    September 18, 2012 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. Luke

    AMEN, Mr. Romney!! It's about time we had this debate! When HALF of the country is relying on government assistance, people will still vote for Obama?? THIS IS OBAMA'S FAULT!! He eliminated the work requirements for welfare, oppresses businesses with regulations and taxes so that NOBODY has a job, and then wonders why so many people are on food stamps?? If you care about America and Americans, you will vote ROMNEY 2012!!

    September 18, 2012 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  19. Mack J.

    Hey Mitt, Rush Limpdick was highly offended that he was not invited to the "secret" dinner back in May!! What's the matter, wasn't he rich enough?

    September 18, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  20. Larry L

    I served in the US Army for 34 years while Romney, the draft-dodger played with his daddy's money. I'm in the 47% he won't "worry about". I won't worry about this slime-ball when i cast my vote for President Obama!

    September 18, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  21. GOP is Dead!

    Offshore bank accounts, no tax returns, "Lyin-Ryan", no specifics on his platform, big promises, and now his open distain for the working people. Why would anybody but a flaming bigot vote for this spoiled brat? Independents are smarter than the under-educated, racist base that has become the modern Republican Party.

    September 18, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  22. I think he is right

    I think he is right

    September 19, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12