Romney sticks by his '47%' remarks, hits back
September 18th, 2012
05:08 PM ET
9 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."

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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:

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– 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. Marie MD

    mcmahon and brown are distancing themselves from the twit. You know you are in trouble when one day they want you and between last week and what he said about the 47% he is becoming yesterday's trash.
    I love days like this for the twit and plate face.
    There's more clip regarding Iran and Israel. He wants to kick the ball down the field. What the heck does this mean?
    And he is lumpint all Palestinians together. Maybe he thinks these folks are also part of the 47%. He didn't even want to continue talking about it until after the election. I truly hope he is in La JOlla on November 7th

    September 18, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Well, of course he is hankering down on his comments. What Romney fails to understand is that nearly half of the 47% he is so disdainful of include those within his own party ... most of whom Reagan and Bush I & II sought so hard to get on their side during their campaigns.

    At any rate, Mitt Romney can pretend from now until November that he cares about America ... his words and his actions prove otherwise.

    Buh bye, Grand Old Party.

    September 18, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  3. rs

    You know a smart man might say "wow, I've really ticked off a whole lot of people, perhaps I need to walk this one back"- and let's face it, he is really good at that. Perhaps something like: "I was talking to a particular audience", or "in retrospect those words make it sound like I am a divider, and I really want to work for all Americans". Nope, grab the shovel and keep on diggin'.

    To the GOP: It is starting to look like the guy who discovers on his job interview day that he really doesn't want the job, so he poisons the interview with an off-color joke, or a slur, or just combativeness. Do you really want to lose this election THAT badly?

    September 18, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. n

    Shake em up Romney . . . Shake, shake, shake em up! What we have here is a self fulfilling prophecy, Etch-A-Sketch Romney, time to wipe the board clean and start again. lol!

    September 18, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. The REAL Truth...

    YAWN.... open mouth remove foot, continue puking.

    September 18, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "We've seen the president's policies play out over the last four years.""

    NO we haven't. 90% of it was all blocked by the GOP/Teatrolls via filibusters and hostage taking and the other 10% was hampered by their congressional tantrum. Mittens' accusation doesn't even pass the smell test. He has been sniffed and found wanting.

    September 18, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. anoel2005

    Obamabots are constantly told there's a "war on women" , a "war on Seniors" , a war on Gays, a war on Latinos, etc............and then the Obamabots get outraged when Romney says that "the 47%, the Obama voters.....they feel like victims."

    September 18, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  8. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney can't flip flop again, he's already committed more than 3 strikes, he should atleast wait until November 6, when we strike him OUT.

    September 18, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "in 1998 "

    15 years ago. DESPERATE.

    September 18, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. nash

    Your in a panic Mr. Romney, you will try and grab at anything that will deflect your ineptness. You and your friends at Fox can try and spin your words, but we now know 100 perrcent you are a fraud. An example of your 47 percent, my father was in the Navy for 4 years, you ran to France, my father was a Chicago policeman for 15 years, he protected people, he didn't fire them or let them lose thier insurance, he paid into ssi and medicare for many years, he didn't have the gov. bail him out to the tune of millions, my father went on disability with aide from his great country, he didn't like it but he had to until his retirement kicked in, my father was a very proud citizen of the USA, my father was not a fraud, you sir need to go away............

    September 18, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. CryBabies

    So what was said here that all you readers do not agree with? Other than a republican said it and the dems are looking for ammo to keep firing at Romney. What he said is true...either accept it or change it! I will vote to change it.

    September 18, 2012 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. Marty, FL

    Romney doubles-down on lies again. His broad brush contempt for Americans is not honest, not presidential material.

    September 18, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Hey Mitt Romney! I pay income taxes and I take responsibility for my life...

    And I voted for Obama in 2008.

    Get bent.

    September 18, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. Woman In California

    Will you PLEASE QUIT WASTING MY TIME Willard?

    Thank you.

    September 18, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. once upon a horse

    "I'm sticking by WHAT I said WHATEVER it was I said"...about the only thing truthful Mitt has said in his campaign.

    September 18, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. the situation

    Thus the beginning of the end of Mitt the Twit. See Ya!

    September 18, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. Al-NY,NY

    rs

    You know a smart man might say "wow, I've really ticked off a whole lot of people, perhaps I need to walk this one back"- and let's face it, he is really good at that. Perhaps something like: "I was talking to a particular audience", or "in retrospect those words make it sound like I am a divider, and I really want to work for all Americans". Nope, grab the shovel and keep on diggin'.

    To the GOP: It is starting to look like the guy who discovers on his job interview day that he really doesn't want the job, so he poisons the interview with an off-color joke, or a slur, or just combativeness. Do you really want to lose this election THAT badly?
    =========================

    they despise Obama so badly......yes they do want to lose that badly. The party will go in either of two directions. 1 (the most likely): blood tests for all members. Sworn oaths of obedience. Ranks like Hauptmann/Oberst/GrupperFeuhrer/etc will be set up/chips emplanted. "The party will not sway away from it's destiny of Nordic.....sorry I mean Anglo forefathers. The fatherland will last for 1000 years." 2. reason will prevail and moderate people that don't think compromise is a 4 letter word will reappear

    September 18, 2012 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. LittleGov

    What Romney said is true. You can like it or not, but you can't change the truth of it. If you love big government, vote for Obama. If you work for what you have and want to keep more of it, vote for Romney. Pretty simple.
    And as far as quoting something Obama said in 1998 being labeled desperate, he still believes in redistribution. Look at his policies!

    September 18, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  19. MrManhattan

    Hopefully when this is over Willard will move to Switzerland or the Cayman Islands to live with his money. Or maybe China to supervise all those jobs he "created"!

    September 18, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. stevegee

    The truth hurts. Romney told it like it is: The people who support Obama want government support (aka Socialism). People who stand with Romney and Ryan want to stand on their own, like the Founders intended. On November 6, vote for freedom and liberty. Vote Romney and Ryan.

    September 18, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    So he had to reach all the way back to 1998 because he couldn't use the Joe-The-Plumber nonsense as it's tainted by last election and he couldn't find anything more recent? Someone needs his diapey wipey changed....

    September 18, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Lauri

    What he said insulted my father a 90 year old on social security who does not pay taxes but makes do and does not take any handouts...a WWII veteran.
    What he said insulted my PTSD disabled nephew after serving 3 tours in Iraq.
    Actually 40% of the 47% are seniors...so what makes what he said right. So sad.

    September 18, 2012 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  23. cleareye1

    Romney has no choice but to try and defend the remarks anyway he can. His campaign is in disarray and the polls show he is failing to make gains anywhere. His effort is doomed and its tough to swallow but he can at least say he helped Ryan gain some recognition as a future player, unlike the Palin choice.

    September 18, 2012 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. ddblah

    Yes. Please keep saying it.

    September 18, 2012 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  25. John

    There you go, another republican who puts food on his children.

    September 18, 2012 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
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