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."

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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."

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

    Mitt, have you forgot what office you are running for? This is America, you know, the nation of United States, with the Consitution that starts out explaining its purpose is "to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.

    September 18, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  2. V.

    The statement is stupid enough, to defend it is the real "hammer".

    September 18, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  3. Susie Sunshine

    I think Romulan is one of the folks who didn't pay taxes either until he got busted in Switzerland and took advantage of the immunity offer – that's why he wont RELEASE TAX RECORDS !! Two faced liar.

    September 18, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Jimmy

    Well said, Mitt. We can't afford another four years of debt and dependency.

    September 18, 2012 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. rickster

    I was so offended my Romney's remarks that I nearly dropped my food stamps on the corner as I was trading then in for crack.

    September 18, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  6. M

    blah ha ha ha! Keep digging that hole, Romney. Maybe you can reach China and find yourself some more cheap labor.

    September 18, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. FedUp2

    If the failed Obama economy is such dire peril, how is it that millions of people here are lining up to buy the latest overpriced luxury iPhone before it can even be delivered? Must be using their food stamps somehow.

    At least Mitt is being honest when he says this is how he really views half of America. Just leeches after his gold. Too bad he abused God to get out of paying any taxes for him and his buddies at Mormon Incorporated through exploited exemption.

    September 18, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  8. Nebriated

    If 47% of the people are going to vote for Obama no matter what, how exactly was Romney planning to win the election? Practically every other person in the country would have to vote for him just get to 50-50. Clearly, Mitt didn't think this through.

    September 18, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  9. Serious Truth

    He said what was true. Most people voting for Obama are doing it because they think he will take from others & give to them.

    It's like expecting Obama to do something to get my vote. I can't vote for someone who doesn't want to force people to take personal responsibility for their actions & situation. I worked in the fields and had a 7-11 graveyard shift to pay my way through college (no fancy private school either – 2 years at a community college and then to State). But our misguided President still thinks that people deserve things they did not sacrifice to get like a lot of us had to do to make money.

    September 18, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. BravoShocker

    What the media don't tell you is those comments made by Romney were made in front of super rich jewish donors (AIPAC).

    September 18, 2012 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. carlcid

    Romney once again confirmed what most Americans thought of him. That Romney is disconnected from everyday Americans and that he has nothing but contempt for them. Once again, it confirms that Romney is more at home in boardrooms and with the country club set, but is in no position to lead Americans from all walks of life.

    What is more pathetic, is that, by digging in on his intemperate and insensitive remarks, Romney only shows what a fool he is. After all, "The mistakes of the fool are known to the world, but not to himself".

    September 18, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Jay Needham

    Mitt is for or against what ever the crowed he is in front of, He doesnt stand for anything other than Mitt

    September 18, 2012 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Jake in Omaha

    Willard show us your tax returns. No tax returns no votes.

    September 18, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  14. John Galt

    It's about time... Well said Gov!

    September 18, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |

    The GOP/Tea Party House has and has had contiol over spending and taxes the last 12 years, blamd the Debt and Big government on them.

    September 18, 2012 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  16. Mike

    The trouble with running your own company is that you're always right. The trouble with being raised rich is that nobody dares to correct you. The trouble with Mitt Romney is both these factors combined to produce a man who talks without thinking and doesn't even listen to his own words, never mind those of "us people".

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

    This is EXACTLY why I'm voting for Romney. He is exactly right! Finally, someone has the courage to say what everyone is thinking.

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

    Fine, then you and Limbaugh and your traitors can jam it! Go ahead and stick by it! You'll be hated worse than Bin Laden and of course you'll never get elected President! I'm a working man who despises republican thugs TEN TIMES MORE than they could ever despise me! I need you for nothing! You can F' off! You should go start another country somewhere else, where you can charge each other $50,000 to eat and vomit hate on people like me who don't even make that much in a year! I despise the new smug GOP party, a perverted party of rich perverts and mean anti-American traitors.

    September 18, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  19. giggity

    why get offended, actually there is a lot of truth in his remark. I do hate to admit that though

    September 18, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  20. DogHaus

    Could Romney's ambition be driven by his religion?? The LDS (Mormon) church is known for it's ambition to dominate the world.

    The higher up you are in the Mormon "government" on earth the better your chances of receiving your own planet to govern with many wives when you die. (I'm not making this stuff up! Use Google folks!)

    Just the thoughts of a President wearing Mormon magic "garments" for underwear gives me the creeps. Are we about to elect a President that has these incredibly fantastic religious beliefs?? BTW, Mormons do not believe in Jesus the same way Christians do. Do some research using Google so you can vote with your eyes open.

    September 18, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  21. Hiram

    We saw how giving all to the 1% worked under Reagan. It DIDN'T. "Trickle down" economics was the very disaster that Obama is pulling us out of today. The Rich took their $$, and hoarded it away offshore, instead of letting it help THIS Country.

    Willard would be a worse disaster than Dubya ever was.

    September 18, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  22. Not smitten by Mittens

    He's doubling down on the bad hand he dealt himself. His comment at the fundraising event simply reinforce the "I'll say anything and pander shamelessly to win the Presidency" approach he has used since 2008. There simply isn't room for a moderate Republican in the dumbed down cave-man party he belongs to.

    September 18, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  23. simpleguy73

    Even Obama talked about "citizenship" at the DNC. Don't you think it's time for people to take "citizenship"? Guess what so does Romney.

    September 18, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  24. Leo

    Mitt Romney is dividing the country, this is the kind of behavior that shows how out of touch he is right now. The men is too reach to listen or represent the 47% he says he doesn't care about. November is just around the corner, this guy needs to be reminded that the majority of Americans needs the government to do its job. Of course a few of his rich friends don't need anything from anybody but Romney will need Americans' vote come November 6, 2012.

    September 18, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  25. Pete

    Mitt: They don't pay income tax, but they do pay every other federal tax, state and local taxes on food, fuel and property. It's about % of income that goes toward taxes. A poor person pays around 25% of income on taxes and Mitt pays 13%. He is trashing people who pay twice as much as him.

    September 18, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
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