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. james fahey

    mitt romney wo.....tnt release his tax statements......what else will he conceal from the american have got to be kidding me

    September 18, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  2. Chris

    Isn't it ironic that he talks about the 47% who doesn't pay taxes ... Isn't Romney one of those 47%?

    And if we are talking about not re-distributing wealth, how about have all those crooked bankers give back the wealth they stole from the rest of us americans.

    September 18, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  3. The day

    Well, he didn't lie for once. The first time he told the truth.

    September 18, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  4. Daveincincy

    ...I watched it and??? His words may have been chosen poorly but the point is spot on.
    Far too many free loading deadbeats bringing down this country. This country is for creating opportunity not handing out birth control. Get a life...L$sers.

    September 18, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Humpty Romney:

    Humpty Romney went to the stump.
    Humpty Romney took a big Dump.
    All the Koch Money and All The Fox Lies
    Couldn't get Humptys poll numbers to Rise.

    September 18, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  6. ralph

    Why is everyone upset? did he lie? The pres supporters are nothing but gov dependents.....Obama is trying to buy votes the more people who are on welfare more votes he will receive..

    September 18, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  7. DogHaus

    I recently learned that at least 6 regulars on FOX are also employed by Romney's campaign as advisors or managers. These six Fox News commentators/reporters actually give a "fair and balanced" report of Mitt Romney's campaign every day. I acknowledge that the general media leans to the left but the words "Conflict of Interest" doesn't even begin to describe how wrong FOX News is. No wonder regular viewers of FOX News are so misinformed.

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

    Romney needs to watch his children starve and die with no health care – oh, that's right, he's rich so he doesn't have to.

    September 18, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  9. Michael

    β€œI am for doing good to the poor, but...I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is not making them easy in poverty, but leading or driving them out of it. I observed...that the more public provisions were made for the poor, the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer. And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did for themselves, and became richer.” Benjamin Franklin. Smarter man than either candidate.

    September 18, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  10. mike the electrician

    MITT is toast, someone please pass the butter and jelly..HAHA. He is so desperate that MR. I will say anything ROBME will toss fate to the wind. Sorry MITTENS we are on to your game.

    September 18, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Maybe that's why he doesn't want to release his taxes; he was part of the 47% πŸ™‚

    September 18, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  12. justobvious

    It's hard being the anti-christ

    September 18, 2012 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  13. Scotchguard

    Among those 47% are people who suffered severe injuries serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan, older people who worked hard and paid into social security and Medicare for decades and decades, and people who could never work because they were born with severe disabilities. But Romney "doesn't care about them." Well, at least we know the truth about this guy. Those of us who are NOT in the 47% need to make sure he and people like him NEVER get into office.

    September 18, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  14. Bob

    I'm Voting for Obama... I am tired of working for a living.

    September 18, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. geggyg

    Of course Pres OBama beleives in some redistribution of wealth to give everyone a shot as he said , and so do most politicians , thats how govt works , you pool money (taxes) to pay for eduction , some healthcare .police and the justice system , the military,water supplies and many othet facets of life . Do repubs only want eduction for people who can pay the entire cost , should people only be safe if they can pay for private security (who pays for detaining criminals or do you just shoot them without a trial) do they to pay a toll on everyroad they drive on as private would own all roads , in other words they would have anarchy instead of some civilisation.

    September 18, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. Eric

    Nice to know that Romney is not at all interested in seniors, because nearly all of them are in the 47%.

    September 18, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. Mordac

    Your transition to the Dark Side is complete, Lord Mittens.

    September 18, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. VirginiaMike

    Are you part of the 47%? Or the 99%? Or the 1%? Or the 50.1%? Maybe someday we'll fondly remember 2012 as the year of the arbitrary, dichotomous fraction.

    September 18, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  19. cyg

    Hey Romney – Your a Child Left Behind aren't you? You haven't filed a legit return in what part of the 47% are you? Traitorous dirtbag is where I file you...

    September 18, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  20. Craig RB

    Romney should step aside and hand the reins to Huntsman. This could save what's left of the Republican party.

    September 18, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  21. The Unsub

    Truthfully there is nothing wrong with a little socialism!

    September 18, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  22. antibarry

    But his statement is true. Is it because the leftist media deems it "shocking" that Mr.Romney would dare say such a thing or is it the 47% that depend on Obama's regime that are upset? "Things that make you go hmmmm?"

    September 18, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  23. penny wright

    81% of Americans pay federal taxes including payroll taxes for Medicare and Social Security and income taxes.

    And the vast majority of them pay taxes at a HIGHER RATE than Romney does.

    September 18, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. kmac

    I dont understand the hoopla over this. Lots of candidates have use those figures in the primaries. The thing that bother me is that will many don't pay income tax they do pay many other Federal Taxes such as the tax on gasoline, on tires and other federal excise taxes. Business collects lots of taxes and claim they pay them. Buy any item that has sales tax and the customer pays the tax, business collects it and government gets it and respends it and we start again.

    September 18, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  25. TheNewMath

    So let's review, shall we? Romney's talking to the 1% about the 47% and making the point that he needs at least 51% to win. Okay. I seem to remember being really bad at fractions when I was in third grade because I couldn't understand how we would ever use them in real life. And my teacher, Mrs. Parrin, insisted that ONE DAY we'd need to know this stuff. Belatedly, let me say that you were absolutely right, Mrs. Parrin...and I'm sorry for every spitball I ever threw behind your back. If revenge is a dish best served cold, you must have hired Mitt to be my waiter.

    September 18, 2012 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
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