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. Jan

    Romney says that after government helps people, "then we get people to build their own lives, creates their enterprises, we believe in free people and free enterprise." If by enterprise he means business, I wonder if it occurs to him how many people are NOT in business and do not choose their life's work by the amount of money it brings in. Teachers, police and fire fighters, medical workers, social workers and therapists, ministers...these are just a few of the types of workers who have no desire to "create enterprises." Not everyone wants to start a business.

    September 18, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Lemuel Hunte

    The less Romney opens his mouth the better the Republicans fare. In addition, I believe Romney's wife is a better speaker than he is; I'd rather hear her speak than good ole Mitt.

    I can't wait for the debates! Maybe the republicans can put a microphone on Mitt's back like they did with George Bush!

    September 18, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. peter

    I was a JFK Democrat until the Democrats clearly lied on brought in Anita Hill on Clearance Thomas confirmation hearing (I am NO Clearance Thomas fan, and NO Republic fan, but if someone come out lying through their teeth, I can't take it).

    Anyway, the Democrats are doing the same with the Voter ID debate! I am a naturalized citizen. I love America and it took me 8 years and a lot of effort to become a U.S. citizen. 'Voting' is the BEST OF AMERICA, the BEST demonstration of DEMOCRACY. Yet, the Democrat is saying that we should not check whether one is a citizen to vote? The most crucial criteria is that you have to a CITIZEN to vote (not a Green Card holder). And Democrats are saying we can't verify one is a citizen. Logically flaw and intellectually insulting to all Americans and our founding fathers, and the French revolution! This is why I can't vote Democrats.

    September 18, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  4. Bea

    ...his disdain is very hurtful. Politicians can insult each other but not the American people.

    September 18, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. Brian Eno

    Right on Mitt! This country is going to hell and these losers who will vote for anyone with a guarantee for their effortless lives are the 47%. In any case you’ve got my vote.

    September 18, 2012 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. Brittany

    Of course these comments sound bad if you take them out of context. Most of the people contributing this "news" story are idiots. HE WAS TALKING ABOUT GETTING THE VOTE. HE WAS TALKING STRATEGY. You don't think Obama says the same thing about die-hard Republicans that won't vote for him? I bet he "doesn't worry about them" either. This is the stupid piece of journalism I've come across.

    The Left is really trying bring down Romney right before elections. Gimmicks like this make them look desperate. Guess what, Left, the higher gas prices/QE3/record number of government-dependent families speaks for itself. Lets get some REAL change and kick Obama out of here.

    America is hardly recognizable anymore. Four more years of this Obama crap will destroy the remnants of the America that I used to know and love.

    September 18, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. jw

    Robme is almost toast! now it's time to go after the american destroying. grover norquist signing SOBs my job is make sures this president fails in his first term. show these middle class destroyers the door!

    September 18, 2012 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  8. Anita Oswald

    I heard him called the Tinman of Politics today. If the shoe fits. Mr. Romney needs The Wizard.

    September 18, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  9. Jim Martin

    This is what racism looks like for so many of the upper-crust in 2012. Romney seems to be a naive bigot, but a bigot nonetheless.

    September 18, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  10. Davy Jay

    Who is part of the 47%? Let's see here:

    -Family of 6-10 dependents.
    -Paying 10% to a "charity".
    -Expecting all their paid taxes back during tax season.

    What do we have here? Mormons!!

    Good Job Mitt!! You've just attacked your own cult members!! Yay!!

    September 18, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  11. Big Jilm

    Doubling-down on implying my grandmother, grandfather, mother, step father, and several other older folks in my community are all just a bunch of mooches and will surely vote Obama will really go over with the public, Ratt Money.

    I am among a great many who are well-employed, tax-paying, upright citizens who are planning to vote for Obama. I guess you just made a lot of independents decide to not vote for you.

    September 18, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  12. Elvis

    Liberal Philosophy: Romney paid $3million in taxes in 2010 (yes you can see his tax return.) 47% of U.S. citizens paid NO federal taxes. This means that ONE man, Romney, paid more in taxes than 155 MILLION other people.

    Yet Liberals and Obama say he has not paid his fair share or that he is a tax cheat?

    September 18, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  13. rob

    I hope he continues to stick to his guns and tell the truth. He confused the two stats; 47% who don't pay net federal income taxes and the roughly 47% who will support the President no matter what. However the choice is very clear, a future of a diminishing America where the best one can hope for is a Govt job or a Govt handout or not being able to move not just from poverty to the middleclass but to huge success as an entrepenure creating wealth and more jobs for others who want what you have. We need an America where the Govt enables free markets to unleash economic growth and prosperity that will benifit everyone.

    The choice is easy....

    Romney/Ryan 2012.

    September 18, 2012 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. wassupUSA

    This just in, CNN runs 11 concurrent articles relating to Romney's "47%" quote, while ignoring Obama's foreign policy failures.

    In related news, the media creams it's pants when Michelle Obama speaks.

    September 18, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  15. Michael

    As someone who voted for Obama in 2008 but who is truly an independent, I had an open mind coming into this campaign. However, everytime that I listen to the bias of CNN just like in a conversation with David Gergen, John King, and Gloria et al. in the past 10 minutes on air without any conserative representation, I am leaning more and more toward Romney. The media and especially CNN tries to make a mountain out of mole hill every week with something about Romney. It is now so obvious that they incredibly biase, and just as a reaction against such bias I am going to vote for Romney. Even Fox looks moderate compared to these CNN commentators who look more and more like propagandists. Even John KIng is now no longer neutral. You need to bring Ari Fleischer on just to make sure that you have some semblance of diversity of thought. It is BORING when everyone thinks exactly the same thing.

    September 18, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  16. Michael

    Imagine how irate Romney supporters would be if Obama made offensive blanket statements about half the nation as Romney did... but so fervent is their hatred for Obama that, with barely bothering to think it through, they chime in that he's RIGHT. Because Mittens can do no wrong, even though he wasn't even vice president material in 2008 and even though the Republicans only RELUCTANTLY chose him to represent them. lol.

    September 18, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  17. Hasai

    *shrug* IMO, Romney simply re-stated a fact of life endemic to any civilization that's been around long enough.

    The Romans far more eloquently termed it "Bread and Circuses."

    September 18, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Michael

    As someone who voted for Obama in 2008 but who is truly an independent, I had an open mind coming into this campaign. However, everytime that I listen to the bias of CNN just like in a conversation with David Gergen, John King, and Gloria et al. in the past 10 minutes on air without any conservative representation, I am leaning more and more toward Romney. The media and especially CNN tries to make a mountain out of mole hill every week with something about Romney. It is now so obvious that they are incredibly biased, and just as a reaction against such bias I am going to vote for Romney. Even Fox looks moderate compared to these CNN commentators who look more and more like propagandists. Even John KIng is now no longer neutral. You need to bring Ari Fleischer on just to make sure that you have some semblance of diversity of thought. It is BORING when everyone thinks exactly the same thing.

    September 18, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. gahh

    It was the government that allowed our jobs to be sent overseas, by the millions. Since unemployment is primarily the governments fault and since there is plenty of money to take care of illegals, and since people are still expected to pay taxes, let the government stepup and take responsibility for what they've done.

    September 18, 2012 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Mike

    Republican Party is a criminal conspiracy to betray the interests of the American people in favor of plutocratic and corporate interests, and extremist religious groups

    September 18, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  21. Yes, Mitt Romney Believes In Redistribution

    Mitt didn't have a problem with America forgiving Bain & Company's $10,000,000 loan for 30 cents on the dollar. Not a problem with redistributing that wealth at all.

    Mitt didn't have a problem taking 1.5 billion dollars in taxpayers money for the Salt Lake City Olympics that he takes the credit for "saving." Not a problem for Mitt with redistributing that wealth at all.

    A guy who pays only 13% in federal income taxes when the majority of the middle class pays more than he does just might be the beneficiary of some of that redistribution of wealth he says that he is against.

    Clue in, people.

    September 18, 2012 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. TomGI

    "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."

    So redistributing our tax money out of essential services and into the war profiteer's pockets is bad or good?

    September 18, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. DarthWoo

    Turns out that the bulk of Romney's "47%" live in solidly red states. Might this be what it takes to turn a few more red states blue?

    September 18, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. Jockhouse Johnny

    The republicans are really in a bad bad place arent hey?

    September 18, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. paul

    Mitt knows that "those" kind of people will never vote for him. Problem is, Mitt, "those" people make up about 75% of the country. You are popular with the 1% but you need us "common folk" to win this election.

    September 18, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
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