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. ItSoNlYmE

    Go ahead and stick to it Mitt. All the sane people are already in the lifeboat and your ship's sinking quickly. See ya!

    September 18, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. al in memphis


    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 |

    Do you have any idea how much government assistance the big corporation and banks have gotten from your tax dollars over the years? Do some research on how much debt burden states and local government have obligated tax payers while giving enormous breaks to lure business. So that $150 million that was borrowed end up costing the taxpayer $300 million in debt for a company that might close it doors a few years after its tax breaks expire. What about that truth?

    September 18, 2012 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  3. John The Electrician

    What if mitt quits? Who will run?

    September 18, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Sniffit

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

    I have no idea what that means but you gave me the giggles haha. Dogs on the on the children...what's next...handcuffs on the wife?

    September 18, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. Indy

    Little Gov said
    And as far as quoting something Obama said in 1998 being labeled desperate, he still believes in redistribution. Look at his policies

    Why don't you point out the redistributation policies that Obama has put through and I will make it real easy for you,don't bother listing any that Bush started or any that Paul Ryan voted for, this should keep you busy for 15 seconds

    September 18, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  6. headlessthompsongunner

    As Fred Armisen would suggest... Hey Mitt, put a bird on it. Every stupid thing is better with a bird on it.

    September 18, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. amac

    Fool us once, shame on you. Fool us twice, shame on US.

    September 18, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  8. Cynthia Logan

    Obama's aunt is the perfect example of the 47% and she was here illegally!!!!

    September 18, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  9. Shane

    Romney No Military Service.He dodged Vietnam with a religious deferment.Has five fully physically capable boys none of which has done even a single enlistment.I also understand people can contribute in other ways other than the military but these things stand out for someone running for president.

    September 18, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  10. Daryl

    Wow he now has no chance of winning. First he puts his foot in his mouth and then follows it up with putting his other foot in his mouth.

    September 18, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  11. Lemuel Hunte

    I don't know; is it me or does the Republican party spawn idiots? Any intelligent Republicans should hide under the rocks until Romny's comments die down if they do.

    September 18, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  12. babooph

    Does the greedy coward know the US govt military is the only reason he & his ilk hold their fortune??They get MOST of the benefit from the military-no enemy wants to take over US sick,aged & poor... the world trade center was not a nursing home or hospital-his delusions run VERY d eep!!

    September 18, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. don in albuquerque

    I am one of the 47% and have worked very hard since I was 14 years old. I am now in my 60's. Looking forward to retirement in the future and yes Mitt-Witt, after having paid into Govt plans for a life time I DO EXPECT something back. It is not free stuff as you would have us believe. You disgust me on many levels. After you go down in a big ball of flame in Nov., you might want to join your money in some foreign country and take your snobby little family with you. Where did you come from? Uranus?

    September 18, 2012 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  14. Pebkac

    I am the 53%

    September 18, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Rationalintn

    Mitt Romney criticizes 47% of Americans who owe no federal income taxes, yet he is too much of a COWARD to release his own tax returns.

    September 18, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. Debbie

    Hmmm If this is about the course of American then I am worried because to follow Romney would be not the United States but only 1/2. To follow Romney would be to take orders from Bibi. To follow Romney would be to build, buy, hire, and invest in foreign countries economies vs America. To follow Romney's course we will be at war. To follow Romney would be like following GWBush.

    September 18, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. Big Jilm

    Redistribution policies? I don't remember Obama coming and taking things nor do I remember him giving me things, either.

    Hey GOP lemmings, Bizarro much?

    Romney just doubled-down on insulting the elderly, war vets, and the disabled. He also insulted all the hard-working people who happened to have voted for Obama (not that he cares about offending them).

    Trolling Obama Voters does not equal Foreign Policy, Economic Experience, or Presidential Material.

    Game Over, Ratt Money.

    September 18, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  18. DumbasRocks [R]s

    I luv it when a guy steps in a bunch of crap and then, instead of saying 'too bad' and trying to clean his shoe, he actually doubles-down on his misfortune and kneels down to take a big bite from the fetid mess. God luv the stupidity of [R]s and the foresight of our forefathers who gave them the right to advertise it to all of us.

    September 18, 2012 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  19. TheTraveler

    Dear Mitt,
    Your "message" sucks.

    The Traveler

    P.S. I won't be voting for you either.

    September 18, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  20. richard

    Romney's response is just SO unbelievable and not credable. Now I am clear this man cannot be President. He has distain for the working people. He revealed this and now it appears he is lying and feebly trying to cover it up but doing a very poor job of it.

    September 18, 2012 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  21. wolfpackbob

    It is The Economy, Mr. President. Your Economy, Mr. President.

    September 18, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  22. RF Burns

    He speaketh the truth and the oposition just can't handle it.

    September 18, 2012 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  23. dscon

    Obama comes out of hiding for 20 minutes to pummel a conservative

    for speaking truthfully,

    but hide your self for everthing else (ecomony/unemployment etc).

    what a true american...........obviously you just luve the daylights

    out of my country

    oh great divider.

    September 18, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  24. JohnH

    As per the facts close to half of 44% are senior citizen and even small portion of this this 47% are actually rich and are paying no taxes thanks to exemptions'.

    September 18, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. Oh boy

    Game over and these losers don't even realize it.

    September 18, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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