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."

Also see:

– Eastwood: If they were 'dumb enough to ask me…'

– In new tape, Romney casts doubt on peace in Israel

– 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. The great white hype

    Mitt is damn straight. 47% of Americans don't pay squat. Send them to Iraq and Iran and fight on behalf of Israel. They don't deserve health care and schools. Get a loan from your parents darn it!

    September 18, 2012 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain: If you liked GW Bush's economic, military and foreign policies, vote for Mittens

    Mittens is part of the 47% because he hasn't worked in 13 years and pays no income tax (he pays capital gains on his carried interest income). So I guess he's the king mooch!

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    September 18, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  3. Bob

    The problem with the GOP is that it thinks with enough money you can buy an election. Unfortunately for them, it also means you can buy a nomination to your party and now they're stuck with least electable guy with the biggest bank account.

    September 18, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. Bob

    47%...let's see...that's 147,766,590 possible voters (now and in the future) that Mitt has potentially alienated. Now that is true leadership...! The Boca comments are, in fact, one of the few things he has said that he truly believes in. Thanks Romney for showing us your true colors...just in the nick of time.

    September 18, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. ThinkAgain: If you liked GW Bush's economic, military and foreign policies, vote for Mittens

    If Mittens believes in America so much, then why does he hide his money overseas?

    September 18, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  6. pmmarion

    " make sure that everybody's got a shot," Obama is heard saying. How remarkable... Isn't that the real American dream, to make sure that everybody gets a shot at prosperity?

    September 18, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  7. The AF Chief

    Say what you want about Mitt. If Obama looses this country will be completely ruined. He's had a good start for the past 4 years.

    September 18, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. DrIncognitus

    Romney insults the Palestinians, not just when he's in Israel, but now also he's recorded doing it a second time. Well, perhaps he can argue they are not allies, so no big deal. But he also insults the British, perhaps the strongest ally of the US, when he's a guest in their country. Now he tops it off by insulting almost half the American population.

    He thinks the right response to Iran is to go to war, and that attempting to defuse a volatile situation caused by an obnoxious video is "apologizing" for it.

    Being President requires at least some level of diplomacy, and Romney obviously has little or none of that. He shouldn't be the president of the local Council, late alone the US.

    September 18, 2012 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. Michael M

    Yes Romney, we understand Obama is a complete idiot who has 0 idea what he is doing. But You have Negative 100 on that one buddy. So just stop. Please.

    September 18, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  10. Sandra

    My mother and step father are on Social Security, and a Navy Pension. They are in that 47% and don't pay income tax. They have always taken responsibility for themselves. For Mr Romney to make such a maggoty comment that they don't is not only repugnant, but a bald faced like. Romney doesn't mention that those people don't pay income tax because they don't make enough, but they still pay payroll tax, SS, state tax, sales tax.
    According to Romney, The Iraq War veteran who lost both legs and is going to the VA for treatment thinks he/she is a unworthy non-tax payer. A gov't 'moocher'.
    So is the retiree who paid into Social Security for 47 years and is now receiving a Social Security, the student who has to take out a loan to pay tuition because their parents can't afford to give their children a free ride, the military Veteran who retired after 20 years service, the child whose father was killed in an industrial accident and is receiving Social Security (Hey Mr Ryan, that means YOU growing up!), the worker who survived the industrial accident and is receiving disability payments.

    Yes, I know Romney didn't say these exact words, but all these people rely on that monthly or bi-monthly government check. Taxes, Mitt? You really want to go there? Show your tax returns. Because if you're going to try to say 47% don't pay income taxes, I want proof that you have paid income tax.

    September 18, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  11. AK_steve

    The fact that this guy sticks by every inane comment he makes is proof alone that he should not be in a position of leadership. To double down on insidious remarks and false statements shows he has no regard for the truth and is unable to admit to any accountability for his actions.

    We don't need another George W who never admits when he is wrong and shows no remorse. The GOP is run by a bunch of outdated old school morons. The world has changed. Time to evolve GOP.

    September 18, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. barbarianofgor

    I'd rather a world where you don't starve to death if you hit rock bottom, so you aren't afraid to quit that job where you are treated badly and start your own business... That is SO well worth paying a tiny percentage more in taxes than they do to day...

    Frankly, all Romney cares about you "Swing" voters is getting your vote. Nothing else. He'll say whatever appeals. But don't think you'll get more than his speeches, his dry, dull pandering speeches.

    September 18, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. Hey

    America is not a for profit business,I'm not a number on romneys spreadsheet! How greedy and selfless these people are.And they wonder why people go off the deep end.

    September 18, 2012 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. Capt. Spaulding

    Maybe thats' why Romdog won't release more tax returns, for some of those years, he was a 47 percenter!

    September 18, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  15. Bob

    Of course Mitt (like most conservatives) fail to realize that people who pay no income tax pay more tax proportionately than the rich trust-fund babies like Mitt. They pay more of their salary in federal and state and social security and sales tax. His myth about regulations keeping the wealthy (like Paris Hilton) from "creating jobs" is also a myth. Taking care of people like Paris Hilton isn't a growth industry. In this country all the major job growth has come from either low or middle income wage earners or industries (like railroad, microprocessor, the Internet) that the government has seeded because no company could afford to make such risky, long-term investments. Solyndra wasn't a scam, it was just an anemic investment. Its tech was actually the best. They went bankrupt because China invested 100X as much in solar cells (or worse technology) that brought the price of their lower-tech solar cells so fast that Solyndra couldn't ramp up for economies of scale to kick in. Had the government committed more money (like they did in the early days of the microprocessor wars), the U.S. could have owned the global solar cell economy (like we do with microprocessors). Instead the GOP was thinking too short term and missed out on the next big growth industry. And for the"47%" that Romney sneers at- Steve Jobs was one of those when he created Apple. I'd rather have more Steve Jobs with government backing than Paris Hiltons.

    September 18, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  16. Tom

    Grade school name calling is all you clowns seem to have...simply pathetic.

    September 18, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  17. Adventure49

    I just read an article on Fox News about this. Anybody notice that Fox News has no place for the comments of "you people."

    September 18, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  18. marc

    I say we also give Obama a majority of Dem's in the Senate and Congress too. So long Republican party, it imploded.

    September 18, 2012 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. Jason

    Why is it when Romney makes a gaffe, there are 13 stories on CNN criticizing him, but when Obama makes a gaffe there are either no stories to bring attention to it or there are 13 stories explaining why his gaffe wasn't actually a gaffe?

    September 18, 2012 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  20. don in albuquerque

    I believe Mitt is not being shown the proper respect due a man of his stature. That would involve turning your back to him, bending over, and pulling down your pants. Show him yours, afterall, he has shown the whole world his.

    September 18, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Steve K.

    I was on the fence....Romney just jump kicked me to the other side!

    September 18, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  22. mat

    Truth hurts dont it? Never back down Mitt. Fair is fair and they need to freakin pay. I dont make jack but I dont blame my neighbors or covet what is theirs. Stand behind this. Maybe Obama can run on his NASA Muslim out reach.

    September 18, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    I like what he says. I've been thinking this all along.

    September 18, 2012 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. philojazz

    Maybe Mr Romney will make a "pledge" (seems that Republicans are big on those) to NOT ACCEPT ANY VOTES from any members of "the 47%". Well, Mr Romney, put up or shut up. On second thought, keep talking, as it's good for the Democrats.

    September 18, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  25. dd

    I like what he said & I happen to agree with him. It's the truth!

    September 18, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
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