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."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. mat

    b.cohen Mitt has paid more in 1 year than most in their entire lives. You didnt like it when O was asked for his BC beyond requirements of law so why demand the same of Mitt with taxes? He is a very generous man and keeps his good works hidden. Obama ha none. Called his GF a H N14425.

    September 18, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. Marie Dowdle

    He's only telling the truth, with Obama you get lies.

    September 18, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. Dave, CA

    Ignorance followed by complete, arrogant, stupidity. Is anyone really shocked by this?

    September 18, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  4. Rob

    Line for Obama – I don't know what Romney believes in any more, but we believe that a revitalized US economy needs the type of government policies which support and advance entrepreneurial FREE enterprise and free and FAIR market capitalism, not MORE of the CRONY-capitalism that got us into this mess in the first place.

    September 18, 2012 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. g

    a lot of people that pay little or no tax work at romney jobs–min.wage no benifits all the food stamps you can carry

    September 18, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  6. MIT

    Hey guys, romney just told it like it is, unfortunately. With the rate that poverty has grown under obama, it won't be 47% for long. What are we going to do when the majority of the country is on the dole. We need someone that can fix the ecomony and can keep the islamist radicals under control. I don't feel safe with obama as prez.

    September 18, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  7. GOp Hate you

    yes and I am sticking by my vote for Obama

    September 18, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  8. gritrman

    We are part of the percentage that he won't worry with......and hopefully we won't have to worry with him either.
    I'm not fond of the things that Obama and his administration have done........but I feel like we (anyone making less than
    200k per yr.) will be all but forgotten by the Replublican admin. if Romney is voted in.......

    September 18, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  9. Dejavu65

    If any middle class to poor American is supporting Romney after he showed how he really feels about Americans that are not in the 1%, this is the dumbbest country in the world, and when he cuts medicare for the elderly, cut student loans and grants, and raise the tax on the middle class while extending Bush tax cuts for the Rich you all deserved what you get...This man policies are blatantly disrespectful to the middle class, if you think things are bad now, they will be 5 times as worst if this man is elected!!....There is a reason he is not showing his tax returns he has avoided paying taxes with offshore accounts, but wants to give speeches about taxing the middle class more? Educate yourself really!!

    September 18, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. smallmouth6

    Stupid, but those who pay attention didn't have to hear it out of his mouth.

    September 18, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. GOp Hate you

    oh so that is what you mean by etch e sketch. Erase half of america

    September 18, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. scooby do

    Let me tell you a story about some of the people Mitt loathes.

    My Aunt Ann is 99 years old on Saturday. We're having a party in the nursing home for her. She's been retired for 34 years, after having worked her entire career as a secretary. She sent her brothers off to WW2, watched them return home safely, and helped her sisters bring up their chldren. When she was healthier, she was the biggest Republican I've ever known. She was kind and generous, never asking for a thing. Her monthly pension is $800. She's part of the 47%.

    John is my friends father. He fought in WW2 and received a bronze star and purple heart. He was the captain of a tank destroyer, and was lucky to survive the war. His tank was destroyed in battle, and he pulled two men out of the burning wreck. That got him the bronze star. He had piece of schrapnel go through one cheek and out the other. That got him the purple heart.He spent his working years as the head of a large farm operation. He is now 94. He gets $1200 a month pension. He's part of the 47%.

    Then there is my mother in law. She raised her family and took care of her husband through significant illness. She lost him while she was in her early 50's and scraped by as a clerk for a bus company. She was frugal as a person can be, but also very generous to her grandchildren. She is 77 years old, and gets $900 a month in social security. She's also part of the 47%.

    The time to guard against corruption and tyranny, is before they shall have gotten hold on us. Thomas Jefferson 1787

    September 18, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Mike

    A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.

    September 18, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. donna

    Keep up the good work, CNN!

    "Why should I care about the poor? They'll never vote for me. Let them eat cake."

    September 18, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. reality check

    I don't understand why dems obsess over money in swiss banks or any other bank. Look at your clothes label. Where was it difference.

    September 18, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  16. jt

    good for mitt about time someone told the truth

    September 18, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  17. Norman

    he just sealed his loss in November-thank God!

    September 18, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  18. Mitt let them eat cake Romney

    Thanks Mitt for putting the nail in the GOP coffin.

    September 18, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  19. John

    What a clown. Here's somebody who does not have to work one more day in his life, and he's talking about people who not only HAVE TO work, but DO work hard. And probably work a heck of a lot harder than he does, just to keep their head above water. What he said in so many words is screw half of the country; he's not going to try to help them. The funny thing is, that demographic that he just dismissed happens to overwhelmingly be the middle class, and poor, and is the very group that needs the focus of Washington to maintain America. The working class of this country is the only thing that is going to save it, because by the time these billionaires, and don't need to work millionaires finish driving the country into the ground, they will leave. And they will be the only ones can afford to do so. And left behind will be everyone who has been duped by their nonsense for the past few decades. Folks better wake up!

    September 18, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  20. DanW

    Misinterpreting the 47% statistic isn't a political analysis, it's a fabrication. I've heard his explanation and I still think he is undeservedly dissing a large segment of the population, even Republicans!

    September 18, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  21. 53%

    Truth hurts, huh? This country has become lazy and quite honestly my back hurts from carrying this 47%.

    September 18, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    The 47% of people who don't pay taxes and live on assistance are in the deep south and voted GOP since 1908. Will they vote for Obama since they see the contempt that Mitt holdes them in? He is dangerous and stupid.

    September 18, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  23. 1suburbanchic

    I'm not part of the 47%. I have struggled in the years past, yet, did everything possible to resist having to rely on government assistance. I was open to hear both parties until I watched the video. This angers me and I now I am firm on who will get my vote.

    September 18, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  24. Franky

    Yes, Mr. Romney regardless of it's factual accuracy I'll stick by it. We know Mittens we figured your mouth would have a way to shut this whole thing down but evidently we were wrong.

    September 18, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. 53%

    Truth hurts, huh? This country has become lazy and to be honest my back hurts from carrying the 47%.

    September 18, 2012 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12