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. Raven

    The RNC has fixed the election, no matter what Mitt says, he'll win, and rich people will get richer, and the rest of us will get porer, and they'l make it a christian nation only, all else get out!

    September 18, 2012 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  2. obanbaka

    As a Disabled American at only 26... What am I supposed to do, except rely on help from the government on the country I live in? All of my family has paid into government systems all of their lives to insure I and those like me have a place to be financially safe when we can't work.

    It's sad to see a presidential candidate that despises so much of America.

    September 18, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. Kate

    The 47% that Mitt talks about are in the deep south and have voted GOP since about 1908. Will they now vote for Obama since they see the contempy Mitt holds them in? This man is a fool and very dangerous. He only cares about his friends in the 1%. I can't believe that many GOP/TEA Party people will vote against their own self interest instead of vote for Obama.

    September 18, 2012 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  4. tafugate

    it's called damage control. miff stuck his foot in his mouth, so the only thing to do now is spin.

    September 18, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Yep larry in houston the Democratics have done so much for the middle class they have given them a new group to support the poor. Yep thats what they have managed to do. Never has a president spent so much with so little return in a term and you want to give him more time.

    September 18, 2012 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. Pander Bear

    The Romney Doctrine – When you hit rock bottom, start digging.

    September 18, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. Steve

    How is any of this more shocking than Obama saying that people who are not like him are bitter and cling to their guns or religion? The fact is that both men were speaking to partisan groups and playing to their base.

    None of this is revealing anything that we didn't already know, and it doesn't change the fact that unemployment has been over 8% for years.

    September 18, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. Reggie from LA

    I listened to "the clip". And...? That's worth "redistributing" as an Obama minus? ARE YOU EFFIN' KIDDING ME!!. That, as an anti-Obama tool is absolutely pathetic. Listen dummies. The ultra rich in this country got that way on the backs of the poor and middle class. They want to say that it was their effort and drive. For the greater part yes, although much is legacy. We have people who have nothing and less than nothing and now we want to go ta' callin' Obama a Socialist again. God they are stupider than I could even imagine. That double down tactic ain't foolin' nobody. Yesterday (and tacitly today), his party wanted his head on a a stick and now, he was right all of a sudden? They do that every time he screws up. Don't be dufes and fall for that "Rovian" bamboozling, stupid.

    September 18, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  9. Dominic

    ....Wow if anyone votes republican this november their are either rich or stupid

    September 18, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  10. NanaLoJo

    So Romney. When you served as Bishop of your Ward for the Mormon church, did you dismiss 47% of the congregation as easily as you've dismissed so many of your brothers and sisters of this country? Really? You had my vote until you made that ONE little statement. Stick by it dude. I pray America sticks it to you. I'll stick with Obama. BTW. I'm a Mormon too.

    September 18, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. nicole

    The truth hurts!

    September 18, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. George

    I don't think I'm part of Romney's 47%, but I'm sure I'm part of the 99%. Do we have to split the difference and place me in the 73%? Kim Kardashian for President 2012.

    September 18, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  13. donny

    i think if he was in office the poor be left with nothing. some cant work to sick to be working or paying taxes .im for obama 100% he does help the poor and he tryes to help ever one. im glad he stands for the poor.. obama is for all americans not just a few rich ones. keep up the good work .. im for one in ky stands for u all the way

    September 18, 2012 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. Vince

    My father worked as a low paid sidewalk inspector and my mother was a phone operator. I worked constuction in summers, went to college and work 50 hours a week as an engineer. IMy brother gets Medicare, Medicaid and Social Secuirty. I am and was raised by that 47%. Romney can go to Hel!.

    September 18, 2012 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. Paul Brown

    The redistribution of wealth is the one proposed by the republicans...taking money away from the middle class to lower taxes even further during a time of economic challenges. This is real redistribution. Taking money from the middle class and giving it to the people that least need it right now. Let's be honest here. Anyone who wants to lower taxes for people earning 250K+ is not thinking in the interest of America but only thinking on personal gain and greed.

    September 18, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Sue

    Romney maybe the reason some of the 47% are victims is because the top 1% cheats on their taxes and doesn't have to pay taxes on their money that you and your friends ship to overseas banks...leaving the rest of us to pay higher taxes for you and your rich will never get the chance to turn the lights on in the White House.......

    September 18, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  17. Slightly Left of Center

    If you really want to see who thinks the tax payers should provide them with food, housing, healthcare, etc., you need look no further than the House and Senate. Politicians are the biggest welfare recipients and THEY DON'T WORK EITHER. I'm tired of supported their lazy, overfed, underworked butts.

    September 18, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    the only surprise to me is that people are surprised by this tape. This is who Mitt Romney is. Not a gaffe but rather a guy speaking off script and expressing exactly how he feels. His campaign attempt to portray him as just a regular guy who worked hard and achieved success, someone who is in touch with the roughly half of the country struggling economically.....was nothing but a house of cards from the start. If the deck is stacked with enough jokers maybe they can hold it together until Nov...the GOP is getting desparate – when they get desparate they turn ugly – and there is just no way to make ugly words elegant.

    September 18, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  19. Shawn Irwin

    There may be doubt about who Obama supports, but there is no doubt whatsoever about who Romney supports.

    September 18, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  20. Jenna

    Having someone like Romney as president would be a disaster. Every time he opens his mouth he manages to alienate and offend someone. We need a leader that can bring people together and work well with the rest of the world. Romney seems to make rash decisions like his ridiculous statement on the consulate attacks, that is not someone you want in a position of power. The republicans would have been far better off with Jon Huntsman as their nominee.

    September 18, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  21. Linton

    If Mr. Obama had let GM go bankrupt Mr Romney would'nt be running for President.
    He would be in china shipping cars to America

    September 18, 2012 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. Lori

    Mitt, what would happen to your wife and children if your wife with MS had to support herself and her children as a single mother with extraordinary health care costs without your millions? That's what happened to my daughter when her husband left her because she couldn't work anymore. She is one of your 47%. I am a republican who will never again even consider such a cold hearted person to run our country. Our veterans, our seniors, our disabled, our poor deserve better. I worked for a Fortune 500 and run a small business and know what is happening out here. Do you???

    September 18, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  23. Anderson

    Well what he said for most part is true, there are a lot of dem's dependent on some form of gov whether it's a job at dept of energy (which produces no energy btw) or welfare, or some other bureaucracy . The president is trying to demonize the rich and make people envy thus hate them which works on some of the kool-aide drinkers. There will always be the rich. A flat tax is all this country needs for everyone, no excuses just a tax. In 2003 I had no insurance and was covered by a grant because I proven I made nothing that year, no big need for healthcare either. Far left people like Obama are "statists" and wish to nationalize everything thinking their version of "government cheese and free lunches" will be better than what the private sector can produce.. lol yea what a failure. The people pushing green are just dense for the most part, and 99% vote dem when they push electric car's ask them.. "where does electricity come from?" and believe it or not half don't even know, I guess you can expect that from them. And I'm not religious person, nor do I care about abortion- but my personal opinion if someone makes a mistake, deal with it.. and put it up for adoption, and finally quit being a Harlot.

    September 18, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  24. Jo

    He wasn't despising the people, he just simply stated that about half of Americans rely on the government. That doesn't mean he thinks of the people as inferior, it just means that he thinks the system should change. There's nothing wrong with receiving assistance some times when needed. Eventually we want to stand independent, and that's how America can become strong. Show compassion for the poor, and help them to be self-sufficient, not reliant on the government constantly.

    September 18, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  25. Coflyboy

    Hey Mitt! Keep talking! Come Nov. 6 you will be pulling foot A out of mouth B.

    September 18, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
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