What's the fallout? Conservatives split after Romney comments leaked
September 18th, 2012
11:05 AM ET
9 years ago

What's the fallout? Conservatives split after Romney comments leaked

(CNN) – Videos captured surreptitiously at a Mitt Romney fund-raiser became the latest campaign trail bombshell when they were leaked to a left-leaning magazine on Monday evening.

The tapes show Romney arguing nearly half of Americans will vote for President Barack Obama because they rely on government support, made apparent jokes about wishing he had Latino heritage, and talks about a Chinese factory his former firm considered purchasing.

Another clip released Tuesday shows the GOP presidential candidate questioning the prospect of ever reaching peace between Israelis and Palestinians, calling a path to a solution in the region "almost unthinkable to accomplish."

Below is a smattering of reaction from conservatives around the web:

Rush Limbaugh:

"This could be the opportunity for Romney and for that campaign to finally take the gloves off and take the fear off and just start explaining conservatism. Start explaining liberty to people and what it means, and explain that they don't have to be in that 47%. There's no reason for them, for everybody, to essentially have given up on their future in this country. There's no reason for it. This is, to me, such an opportunity to espouse conservatism and to explain to people. Now that people are focused on this, now that people are paying attention to it, this is a golden opportunity, and we know Romney's got it in him because of what he said to these people."

RedState.com editor and CNN contributor Erick Erickson:

[tweet https://twitter.com/EWErickson/status/247847415464488961%5D

Weekly Standard editor William Kristol:

"It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!). But that shouldn't blind us to the fact that Romney's comments, like those of Obama four years ago, are stupid and arrogant.

Indeed: Has there been a presidential race in modern times featuring two candidates who have done so little over their lifetimes for our country, and who have so little substance to say about the future of our country?"

Breitbart.com's John Nolte:

So, just as the media did last week with Romney's perfectly valid criticism of Obama and the Cairo Embassy apology, it looks as though we're in for another week-long stink of media-manufactured outrage.

But over what, exactly?

Over a conservative talking like a conservative and laying out facts.

When I saw these videos, my first thought was, "Gee, I wish Romney would talk this way on the campaign trail."

Romney campaign adviser Bay Buchanan:

"Certainly this is a bump in the road. But is anybody looking at the campaign of Barack Obama? He has spent the last week with America watching as his foreign policy of appeasement and apologies has disintegrated. We have problems around this world in all the Muslim countries, where anti-American sentiment is unbelievable. And that's a good week?"

Donald Trump on NBC's "Today":

"He has to not apologize; I think we've seen enough apologizing already. He cannot apologize. What he said is probably what he means, and he did say 'inartfully stated.' The fact is he cannot apologize; he is going for those independents. He won't get the votes of a lot of people he's discussing, and if you're not going to get the votes, let's go on with it."

Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell on Fox News:

"So he would say it probably differently today, but it is a significant problem when you have this level of people that don't pay a significant amount of taxes because they can't earn a good living. So job creation, economic development through these plans, I think, are exactly the right formula for the country."

New York Times columnist David Brooks:

This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn't know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?
It suggests that Romney doesn't know much about the culture of America. Yes, the entitlement state has expanded, but America remains one of the hardest-working nations on earth. Americans work longer hours than just about anyone else. Americans believe in work more than almost any other people. Ninety-two percent say that hard work is the key to success, according to a 2009 Pew Research Survey.

Tea Party Patriots:

“This election poses a choice for voters: do you want a country dependent on government programs and handouts, or do you want a country with an economy that produces good jobs and returns America to a higher standard of living?"

“In 2011, 49 percent of Americans lived in a household where at least one member of the family received a government benefit. Since 2009, Tea Party Patriots across the nation have said: Enough! Enough of big government supporting failed companies. Enough of big government health care schemes that rob American families of the freedom to choose the best care for them. Enough of big government that divides this great nation into factions that fight for their own government handouts."

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
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Amnesia 101

    So my ex-aunt living in this Red State who sits in her government paid apartment, living on food stamps, government health insurance, sits on Facebook all day (alllll dayyyyy) bashing President Obama is part of which group???? She still manages to pay for the internet somehow. She could be buying some of her own food. Right? Romney ... You have her vote.

    September 18, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  2. Rick

    Republicans want Obama to clean up bush MESS in four years , LOL, what a laugh, LOL

    September 18, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  3. solidrock

    Mitt speaks the truth and everybody is in a tizzy, I am middle class and tired of having to pay for all the folks who could work, should work but do not want to work because the government supports them. Romney did not mean the disabled or those who can not work for other reasons but realy want to. Let's face it the only reason Democrats survive in the political arena is they buy vote by buying people throug every government program they can find. To a democrat every program is a good program becuase it ensures votes. Obuma is such a fool, he sells his soul for a vote and talk about swaying in the wings, one minute a man of faith the next demanding people violate their faith in order to gain more votes. Thanks Mr. Romney for finally telling the truth. To the rest of you that suck at the teat of the government cow get weaned and learn to care for yourself.

    September 18, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  4. Mike

    By trying to satisfy the Tea Party wing Romney is costing himself the election. If he stayed more to the middle he could win easily but the extreme right will cost him the election.
    If the wealthy pay less in taxes does that not mean that they are living off of the middle and lower classes who pay more? And how does giving the wealthy tax breaks benefit the economy? Most who are wealthy are not business owners so they do not hire people. Tax breaks for businesses is good. Tax breaks for teh wealthy is greed. And you conservatives that preach being Christians, you know how greed is viewed by Him.

    September 18, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Michael

    Is it just me, or did Romney actually throw Ann under the bus along with 47% of Americans...( "don't want people to get tired of Ann."

    September 18, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  6. Tim

    Romney and republicans have accused Obama of class warfare. Who is really waging the war?

    September 18, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  7. Matt

    He stated that 47% of us pay no federal income taxes. Fine, close enough.

    What he also said is that those are the people that will vote for Obama, no matter what. And that it's not his job to worry about those people.

    And that's where he's way, way off base. A significant portion (I'd really like to know how many) of that 47% are Romney supporters, big time. Will they change their minds? Not all, but I expect some will.

    September 18, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  8. rs


    He is correct and you all know it. Obama is leading you into a socialist society run by big corporate government – you didn't build that, remember? This is not Romney's fallout, this is America's fallout.

    Men like Mr. Romney, and the GOP sold America- they sent our corporations and jobs to "cheaper" countries- the American Dream and the middle class went with them. Now they mock those of us who aren't like them- the princely rich who feel they should be immune from the taxes we pay. Wake up. These people do not have your best interests at heart!

    September 18, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  9. Critical Thinking

    I think he should have talked more openly about the democratic strategy. Democrates have been trying to replace government as peoples family. Back in the day, if you had some struggle, needed some help you went to your family. Democrates understand this and have been demonizing the conventional family for decades in an effort to fill the role of family to an increasing larger and more dependent group of people. Democrates dont want everyone to be independent, they want approx 52% of the american population to be dependent on the government and have the 48% provide the revenue source to keep them dependent. Thereby thay can run an us against them campaign and tell the majority of people that Republicans are going to take away their cheese. We are approaching this tipping point and this President is more than willing to push this country over. It's just so sad that grown adults, with a reasonable level of common sense just can't see past the lie.

    September 18, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  10. hermit

    I hope the conservatives keep this issue alive. I hope every republican campaigns in support of Mitt's statement. That way we the people can find out about how grossly out of touch all conservatives are!!!

    September 18, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  11. Core republican Values

    The wheels are coming off this campaign right now. Very embarrassing for everybody.

    September 18, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  12. Malory Archer

    mittens didn't just state that 47% of Americans don't pay taxes – he ACCUSED THE 47% OF AMERICANS WHO WILL VOTE FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA OF BEING ON THE DOLE. What a difference semantics makes. What about that true statement is so offensive that the comment disappears while awaiting moderation? CNN is sooooooooo in the tank for mittens that they're going to help him try to spin this. Sorry mittens and CNN, I know I'm not the only American who DVR'ed his hateful comments for the record.

    September 18, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. the_dude

    You know Mitt is right.

    September 18, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Sniffit

    Here's your 47%:

    28.3% are "working poor" who pay their payroll taxes. Perhaps they have a few deductions like their mortgage interest and child credits that help reduce their income tax liability, but nothing reduces what they pay for Medicare and SS, etc.

    September 18, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. fox

    Timmeh, You obviously dont understand the debate.

    September 18, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  16. John

    Mitt Romney has No Business running this Country, All Mitt Romney and the Republican cares about Is Big Business and the RICH. Open your eyes haven't they Prove It all Ready, The want to take anything they can from the Middle Class,the Poor and the Old. But Till willing to spend Trillion of Dollars to give tax cut to the Rich. That the First thing I heard from Mitt Romney that wasn't a LIE ,but I sure bet he try to Flip- Flop his way out of this.

    September 18, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  17. Sniffit

    6.9% are non-elderly people with income less than $20K per year, which includes the working poor who work for places like Walmart, which pays them absolute minimum wage and no benefits and often jsut gives part time jobs to avoid the benefits. Meanwhile, the Waltons, who own Walmart, have a net wealth of almost $90B, equivalent to the net wealth of approximately 41.5% of the entire population of the United States.

    September 18, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  18. Sniffit

    1% (+/-) fall into the OTHER category. Remember those Waltons who pay their employees crap and have a net wealth equivalent to the net wealth of 41.5% of the country? Guess whether they avoid paying any income tax by using foreign financial institutions and complex investment games to create tax shelters for themselves. Go ahead, guess. NOW GUESS WHETHER MITTENS IS PART OF THIS VERY SAME 1%.

    September 18, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  19. ricardo1968

    Never believe that it is the poor who are dependent on government. The main purpose of government is to protect private property, and when it falls it's the rich who have the most to lose. Many rich people, including Mitt Romney, take this for granted as if property rights are somehow inherent and universally recognized. Without government, it simply doesn't matter 'who built what' or who earned what. What they miserably fail to understand is, the growing income gap is a threat to the rich, not the poor!

    September 18, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  20. klur

    Wait- the Bush tax cuts increased the number of people who don't pay federal income taxes significantly, then the Republicans complain that those same people aren't paying taxes ???

    September 18, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. SFRich

    Romney rants about those who don't pay taxes, painting them with great disdain as the American's he doesn't care about. Meanwhile, he ducks every tax shelter he can, hiding his money offshore, and refuses to disclose his tax returns.

    WAKE UP people! This man is an empty suit.

    September 18, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. yelworc1

    This is embarrassing, this is the best the party could come up with? the guy was born into money- now re- read the comments. This country can not afford another completely out of touch rich guy in charge. This isn't the land of kings and queens, your out of touch rich guy, go away. We left England because of kings and queens, you lose dude. 4 years and Mitt is the best we could come up with? Fail

    September 18, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. Fair is Fair

    "Conversely, a family of 4 living on a low enough joint income that their deductions reduce their income tax to zero is still paying FICA for their Medicare and SS, etc. "
    And there you have it. The "wealthy" should be paying for everyone else's food, clothing, housing, booze, smokes, XBOX, large screen TV (with cable of course)... and now their retirement. Cradle to grave mentality.

    September 18, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. myviewis

    Romney is referring to the lazy bumbs who have learned to manipulate the system and live off the system. Romney is referring to the shisters, the ones that scam our system, abuse the system taking away monies from the poor women with children, the disabled, the elderly, the sick.

    Romney is referring to all those that fool the system when they are healthy and can work and live the money for those who need it.

    September 18, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. ianmcgruder

    This Mitthead is realy something. What an insult to the whole country. To all Americans. 47% of the nation are victims? Looking for a hand out?
    And he wants to be our president?
    Funny how Trump un apologized for him. Two fools in a pod.

    September 18, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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