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. Carol

    I have worked all my life. I am 62 years old and the Government has never given me, my parents or my siblings anything. Not Food stamps, a home or a free stamp to mail my bills. It is sad and unbeleivable that Mitt would think that "those people who support President Obama" are basically people who are looking for a hand out or freebie..It is even more sad that there are people out there of actually belive this fool!

    September 18, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  2. Wayne

    I am a 52 yr old white guy living in red state Louisiana, wife and I both work entire lives earn over 100k per year, guess i'm part of that 47% because I would never vote for any Republican on any level local, state or federal for the rest of my life. Have voted Republican in the past but that changed after Bush (W), think I will side with working people over coporations from here on out! Not going to cut off my nose to spite my face just because the president is black.

    September 18, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. Annirich

    Romney's remarks are absolutely valid. 47% of the people do NOT pay taxes and the Dems have kept them as "Victims" so as to keep them on the Dem Plantation. The same with the Blacks. All throughout the years the Dems have 'victimized' that group too to keep them on the Dem Plantation. Look, if you people want socialism and you don't mind working 40+ hours a week to 'keep' and "pay" for all the "victims" the Socialist Democrats have created then by all means, vote Obo. He will continue to destroy the country and our United States will die but then that's up to you. Simplistic vote: Socialism verses America. Take your pick.

    September 18, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. let the eat cake

    I work hard. I pay taxes. I don't get a dime from the government. I voted for Obama, and i'll do it again. If romney didn't add people like me to his 47% he will lose by 59% come election day.

    September 18, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Scott

    So I pay income tax, state and city taxes, and payroll taxes. I receive no gov't assistance. I am voting for Obama and would never elect Romney. Am I still a victim?

    September 18, 2012 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. The Real Tom Paine


    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.
    Blanket indictments of entire segments of the population are rarely true. BTW, if there were jobs for people to " get weaned", I'm sure people would go to them. Romney made a lot of money by sending the kind of jobs where it was possible to raise a family in a middle-class standard of living overseas, and he did so with a smile while he pocketed the difference. Romney has sold his soul to run for a job he is demosntrably unqualified for: he has nothing to offer the people of this country in terms of a vision or experience. You need to stop sucking of the FOX teat and start thinking for yourself, but I hear the withdrawl symptoms are painful.

    September 18, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. FactCheck

    Romney did not mean the disabled or those who can not work for other reasons but realy want to.

    The fact that you think this is true says volumes about you naivete and foolhardiness. Mitt Romney doesn't give a poop about you.

    September 18, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    And there you have it: the righties screaming that all we want to do is steal from the rich. Get over it, we don't need them, we need a chance and we will take it. You just don't want to give anyone a chance, that's your problem.

    September 18, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  9. FactCheck

    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.

    Oh you mean the millionaire tax dodgers like Mitt and his band of followers. Okay, got it.

    September 18, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. Joe SKinner

    he pays a lower percentage of his income in taxes than i do, do i get to lecture him as a freeloader?

    September 18, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  11. Monicafaye12

    All this from a man that won't show us his tax returns and was born with a silver spoon. Just keep digging yourself in a bigger ditch Mitt. You will need your car elevator to get yourself out of it at some point. My advice-start talking about issues and stop putting down half of America and the president. This presidential race is becoming disgraceful. The only people that seem to have had any dignity are Michelle Obama and President Clinton. Can I please vote for either of them?

    September 18, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  12. lou

    All the rich conservatives agree with him. Surprise, surprise.

    September 18, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  13. Bob

    Romney is 100% right in his statements. He should not back away from them and play into the shame game the liberals love to play. What disgusts me is that CNN has 7 headlines on this and had almost NO COVERAGE of Obama's "You didn't build that" remarks.

    September 18, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. truth hurts

    WOW!! My name really rings true today with this story!! I'm glad this is being widely publicized as it appears there are a lot of uninformed voters/taxpayers out there that are unaware of the extent of the Democrat welfare state.

    Why do people think we have huge deficits? What do you expect when a huge percentage pay ZILCH while the Democrats scream about "fairness" from those that are already footing most of the bills of this country?


    (and no more of this liberal Democrat BS spin of people paying sales and payroll taxes! Everybody already pays those. We are talking about federal income taxes used to pay fo rthe running of this country every day)

    September 18, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. common sense

    LOL, Romney is 2012's Bob Dole....bye bye

    September 18, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  16. Vince

    I agree with Erick Erickson. I would LOVE Mitt to push this issue...and take it to the red states, which is where a majority of the non-tax paying public live...please continue with this Mitt....PLEASE!

    September 18, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. cc423

    Mitt made these comments at Mark Leder's house. Who is he? A rich Wall Street type. And the New York Post had this to say about his annual parties:
    "At the Bridgehampton home that Leder rented for a whopping $500,000 a month, guests cavorted nude in a pool and performed sex acts, while scantily clad Russian women danced on platforms. Dancers at the party also twirled flaming torches to booming beats."

    September 18, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  18. Sniffit

    So, to recap the 47%:

    28.3% working poor who pay their payroll taxes
    10.3% elderly/retired who live partly off the Medicare and SS that THEY EARNED from a lifetime of work
    6.9% actually poor, with incomes less than $20K per year, including the disabled AND
    1% that includes Mittens himself, who pay no income taxes for whatever reason

    Any questions?

    September 18, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Malory Archer

    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)...


    Wow, that's quite the stretch. Do you write speeches for rightwing candidates?


    and now their retirement


    I don't know about you but between my husband and me and our employers on our behalf over the last 34 years, we have over $250k invested in SS. If your ilk doesn't want to pay monthly benefits, just give us back the $$$ that we and our employers have paid into the system for all of our working lives and we'll go away quietly – and be much better off in the long run!

    September 18, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. PeterD

    Mitt is Right on the Money. All the Obama's supporters are on welfare.

    September 18, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. Tim W.

    Why when the truth is spoken it becomes somehow evil or racist or even hateful. The truth of the matter I pay taxes! I am tired of paying for everybody else's babies, food, housing, transportation, healthcare, dental, and even illegal drugs. If for some reason you fall into this 47% legitimately I'll pay for your needs all day long. But so many of the 47% are blood suckers that made poor choices all they'll life and think I should pay they're way. I have on thing to say GET A JOB!

    September 18, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. Pat


    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.
    Ann get off your high horse, for the grace of GOD there goes me:

    First you only take a few words (you didn't build that ) out of a complete point, which was talking about public roads. But reading is so teadious. Then you fail to see that that 47% are diabled veterans who were maimed protecting you. The elderly who paid into their social security and worked hard all their lives. Then there are the physically and mentally disabled, who do deserve food, shelter and health care. Even if Romney doesn't believe they deserve it. Let us not forget the rich who also use tax loop holes to avoid taxation.

    September 18, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |

    Hey Ann, what part of our socialist government are you most against, social security, welfare, the VA, food stamps, Medicare, Medicaid? These programs have been in place since the great depression and for good reason, research the great depression and take a look at what people did during that time, they pulled together, which is what society does when things are bad. I guess being a socialist society is bad for America because it involves helping one another and not the "I got mine you get yours" mentality of the conservative right...

    September 18, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Sniffit


    What is giving you trouble understanding the statistics and the reality/facts of the situation that show Mittens was making grossly hyperbolic and unfair generalizations and misrepresentations? Seriously...let me know and I'll try to hel you understand...or is it simply that you don't want to understand and live in a fog of anger, resentment and comfortable misunderstandings of the world around you? One would think that if your misunderstanding of the facts leads you to such an angry, uncomfortable, miserable place, you'd be glad for someone trying to help show you that you're wrong.

    September 18, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  25. Carol Wilkins

    It's funny how the 47% dosen't pay taxes. I really do not want to address this conversation again until Romney releases his tax forms so I know that he isn't part of that 47% he speaks about.

    September 18, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
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