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. Incredulus

    This is all spin. MR pays a lower percentage of his declared income in federal taxes than many who do not pay income taxes. (Notice that this is not a percentage of his total income, only his declared income.) The Democrats will try to spin it in a different way.

    Lying with numbers to the numerically illiterate is like taking candy from a baby, too tempting for those without morals or ethics.

    September 18, 2012 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. TheTraveler

    I could care less. America had her century in the 20th and we will decline much as other super power nations have over the centuries. The Spanish, the Dutch, the British all had their glory years. The 21st will belong to the Chinese (if they don't implode internally) and the rest of the world will continue as it always has. The end of the world won't be just American, or Libya, or Syria, or any single nation. When it comes, it will be the entire world. Faction will always rail against another faction, politicians will always seek power and the rest of us will just be along for the ride. No government of Man is perfect. That is yet to come.

    September 18, 2012 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Fair is Fair

    Malory Archer

    "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!"
    Sorry, Malory... while I agree with you on this point (and I too would GLADLY take what we and our employers paid in and opt out of SS), our elected officials, in their INFINITE wisdom, set up SS as a pay-as-you-go system, meaning that you're not "investing" bupkiss... you're paying for existing retirees, with a "promise" that tomorrow's will pay for you. Guess they just didn't think that people would live as long as they do now, or that folks wouldn't have as many children today as they did back in the 30's. Look at the bright side – those that got into the game early did quite well for themselves. I forget.... what's the term that's used to describe a program like that?

    September 18, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Borderless

    This is only interesting to a news outlet that hopes to get a failed president reelected.

    September 18, 2012 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. myviewis

    Bottom line, when it is convenient Democrats accuse the poorest states to be Republican, Republicans are hillbillies, rednecks, uneducated, have the highest drop-outs, Republicans are hicks, anti-taxes

    When it is convenient Democrats accuse Republicans of being corporate, rich, elite, snubs, small business owners, self doers, elevator in the car.

    Democrats are true shysters.

    September 18, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. JDinHouston

    Does this guy ever know when to use his inside (his head) voice? Romney just said as president it isn't his problem to worry about low income, the poor, the elderly. Not sure, but I thought that WAS a priority for any president, regardless of party. So Romney wants to only take care of the rich, that's what he's telling me.

    September 18, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Fox Geek

    Finally someone has the guts to tell the truth, the ugly truth that we can't afford the programs offered when 46-47% of the working population pays no federal income taxes. Payroll taxes are for social security and medicare these are not federal income taxes you freaks. If you paid taxes you would know this.

    September 18, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Pizza

    Time to shake the etch-a-sketch again.

    September 18, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  9. rosaadriana

    Mitt is not stating the truth. 47% don't pay federal income tax because they either don't make enough money and after their legal tax credits do not owe taxes. That does not mean they are not working or dependent or irresponsible in some way. Unlike the other part of this group who pays no taxes because they make too much money and can aggressively shelter it. I find it offensive that Romney, who probably has not paid his legal share of taxes (ie IRS amnesty program perhaps?) is trash talking people who actually work for a living.

    September 18, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  10. Sniffit

    "Finally someone has the guts to tell the truth"

    Except it's demonstrably false.

    September 18, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  11. LegalizeReason


    Let;'s see those tax returns, bub, so we can all see what you must be hiding.

    September 18, 2012 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  12. Henry

    What do conservatives think about this? They are certainly not thinking "What will I do when Romney wins the election". They know there is no chance of that anymore. Howard Dean couldn't have destroyed his chances to win an election any more thoroughly.

    September 18, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Oracularman

    Mitt,If 47% is dependent on the government, Please explain what is trickle-down Republican economics and who is dependent on it?

    All Romney and Republican supporters that are voting for him are doing so because they are expecting loans from Federal Reserve to Banks to trickle down to the wealthy corporation CEO who in turn will trickle it down to the labor force to pay for their luxurious lifestyle i.e greedy and selfish lifestyle justified in a egomanical way. The only problem with the trickle down approach is if you are not hard working, have less education and have no graduate (masters) degree and know how to BS, you still have a good chance of getting the pixie dust that trickles down. How? All you have to make sure is you remain color conscious and thus, is born the caste system. Mitt needs to take his corporate style BS and go try to start another company in this economy, apply his corporate style bait and switch management approach and make it as successful as Bain. Then, he can try being the President of the USA.


    September 18, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    myviewis – wrote:

    Yet Democrats accuse Republicans of being the Rich, elite, snubs, small business owners, don't want to tax the rich, elevator in the car, not for the poor, haters of the poor people, haters of women, etc...
    Liberals do not think like that. Only conservatives think that of themselves. It is called conceit, arrogance. It's the type of mindset that Romney displayed on that hidden camera video. Conservatives want to construct a custom bubble around themselves, known as their own reality. If you are wealthy enough, you can make it a reality. Bear witness on Mitt Romney. Romney's bubble world is better known as an exclusion zone.

    September 18, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  15. garypsmith321

    GO MITT!!! Don't apoledgize to the worthless welfare trash. Americans take care of thier own, that means people that contribute to the pot, not the ill bread filth that think they have a right to everyone elses work hours.

    September 18, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. smithyommite

    The Romney Guy keeps fumbling every minutes of everyday, i wonder how many meltdown of blunders he would have if he eventually becomes the president, i can't imagine a potential president calling 45% of Americans "victims" and "dependant of the government". I don't know about you all but personally i just think he had single handedly lost this election. Yet he has no plan than his antagonistic method of winning votes, Trying to win people's vote by spreading lies and antagonictic Video ads, i guess he should just go on with his business because Politics is not for unscrupulous people like him.

    September 18, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  17. Jason

    C'mon vote'n Day !! Let's get this overwith so we can move on!

    September 18, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. Vincent Palazzo

    It is ironic that two of the people Mr. Romney targetted are my parents. They are both lifelong Republican. My father even ran for office on the Conservative line. Before my father passed away, their combined retirement income (pensions, social security) was approximately 50K/year – more than a lot of people described by the media as poor or lower middle class. After all the deductions they were entitled to they – like 46.4% of Americans – did not pay income tax. They worked their entire lives and never asked for a handout. Maybe Mr. Romney should understand who he is insulting BEFORE he decides to run for president. He certainly should understand what it is like to work paycheck to paycheck before he wipes out half the country.

    September 18, 2012 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. truth hurts

    WAKE UP! Not everyone makes enough money to pay federal taxes. Its always been this way. That's because, as the article mentioned, the 47 percent figure includes the elderly, the disabled, students, veterans, unemployed, on and on and on. Calling these people "freeloaders" is disgusting and innaccurate.

    What total BUNK!! So the claim of the lefitst Democrats is that the largest economy on the planet in the richest country on the planet has FOURTY SEVEN PERCENT that simply cannot afford to contribute one penny to the running of the country?!! ARE YOU SERIOUS?!!!

    September 18, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Romney is absolutely right but he is the only one to say it. What we need in America is to get these able folks to work and have jobs and to take care of themselves and their families. It has been proven that dependency on government goes from one generation to another. Yes, there are a certain amount of Americans who cannot take care of themselvest and are in need of help and depend on government and that is OK. What Romney is talking about is to educate, train and make jobs available to Americans who have become dependent on welfare. Nothing wrong with that. What the Democrats want is for these Americans to stay dependent on government and keep these poor souls uneducated, untrained and dependent just to get their vote instead of lifting them and their children up to achieve the American dream.

    September 18, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Sniffit

    ""Big screen TVs" in 2012 = "Brand new Cadillacs" in 1984.


    The previous occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania allowed for a change in television formatting that made it necessary to ......."

    The point, dear Mallory, was that it worked in the 80's for Reagan to create the racist meme of the "cadillac driving welfare queen" and the only difference from that disgusting nonsense that we're hearing today is in terms of the technology. The racist stereotypes and disgusting, resentful, inaccurate, unfactual themes underlying it all has not changed one single bit.

    September 18, 2012 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  22. SnehDavis

    Who in a right mind would try to equate Obama's "clinging to church and guns" to Romney's condescending remarks, caught on tape, about blacks, latinos, and other poor whites who fall in that "47%" whatever? It's like I step on your toe, and you get even by cutting off both of my ears! Look, if Romney wins, it would be the BIGGEST JOKE OF THE CENTURY, and it would be on AMERICA! O, by the way, get ready then, for a nation that is in a turmoil throughout that unfortunate term.

    September 18, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  23. Fact

    The nation wants President Obama because he is fighting for a level playing field and basic fairness, where people can get ahead and achieve success based on their merit and hard work. Reminder, The American Dream is that hard work will pay off.

    September 18, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  24. Rugsqe

    Sad part is he is suckling off the teat of the government for much more money that anyone in the 47% by using all the tax loopholes and shelters that he can. All perfectly legal and he isn't "relying" on the government to survive, but an entitlement none the less.

    September 18, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  25. a little sad

    "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney says in one clip. "There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."
    "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," he added.

    So, you’re claiming 47% of the country does not take personal responsibility?

    In 2010 (last time I crunched the numbers) a family of four – 2 parents 2 kids, had standard deductions and exemptions totaling $26K. Whether you made $15K or $150K, you still paid $0 in federal tax on that first $26K.

    That’s one parent staying at home with the kids and the other making $12.50/ hour. That’s not minimum wage. (Not a living wage in my area, but that’s another story.) That’s not irresponsible. That’s just not having a better paying job.

    Some retirees won’t be paying taxes because they live on a small income, and savings that has already been taxed. (Heck, some rich people, also.) Worked all their lives and paid into social security, and deserved it. Saved so they wouldn’t have to take a job as a greeter at Walmart. That’s not irresponsible.

    September 18, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
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