Romney talks welfare, but not 47%
September 22nd, 2012
06:05 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney talks welfare, but not 47%

(CNN) - Mitt Romney worked a comeback from an issue which dominated political headlines this week, speaking in his Saturday weekly podcast on welfare and dependency.

"Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty," Romney said. "My five-point plan will deliver the economic recovery we've all been waiting for and the jobs that millions of Americans still need."

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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

On Monday, a left-leaning magazine released secretly recorded clips of Romney speaking at a private fundraiser in May. In them, Romney is heard saying there is a certain bloc of people "who will vote for the president no matter what."

"There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to - you name it," Romney is seen and heard saying. "That's an entitlement.... These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. And he'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich."

"My job is not to worry about those people," he continued. "I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful."

The release came as conservatives criticized Romney's campaign strategy as off-track.

But in his podcast on Saturday, Romney spoke about creating "a growing economy that fosters upward mobility," and hit Obama for leading "a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency."

He also criticized Obama's stance on welfare, a criticism he has leveled against the president on the campaign trail and in campaign advertisements.

"President Obama opposed the 1996 welfare reforms, and it is no surprise that his administration is trying to dilute them now," Romney said. "When it comes to strengthening the middle class and enabling upward mobility, President Obama's policies have failed."

His language in the radio address is toned down from an ad released last month which said welfare beneficiaries "wouldn't have to work and you wouldn't have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check."

A CNN fact check of the spot found the claim to be exaggerated.

In his address, Romney's emphasis was on his philosophy.

"As president, I will keep the work requirements in welfare and get our economy growing again, creating good jobs, higher take-home pay, and more opportunity for all Americans," he said.

Romney held meetings and fundraisers on Saturday but attended no public events. His running mate - Rep. Paul Ryan - campaigned in Florida.

Also see:

- Rubio tweets his airline woes

- Ryan 'very comfortable' as Romney's V.P. candidate

- Litigating Capitol Hill recess in weekly addresses

- Gingrich to Romney: Do to Obama what you did to me

- Biden: Romney tape, demeanor shows he 'does not understand' middle class

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. Saoirse72

    Topped your news. While other papers and forums were still focusing on the. BTW all analysts are saying now we have been in a recession since June. U6 is reporting over 14.7 % unemployment and the markets all took big hits this week. QE3 is open ended and it seems like the Fed has nothing else to throw at the economy. The bond market it predicted to collapse in 2016 and all you can talk about is Romney made some stupid comment. This is why sometimes I have a hard time following your articles CNN. I know you are pro Obama but come on. Talk about kicking a dead horse over and over.

    September 23, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  2. Independent

    Community organizer vs. Hedge Fund Manager...correct me if I'm wrong, but community organizers didn't cause this latest depression we're going through. I'll take Obama and yes, I did pay income taxes last year and no, I didn't accept any handouts. Call me crazy, but I don't think that Mitt Romney has earned my trust.

    September 23, 2012 01:59 am at 1:59 am |
  3. Aaron

    What's the plan Mitt? Once again he makes a blanket statement. He is going to miraculously lift everyone out of poverty, and we just have to trust him that the magic plan that he never reveals will work. He would say he was going to cure cancer in his first day in office while saying that Obama plan made it worse. The biggest story of this campaign should be the GOP's belief that the average American is so stupid that they can just dish out lies and promises and we will nod our heads and vote them in.

    September 23, 2012 02:47 am at 2:47 am |
  4. Marry

    Romney’s whole business model at Bain was to maximize profits for a few (robbing peoples pensions, taking advantage of government subsidies, outsourcing, bullying, and selling the profitable rest to the highest bidder) at the cost of society and the many, redistributing the little individual wealth of the many to the very rich 0.5 %! Typical GOP! He is and always will be a vulture capitalist.
    That’s fine (he thinks) but this is not a way to run a country. There is nowhere to put the “losses” and the “unprofitable” rest of the people besides onto the streets. He does not seem to have a problem with that! He should not try to tell us now that he feels different after we have heard from himself what his plan is for the many that he is not concerned about (47%, and he picked the wrong ones because many among them are Republicans – though nobody with a brain can understand why they would support his ideas!) and for the rich he will rig the system for even more (more tax breaks, no regulations, big government contracts, more profits through new wars, etc. etc.)! His is a simple and primitive but destructive plan for you and me!
    High time to end this R+R madness, GOP/TP obstructionist Congress, and filibuster Senate! Have your voter ID’s ready and vote for a fair and workable future – for all!!! President Obama and a Democratic ticket 2012!!

    September 23, 2012 03:28 am at 3:28 am |
  5. mccgeno

    Romney has a five point plan for economic recovery. Cool. That sounds easy.

    September 23, 2012 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  6. PAUL

    Whose Romney, speaking to again? It certainly not me, a fellow Independent leaning Republican in Kentucky. I am not even holding my nose to vote Romney/Ryan 2012. I might as well stay home, but I will surely vote, just not for them!!

    September 23, 2012 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  7. Gurgyl

    Twist the comments–America is not that stupid as you think. Obama12.

    September 23, 2012 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  8. Wake up People!

    Oh so now he clarifies. He wasn't talking about everyone, just the welfare queens. Oh we get it Willard. What a jerk. If your party would actually do something. Now he finally has a plan. Six weeks before the election. People need to realize he has never been a job creator but a job destroyer.

    OBAMA 2012!

    September 23, 2012 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  9. Obamacare = Obama cares about the young, elderly, poor and disabled. Romneycare = "I don't care about the poor"!

    Ryan announced that if elected, he will be adding the following new exercises to his current PS90X routine as outlined below:

    1.  The aerobic portion will involve pick axes and vigorously digging trenches in 20 minute intervals.
    2.  The muscle sculpting portion will be divided into three classes, beginners will be required perform a "dead weight" lift and hurl into the trench, intermdediates will lift and hurl 200-300 pounds of dead weight and the advanced participants will be required to lift and hurl dead weights over 300 pounds.
    3.  Manual dexterity improvements will enhanced by the task of spreading quick lime.
    4.  Then follows a repeat of the aerobics portion by filling the trenches.
    5.  Finally, the class will conclude with a yoga portion in which the class participants will chant "that takes care of the 47% of the moochers, losers and leeches living off the money of the 53%".

    All able bodied, straight, white males are invited to attend the sessions conducted at their local country club.

    NEWS UPDATE: Ryan has also announced that under the Romney administration, the new PS90X workouts will be in conjunction with the new GOP environmental initiative, known as "Keeping America's Greens"!

    September 23, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
1 2 3