Romney talks welfare, but not 47%
September 22nd, 2012
06:05 PM ET
9 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."

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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. hmm

    i'm honestly tired of this guy, let alone to vote for him. is nov. 6 here yet?

    September 22, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  2. ED FL

    Mitt you are the worst politician in any contest this year. Your DULL Incoherent and boring .You do not stand a chance of getting elected this November.The harder you try to impress the more you seem inept. Go someplace and play with your money the american population has seen enough of you and your buddy Lying Ryan.

    September 22, 2012 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  3. Mike Texoma

    Absolutely the last thing on Romney's agenda is more jobs and higher wages. Romney has one ambition – to take back America's wealth from the grasp of the takers, and dismantle the swollen, enabling federal government, and so assure much lower taxes on the makers. His real concern is the 1%. His only concern for the 47% that support his candidacy is not to lose them. Therefore, he will say anything to protect that number against erosion it if he can. In that, he seems to be his own worst enemy.

    Going rogue is not likely to help. And baloney delivered with Gingrich toughness is still baloney. The debates will finally, most likely, tell the tale.

    September 22, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  4. incredulous

    I was surprised to hear that Romney was in such good health. I would have thought that all that lying would have taken a toll by now.

    September 22, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  5. myway

    Romney's promises sound lame. Essentially he's describing what any president would push in light of a recovering economy. That's all you have, Romney? Gambling an a recovery so you can take credit for the consequential measures?

    September 22, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  6. Liz the First

    Repugs talk a good game about jobs when they're running, but the minute they get in, they say 'government can't create jobs.' all this character wants to do is give more money to the rich and he'll try to make us believe it'll somehow dribble down to us. trouble is, we already know this doesn't work! never has, never will. the repugs depend on our extremely short memories. for the sake of our country and our families, we need to remember.

    September 22, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  7. rs

    Haven't these GOP freaks figured out yet that the economy is in the tank because they crashed it in 2008, and they've done nothing to help since?!

    September 22, 2012 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  8. mommytwice

    Well, Mr. Romney, President Obama also kept the work requirement in welfare reform, so no changes are needed there. As a matter of fact, none of your "changes" are needed, so you can go home now and spend your millions.

    September 22, 2012 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  9. vc

    How can you lift welfare recipients out of poverty when you're not interested in them in the first place?

    September 22, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  10. n

    CNN, you are the worst! What is wrong with you people. Romney is another face in the crowd saying nothing but talking loud. Why are you just reporting what Romney is saying and not questioning him on any of his rants. You never ask him to explain in detail any of his, "I can do this and I will do that, trust me on this, I care about 100% of america, even though I said 47% of America can go skew themselves"

    September 22, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  11. Alan

    Romney has NO public events today (Saturday)....he has had what, 13 public events in the past 22 days. Does this guy think this is a part time job he is running for?

    September 22, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  12. carrotroot

    So Mitt's solution to people who pay no taxes because they are poor/disabled/or elderly is to continue to give tax breaks to the top earners, people like himself. .

    September 22, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  13. Rupert Murdoch = Josef Goebbels

    As president, I will cure cancer, no one will die, and everyone will be able to afford a mansion, blah, blah, blah...

    September 22, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  14. The problem

    Romney CAN'T legitimately talk TO 47% of the country after he INSULTED. That is like a sworn enemy setting before you a banquette of wouldn't trust that he is not going to poison you.

    "Better a meal of vegetables where there is love than a fattened calf with hatred." Prov. 15:17

    Romney can't HONESTLY believe he will provide them jobs when he BELIEVES there is something WRONG WITH THEIR CORE. That is the damage that video did.

    September 22, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  15. Jeccibeanz

    Didn't know that CNN actually did fact checks on anything...

    While I don't really have an opinion on the comment that was made – I'm glad we're finally talking about something substantive in this election. I think we can all agree that we have a problem when 47% are not paying taxes. Take out those on social security and disability, I think the number is closer to 36%. We need an active plan to help those in that percentile (that don't want to be there) to find a path out. For those that are content being that group – not sure what can be done for them if they don't want a change. But, taxing a portion of the population more will not move us toward prosperity – but helping this group out will.

    September 22, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  16. RogueRobots

    ROMNEY and RYAN are starting up a new rock band called the ROGUE ROBOTS. Playing at a $50,000 a plate fundraiser near you. Your choice of either chicken, pork butt, elephant jerky, or dancing olympic horse flank.

    September 22, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  17. AK_steve

    Romney will tell you that what he said – he didn't really say. And in the same breath tell what Obama did – that he didn't really do. And he does it with a straight face and doesn't even blink.

    Amazing – he can lie and deny without any sense of folly.

    September 22, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  18. honest mari

    When will Romney ever own his "S". Too flaky for this job. Period!!!

    September 22, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  19. Randy, San Francisco

    More trickle down economics...the 47% have been waiting since the Reagan administration to see the benefits.

    September 22, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  20. MikeInCarolina

    Don't forget, this is the same Romney campaign that likes to accuse Obama of inciting class warfare. Obama has never so blantantly and clearly spoken in such divisive terms as Romney did this week. These people are masters of the double standard and don't seem to realize that it exposes their bigotry more than anything else. After all, a double standard is the most undisputable evidence of prejudice; bar none. Romney has shown the true color of his stripes and they aren't pretty.

    September 22, 2012 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  21. Nuance

    Still won't make people forget the fact that you insulted nearly half of the American people or about your tax returns.

    September 22, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  22. Is he Is or Is he ain't

    Is he a bottom or what? Walks like one.

    September 22, 2012 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  23. mississippigirl2012

    He talks about how he going to grow the economy but he did not not grow it in MA. All he did with Bain was close plants were the average worker made $20 an hour and and replace them with $8 an hour job like Dominoes and Sport Addition. All he want to do is out source government to China.

    September 22, 2012 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  24. Phil Thomas

    The guy showed his true colors in that tape and my question to you GOP water carriers voting against your own interest if Obama is so bad why do Mitt and the wonder boy need to lie and distort in regards to his policies so much. The I built that distortion, this welfare distortion. According to you guys Obama should be a sitting duck but between Mitts, the wonder boy and fox nothing but lies

    September 23, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  25. John Oboho

    As usual,no specifics from Romney.

    September 23, 2012 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
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