Obama 'victim'-izing Romney
September 28th, 2012
06:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama 'victim'-izing Romney

(CNN) - President Barack Obama wasted little time recently adding a new element to his stump speech which makes Mitt Romney the victim of his own comments.

At a fund-raiser in Florida last spring, Romney said that that 47% of people pay no federal income taxes, are dependent on government, and view themselves as victims - and will support Obama regardless of the arguments Romney makes about lowering taxes.

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His comments were secretly recorded and posted on a left-leaning website last Monday and Tuesday.

Romney said his words were "off the cuff" and "not elegantly stated," but Obama proceeded to use them against him.

A spokeswoman for Romney, Amanda Henneberg, commented to CNN on this report, saying "This election presents a clear choice between the government dependency of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney’s vision of economic freedom."

Obama debuted a form of the line at a town hall-style meeting for the Univision television network three days after the video was first released.

"When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government, my thinking is maybe you haven't gotten around a lot, because I travel around the country all the time and the American people are the hardest working there are," Obama said to applause from the audience, which consisted primarily of supporters.

"Their problem is not that they're not working hard enough, or they don't want to work, or they're being taxed too little, or they just want to loaf around and gather government checks. We've gone through a challenging time," he continued. "People want a hand up, not a handout."

That was on Thursday. The Obama campaign went on to turn the comments into campaign ads, and meanwhile, Obama was refining the line he would use at campaign rallies.

The next day, Obama used the "47%" sentiment in his remarks at the AARP convention, though he did not mention the word "victim."

"But when it comes to gridlock, look - I came in in 2008 and I said, even though I got 53% of the vote and 47% of the country voted against me, that I'd be the President for everybody, and I'd listen to everybody's voices," Obama said, referring to a theme he spoke on after his election.

Later on Friday, the president rolled out a version of his victim line which has become standard fare in his stump speeches since then.

"I don't believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who think that they're not interested in taking responsibility for their own lives," he said in Woodbridge, Virginia. "I don't see a lot of victims in this crowd today. I see hard-working Virginians."

"Some of you may be students trying to work your way through college. Some of you may be single moms like my mom putting in overtime to see if you can provide a better life for your kids," Obama continued. "Some of you may be senior citizens who have been saving your whole life for your retirement. Some of you may be veterans who have served this country bravely soldiers who defend our freedom today."

He brought the personalization - "I see hard-working Virginians" - on the trail with him. In Milwaukee on Saturday, he saw "hardworking Wisconsinites." This past Wednesday, there were "hardworking Ohioans" in both Bowling Green and Kent. And the "hardworking Virginians" were back on Thursday in Virginia Beach.

Since the Woodbridge event, his language has remained generally similar - citing students, moms, and senior citizens.

Obama used the comment again on Friday at a fundraiser in Washington - "when I travel this country I don't meet victims" - though he dropped any geographic reference, perhaps a victim to speaking inside the beltway.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (86 Responses)
  1. Slightly Left of Center

    Time to cue up Anntoinette Romney so she can whine that President Obama and the evil media are picking on her Mittsy and using his very own words against him. Poor babies.

    September 29, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  2. caeser

    Romney only cares about the 1% it's just that he needs,as he himself pointed out 50.1% of the vote but 47% won't vote for him no matter what leaving 52%.Of this Romney needs 49.1% while Obama needs 3.1%.You got a big hill to climb there sisyphus.

    September 29, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Single Moms, military families, retired people, folks with phyical disablities, teachers, nurses, kids just entering the job market are all likely to be 47%ers. These people do everything they can to do better for themselves. Victems my fuzzy behind, these are Americans. They deserve and demand a President who works for them not some 1%er who feels they are not his problem.

    Obama, on his tax returns, is invested in American government bonds and donated his Nobel prize money to charity. Romney, on his tax return, was invested overseas in stem cell research, morning after pills, companies supporting the Iran government and tax havens in the Cayman Islands. Romney's charity is a church that discriminates against minorities and women. I think that says something about putting your money where your mouth is.

    September 29, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. sandra

    romney is getting what he deserves so stop with the poor mitt please leave him along bit!

    September 29, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  5. miki thinks

    Well, with the Rebublicans hiring Strategic Allied Consulting to register voters in Florida, we really are victims. The firm sent out false absentee ballots. However, when the RNC found out that Strategic Allied got cought, they fired them. Seems to me when you hire someone to blanket five states, you must know just what they are doing. If the RNC did not know that is gross mismanagement, and they can't be trusted. They are stealing our votes and we need the UN called in to observe this election, or the results will be questioned worldwide.

    September 29, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  6. Lady medusma

    Obamas right to pounce on the 47 percent opinion by Romney. He has to make it clear that he and Romney are completely differant with differant values and vision for Americans. Unfortunately there are still alot of poor and middle class white Americans that just dont get how spioled rotten Romney was talking about them because they're ignorant and racist. Obama's simply the better choice for Americans. I wish Romney would take him and his hypocrite missionary family back to China or Mexico, and create whatever slave wage jobs he can with his untaxed swiss bank accounts. At least stay out of American politics.

    September 29, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  7. McShannon

    When campaigning, watch what you say and say in no uncertain terms what you mean. Romney said what he wanted to say and now wishes he hadn't said it and that doesn't change reality. He put the knife in his own back and others are twisting it at every opportunity. This is politics 2012 not "how to be nice" 101.

    September 29, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  8. Mike Texoma

    I want every American to understand the mindset that believes we have a war in this country of the "Takers" against the "Makers", when over the past decade wealth in this country has been flowing to and concentrating in the top 2%, to the point where the middle class is only skin and bones.

    September 29, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  9. Jack

    Alexithymic Mitt deserves all the mockery he gets--he worked real hard to earn it.

    September 29, 2012 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  10. DJ

    Obama- "when I travel this country I don't meet victims" . Of course he would not acknowledge people as victims of this economy. Otherwise he would have to accept serious responsibilities which would hurt his campaign. He must not be talking to those who have lost so much and are struggling. The media may be up playing the situation at this time, but the truth is the jobs are hard to come by and much lower pay.

    September 29, 2012 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    This is the man who should be President. Romney only wants to be President of the rich and according to Ryan the rest of us need to be individuals and no helping hand or safety net is needed-this is not the American way-in our past if a man needed a new barn-the neighbors all got together and build the barn,Eisenhower provided the interstate highway we all use. Romney Ryan only want to govern the 1% and see that their taxes are lowered and let the rest of us pay for the welfare for the rich and the rich companies ie oil. There willnot be a democratic country when they finish-it will be an oligarchy of the 1% rich and the rest of us a third world poor-middle class gone

    September 29, 2012 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
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