October 4th, 2012
11:39 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney on 47% comments: I was 'completely wrong'

(CNN) - Mitt Romney said he was "completely wrong" when he argued that nearly half of Americans were "victims" and dependent on government.

The admission came Thursday as the GOP presidential candidate sought to clarify his controversial "47%" comments.

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"Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney said on Fox News. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."

Last month, secretly recorded video of Romney at a May fundraiser showed the Republican candidate saying 47% of Americans will vote for President Barack Obama "no matter what."

"There are 47% 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."

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The non-partisan Tax Policy Center estimates that for tax year 2011, 46% of households will end up owing nothing in federal income taxes. But if payroll taxes are counted, the number of non-payer households drops precipitously - to an estimated 18% in 2011.

Adding to his argument about entitlement, Romney said his "job is not to worry about those people."

"I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," he added.

"What I have to do is convince the 5 percent to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful."

After the videos, which were posted on the progressive news website Mother Jones, caught fire, Romney called a last-minute press conference with pool reporters while he was in California at the time.

The former Massachusetts governor acknowledged the comments were "off the cuff" and "not elegantly stated," but he defended the main point of the message, saying he was criticizing the increasing size of government and entitlement programs.

"We have a very different approach – the president and I – between a government-dominated society and a society driven by free people pursuing their dreams," Romney said.

The following day, Romney still stuck by his comments and elaborated on the logistical reasoning behind his remarks.

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"We were of course talking about a campaign and how he is going to get close to half the vote," Romney said. "I'm going to get half the vote, I hope, I want to get 50.1% or more. Frankly we have two very different views about America."

In the first presidential debate Wednesday, Obama surprised political observers by not going after Romney on the comments, as he has on the campaign trail in the last two weeks.

On Fox News Thursday night, Romney was asked what he would have said if the president had brought up the controversial statements–which is when the GOP nominee went as far as to say he was "wrong."

He then argued that, if elected, he would represent all Americans, not just half.

"I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100% and that's been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100%. When I become president, it will be helping the 100%."

What’s your reaction to Mitt Romney saying his secretly recorded comment that nearly half of Americans were victims dependent on government was "completely wrong?" Share your thoughts below or using the hashtag #47percent.

Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (1,403 Responses)
  1. JKB75

    I thought he completely stood by his statement?!

    October 5, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  2. RayJacksonMS

    How many flip flops doesn't it take to get to the truthy center of a Romney Pop?

    October 5, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  3. Rich A.

    "I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100% and that's been demonstrated throughout my life."

    Really? I don't see anything in your history that shows that you care about anyone but yourself, let alone 100%. You donate a portion of your income to charities to avoid paying certain taxes, nothing more. There's no altruism here. Move along.

    October 5, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  4. garry1952

    There he goes again! Flip-flop Romney-fish.

    October 5, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
  5. cosmo

    Everyone has said things they knew wasn't right to say. Hes admitting hes wrong. So lets move on. So I will say it ,hes might of been off 10%. I believe he was right by what he said. The ones that like their free stuff will vote for Obama.I will also say 95% of the Blacks will vote for him again. Blacks don't care about what he stands for, The only thing they care about is hes Black. Hang in There Romney.

    October 5, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  6. Forty Seven

    You doubled down the day after the tape was uncovered based on advice form Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'reiley. Now you are wrong? Who the hell is this guy fooling?

    October 5, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  7. boarddog

    The last time I checked it was illegal to record someone's voice without their consent. Are the authorities pursuing this I wonder?

    October 5, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  8. Bob B

    He said it and he believe's it.

    October 5, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  9. DJ

    Here we go again with this guy. He says one thing in PRIVATE and then in public says something else!!! Mind you we all know they do it however, the entire country saw Willard in the video say what he said and didn't even flinch. OWN IT!!!

    October 5, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  10. Jim Bourque

    Do you wonder how many other things he knows he is "completely wrong" about

    October 5, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  11. everette

    The next debate will be directly in front of the same 47% that people like Mitt Romney hate . You can't practice 5 years for the next debate . You can't attack without any specifics . Lets see Romney flip flop your way out of this one . I like the Obama campaighn strategy . Now he can take the gloves of in front of the 47% that Mitt Romney and Rush Limbaugh despise .

    October 5, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  12. JoeProfet

    Good Job, Mitt. You recanted your comment, admitted you were wrong, go figure someone that can admit they made a mistake! Your point was valid and so lets move on.

    October 5, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  13. Anon

    Flip-flopping again?

    October 5, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  14. werescrewed2012

    Ya mittens cares, and the sky is green the economy is great and they found hoffa alive.

    October 5, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |

    But it came from your heart. And you were caught red handed. You are a blatant lier.

    October 5, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  16. LS

    And if you believe this, I have a car to sell you. Who would believe anything coming out of this man's mouth? Never in my life have I seen such a lying creep. The real Mitt Romney was on display when he did not know he was being video-taped. He does not like or respect many Americans. He just really, really wants to be President.

    October 5, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  17. Askmehow

    A good man knows when he is wrong, admits to be wrong and tries to amend things and make right. This is the definition of a good man, that's what my father once told me.

    October 5, 2012 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  18. David of VA

    I have changed my mind, and will NOT vote for Obama/ Biden again!

    October 5, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  19. politicogeek

    haha.. there you go. Do all political characters from Massachusetts are flip flop ? In past seen John Kerry now Mitten Romney. Before 47% was not wrong and he defended strongly, but now he acknowledges ... Choice is up to American people they want a flip flop cheapo sandle or a sturdy black footwear.

    October 5, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  20. 94fxsts

    Mr. R-Money.....liar, liar pants on fire.....

    October 5, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  21. Benish ahmed

    the facts romney states are absolutely true. its a path to socialism where everyone gets a piece of the pie, either by generating their own income or through necessary government assistance to survive. by government robbing the citizens of their freedoms, by enacting millions of unneccessary laws to enslave people more than they already are, actually, leading beyond socialism, and assuredly becoming a dictatorship. this is bad news for the rich, since it will be identical to other countries, where governments nationalize corporations to spread out the wealth. which is only fair, quoting obama, you didnt amass those secure incomes on your own. population alone controls the stock markets, thats why rising countries out of obscurity, have noticeably increased their population, demanding more imports from other countries to survive, thus making those exporters dependent on them for their own survival. the illegal immigration problem is help, not hindrance, especially if they reproduce like bunnies, increasing the need for more imports, more worldly power. yes, the new slavery, they do our bidding for us through population increase but give them no power.

    October 5, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  22. riopowel

    His pants are on fire.....

    October 5, 2012 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  23. Brian from DC

    Funny, the only time that he's ever sounded genuine was when he was talking about the "47 percent." Everyone knows he and his followers believe it!.

    October 5, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  24. louie

    He said it, he believes it, and he would govern with the same belief.

    October 5, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  25. myado

    what is there to say . . . ?

    October 5, 2012 07:01 am at 7:01 am |
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