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. Etch-A-Sketch

    Shake shake shake, shake shake shake.

    Deafening silence as the conservative blog-o-sphere which heralded and defended his comments goes silent fast enough to cause dead air on Fox news.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Kimmy

    Mitt was speaking on how he truly feels about the working class of America. Days after the video surface, he stood by his comments. So know he wants the Ameican public to believe that he truyly cares about all Americans. Wrong Mitt, you have shown your true hand and it's too late to fold the deck. I work every day and have worked all of my lives and I'm not lazy, irresponsible, etc. He is just another rich uncaring politician whom only cares about himself.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Tim Moore

    and still are.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  4. George

    Romney can't be trusted, the next day after he said the 47% comments, he re-affirmed what he said. Now that the consensus of people disagree with the 47% comments, Romney casually decides to go with the flow and say he was wrong. The only reasons he is saying this is because he got caught on tape and his own party has ridiculed him over it. Flip Flop again.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. john

    Mitt sure changes his mind a lot.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Vad

    Huh...Would have respected him more had he stood by his statement. Maybe he is wrong about a chuk of that 47% but the point he was trying to make about a huge portion of this Country leeching instead of working is not wrong.

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. russ

    Mitt's apology tour!

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. kramer

    Even James Lipton admits:

    " Rmoney's Performance was Worthy of an OSCAR, but Not a Presidency "..!!!!

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Chris

    Despite anything Romney or Obama say or do, I would never vote for a Mormon. Does Mitt wear "The Garments", I wonder...? All religious people are sick, and Mormons might be some of the sickest.

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. eric

    Now, it is proven he is a liar. That is beyond a pale of doubt. The question is whether he is lying to the nation today or to those "poor" saps, the billionaire donors to super-pacs in whose private, secluded company he poured his heart out about his 47% truth. Most probably his private talk is the truth as he had been assured it is away from prying eyes/ears.

    Given that he is lying, can the nation hazard a guess about his 100% chime now and vote for him? Not me. It is too much of a risk to hand over the nation to another budding wannabe Nixon.

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. HCD of WI

    Couldn't have said it better James AL ! Romney is, as the President has said, completely dishonest! I hope the rest of the Country wakes up before the election and sees past his smoke and mirror show!

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. JohnRJohnson

    WHAT A BUNCH OF HOGWASH! Romney is only admitting he was wrong because he got caught saying what he truly believes. What fool doesn't understand that?

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. DJ Reality

    Wait a minute! Romney said he agreed with what he said on the video when it came out. So he lied then? He flip flopped again. He just can't stop the flip flop!

    October 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Keith in NJ

    Wait a second. He made the statement then after having months to think about it he stood by the remark. All of a sudden the poll numbers come out and he finds out who the 47% really are and then says he was totally wrong. "Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice................. Who can be stupid enough to vote for this guy?

    October 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. SR

    Go Romney! Go America!

    October 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. RR

    I can't keep anymore with what Mitt said and what he really meant. There is no do over buddy.

    October 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  17. Singh

    Romney, A used car salesman with no moral or ethical alerts... will do anything and say anything to make a deal. Sorry state of American Affairs. Obama just pulled us out of the GOP/BUSH hell hole, now ROMNEY wants to dig us right back into BUSH third term. NO and HELL NO!

    October 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. Mike Singer

    Mitt will do and say anything to win the election, if it condradicts what he said two minutes ago. Few things about the debate:
    1. Mitt won based on presentation...not on what he said, but how he said it.
    2. Obama was a little dumbfounded because how can you debate Mitt Romney when he made statements condradictory to what he has been running on for the past 6 years. For goodness sake this article is another example.
    3. Obama should have called Mitt out more in the debate. He had ample opportunity. To be honest, I think Obama was disgusted of the flip flopping politics Mitt was trying to pull. I would have been disgusted myself. But he should have taken the opportunity and hit Mitt Back.

    October 5, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  19. Don't Be Fooled

    THis is the longest I've ever seen Mittens pretend to like a Black man he's talking to. Now he's wrong about the 47%. He's just saying that to fool you. He's solid on the 1% side like all the republicans.

    October 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. jeanni

    Romney is a LIAR plain and simple. Nothing more. Nothing less. He panders to whatever the crowd infront of him wants to hear. And that's a Problem.

    October 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  21. Beefy

    Funny, nobody ever talks about how privileged Kennedy was, yet he went down in history as a hero. Inheritance does not mean anything about the heart of a man. Just sayin'.

    October 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  22. kramer

    Even James Lipton, who is an Expert on Acting, states:

    " Rmoney's Performance was Worthy of an OSCAR, but Not a Presidency "..!!!!

    October 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  23. lindaluttrell

    Oh, it is OUT there now! Too late!

    October 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  24. TickTickTick

    Of all the negative comments here, please show me one instance that makes Romney different than Any Other Politician.

    Yes, including the current President, and each and every member of Congress.

    October 5, 2012 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |

    JGA Phillip Anthony Biondo for President 2012 of the Fraternity Party! Kegs party at the White House! Free College like k-12. Free Healthcare. All safe drugs over the counter. Escorts legal. Casinos legal. The American Citizens are not intelligent enough to elect me. Evolution, big bang, God of Universe and Milky Way. I'm suing the supreme court Apes for freedom of Religion, I suffer from severe depression because holy medicines, primarily thc, psilocybin, mescaline, lsd, and dmt are illegal, in fact I committed suicide. Target the DEA. Superhuman AI: 2045. Navy Nuclear Spaceships, next star, rainforests, dinosaurs. Meditate. I'm a Sapien, what are you? Does Obama or Romney believe in global warming? We are like deer in the headlights.

    October 5, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
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