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."

Romney ads: U.S. can't afford four more years of Obama

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. jeanniels

    You can't retract statements (those in the video) that were made so strongly with a simple "I was wrong." The Mother Jones leaked video I feel are his true feelings. Like many have commented, Romney will say anything just to get elected.

    October 5, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Mick

    What I don't get is why the GOP can't come up with a decent moderate candidate to run against Obama. Someone who is fiscally smart (not subservient to the rich, but actually smart) and who just writes off the Tea Party and all the social issue crap as just so much noise. A candidate like that would run Obama into the ground. I'm an Independent and I plan to vote for Obama again, but I could have easily been swayed by someone with at least half a brain and a little heart.

    October 5, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. jackie

    Kinda hard to put words back in your mouth once they have flowed so easily out....shame on you Mitt....but one most often says what is truly in their heart.....so you were just keeping it real....your reality.....God will really need to Bless America if you are elected!

    October 5, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. NOGOP

    Where are the GOPERS on this blog?

    October 5, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. Robert

    "I was completely wrong"
    Trueer words were never spoken.

    October 5, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Paul Wong

    How can you believe in what RMoney says? He would flip flop, change his tune and say whatever he thinks the people want to hear to win votes. What a shady/slippery person he is just as in not releasing his tax returns to show his distasteful investments in Bermuda, Cayman Islands and Swiss bank accounts!

    October 5, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Why Why Why

    Leave him alone, he likes "poor kids" what more do you want?

    October 5, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. Mark Stevens

    I think when in the moment we all have said something that at the time sounded good. but, looking back we wished we hadn't phrased it that way. Seems like alot of Democrats love to talk about how Romney lies all the time. I will bet you none of these that are posting have watched the 2007 or 2008 video that surfaced on Obama speaking in Rev. Wright's church. Obama speaking then was trying to fire up the black audience against white people. His vocal tone was different then too. None of the liberal news media will ever show these videos. Because it puts Obama I'lin a bad light. I'll bet Obama now wishes he hadn't said the things he said in those videos. Or maybe that IS the real Obama in those videos, and he's just acting now.....MMMM. Something to think about..

    October 5, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Bernadette

    Romney can taste victory and he will say and do anything to win. He speaks with fork tongue beware of this man! If you vote for him it will be a sad day in America for all the 47%

    October 5, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  10. Casey

    Romney is a liar. I make $146,000.00 per year and I am voting for Obama.

    October 5, 2012 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  11. Steve

    Typical CEO type. Romney will say whatever it takes to close the deal. It doesn't matter one bit if it's true or not, as long as he wins.

    October 5, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. thomas

    Reminds me of a guy on a date. Say anything if it gets you where you want to get. And we all know what happens to the girl who believes what she hears.

    October 5, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  13. Sivick

    I think what you say when you think nobody is listening is the most truthful you will ever be. Too late mitt, we know what you really think.

    October 5, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  14. abby1

    He must have just realized that he needs votes from those 47%"victims" in order to win the presidential race.

    October 5, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  15. Steve

    Romney never feels a shame for lying voters. I just saw one more time flip-flops.

    October 5, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  16. Hollow_Romney

    This guy is prepare to change anything and say anything to get selected. He found peopl stupid. How a person can say something to all his money donors and then say something else to other people. He can NOT be trusted and he is a false person.

    October 5, 2012 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. us_1776

    Romney: I was completely wrong.

    The one true statement he's made all year.


    October 5, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  18. Harvey

    "Stop it!"

    October 5, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  19. Josie

    Sadly I know of too many people who are on government support who for some reason or another cannot keep a job, will not keep a job, or won't get a job...so you tell me? They get free cell-phones, rent money, foodstamps...all because they are lazy! I actually have a disablility and go to work almost 40 hours a week just to keep from being on government support. I also know people who work and still get food stamps because their paycheck just isn't big enough to pay for both food and rent. Now I am sitting in the public library and they virturally have kids living here on computers, no job all on state welfare in one form or another. I can bet most of them will vote for Obama again if they vote at all. Romney wasn't too far off the mark really...you only get a reaction if something said is partially true or true. I will not be voting for Obama.

    October 5, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  20. John

    Romney is the biggest liar in the history of presidencial campaign. The tape shows the real Romey.

    October 5, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  21. belladonna

    Romney. You keep on making yourself look bad. You made this statement in a forum where you thought it was safe. Because you were with people who think like you. When the video came out you defended your statement. I was particularly offended because I was part of that 47% when I was a college student. I am not anymore. Its a little too late for apologies. This is just confirming what we think of you. Flip-flop... It also shows that you will say anything to make the white house. If you are not for 100% of the people, I wonder why you want to be president so BAD?

    October 5, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  22. Carma

    Mitt Romney never said he didn't "care" about the 47 percent. Of course, he cares about them. He wants them to have jobs and become self-reliant and stand on their own feet, which is most likely what they would like also. Romney wants to help the economy grow, so all people will have a chance to provide for themselves and their families. This statement was just made to make a point to a particular group of people he was addressing at the time to stress the fact that we don't want to become a nation of people dependent on the government for our subsistance. That is why he is running for President–because he does care what happens to this nation and wants the people to remember what made America great–hard work, self-reliance, and standing on our own feet.

    Obama likes to have people dependent on the government and wants to have more people on welfare. Obama wants to take from the rich and give to the poor, but what will he do when the rich run out of money, which always happens in a socialistic state. The government has no money to give you without first taking it from someone else who has worked hard for their money. As Thomas Sowell, a black man, has said, "I have never understood why it is 'greed' to want to keep the money you have earned, but not greed to want to take somebody else's money."

    October 5, 2012 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  23. Linda

    he said it, he meant it , he is just sorry that he got caught. What a Mitt Wit

    October 5, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    you put this as a bigger headline than him winning the debate

    October 5, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Mike

    You can only re-set so many times, Mitt

    October 5, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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