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. Carolusa

    Of course he meant exactly what he said. He was talking to his rich/socially connected friends and this is the world THEY live in. Sorry, Mitt, you don't get a pass on this one.

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  2. Joe

    He was only speaking the truth and sometimes the truth hurts. Liberals are too sensitive!

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  3. Rufus

    Mitt, I paid for my social security benefits and retired from NASA on a government pension. That mwans I have to be included in the 48% which is dependent upon the government .It doesn't mean I will support Obama. My country comes first and you have my support. Reach out to us 48%. We all need your help.

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. jv

    This man is truly dishonest. Since everyone is declaring him the winner of the first debate, now he's trying to do a complete the task and completely reinvent himself.....a makeover. Blatant!!!!

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  5. JFP11374

    Rommey is a liar, a poor millionaire, a flip-flopper and he has no guts. Not even to defend the one health care policy that he signed into law when governor and that has worked so well in his state. No guts, no glory pal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  6. netmand

    For me, this election is like reaching into a burlap sack full of turds, and hoping you get the least amount of poop on your hands.

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  7. DB

    Fool me once shame on you, and fool me twice, and not on your life Mitt. Has anyone else noticed the size of his nose lately? What a tool

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  8. Chiek

    Mitt is human and is prone to failings. So are we. So for all those who are crucifying Mitt, take a look in the mirror first. If anyone has done even 10% of the charity that Gov Romney has done throughout his life, he can be proud of himself for being a decent human being. Actions speak louder than words. Look at his track record. Unless you are too illiterate to read books written about him.

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  9. BE in TN

    the man is evil; his eyes tell the truth!!!

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. CiSono

    Romney should not be applauded for his acknowledgment of the "47%" and his back-handed apology He defended it and went all out. His words are to believed because it is what he believes at his core. He is not presidential material and his kinetic faux passion and lying before the Lord is cringeworthy!!.Do not be duped by this man. He is not what this country needs. We need to re-elect President Obama; the one who has been fighting for the "47%" and the average American worker and small business owner. He is the one who gets it; not Robme who found anything but what he had campaigned on up to the debate. One debate does not make Romney different. He is the same old "richie" that does not give a hoot about anyone but his rich buddies and big business.

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. thelady8home

    This man says whatever it takes to win his current audience. Whatever. If it was required for him to say the sky is green and the leaves are blue to win it, he will say it. He is dishonest and he is a bully (if anyone think a grown up guy chopping off a fellow student hair was anything but cruel, they need to go see a shrink. If the fellow had died, Romeny would have been sitting in jail instead of playng with American people). He changes his stance like a shark, and expects people will fall for it. Sadly, many are falling for his theatrics. G.W Bush might have been a foolish president, but he was a good man. McCain was weak, but he was an honest man even his opponents respected. This man is disgusting.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. SM

    Rommey is acting very well... and it could be a Oscar winner ...but not for President ..

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Boo

    Sara – GREAT COMMENT!!!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. pat carr

    "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."

    That's easy. I don't remember any other pol saying 47 percent of the nation is on welfare.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. Tom Mitchell

    To late Mr. Romney the damage has been done. We know how you really feel stop trying to backpedal.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. Mario

    Romney!... Flip Floping Again!.... no kidding..... What can we expect tomorrow... to flip again....

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Mathew

    We republicans have always known Mitt was a "flip flopper". Both candidates will say whatever they can to get elected. I think we have to reexamine this whole process. Removing all democrats and republicans from office would be a good start. They are too entrenched in the political landscape to be effective.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  18. De People Dem

    Seriously what offended me were not his words but the distain in which he aid them. THAT doesnt change over night!

    October 5, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  19. NG

    He sounded pretty convinced and conscious of his remarks... I don't think he is being sincere apologizing now...

    October 5, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. Bill

    Obama has failed his job and should be fired period.

    October 5, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  21. 95% of life is settled if you're born to a millionaire

    Romney is the Cobra in the river, as told by one of my Indian friends...
    One day, a Woman comes upon a Cobra, in a small but fast moving river, hanging on for dear life to a branch wedged in some rocks. "Help me! Save me!" Calls out the Cobra to the Woman.
    "But you'll bite me, and I'll die!" Says the Woman.
    "No! I promise!" Says the Cobra.
    "I guess I can believe you" says the Woman (and 45% of the American population)
    The Woman grabs the Cobra from the rushing river and puts him on dry land, whereupon the Cobra immediately turns and bites the Woman. " You promised! You said you weren't going to bite me!" cries the Woman as she lays there, dying.
    "After all, I am a Cobra (or a Romney, or a Republican)" sneers the Cobra.

    October 5, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Maychel

    Mitt doesn't like the freeloaders any more than liberals dislike Christians, white men, financial success (unless it's their own), self-determination, equality of opportunity (not results), and basically any opinion not in line with their world view. So, what's your point?

    October 5, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  23. Maxx

    Of course we believe everything you say, Mitt.

    October 5, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  24. Greg

    PEOPLE!!! LETS GET REAL! Both parties are going to say what they "have" to say to get elected. Just look at the records and make the best judgement.

    October 5, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  25. Supu

    Of course, he "changed" his mind and admitted being wromg......he got caught (on camera) :))

    October 5, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
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