Romney camp responds to leaked fundraiser video

McClatchy NewspapersSeptember 18, 2012 

On a day when Mitt Romney's presidential campaign vowed that he'd provide more specifics on his policies and positions, the campaign found itself responding to some potentially damaging specifics that Romney uttered at a closed-door fundraiser.

In a video obtained by Mother Jones, Romney characterizes supporters of President Barack Obama as irresponsible, non-taxpaying, "victims" who are strictly dependent upon government in almost all aspects of their lives.

Romney's campaign Monday night didn't challenge the authenticity or editing of the undated video. Instead, campaign Communications Director Gail Gitcho released a statement saying that "Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy."

"As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps..., Gitcho said. "Mitt Romney's plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years. grows the economy and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs."

In the video, Romney is standing and addressing a group of people whose faces are blurred out. In one portion of the video Romney says "There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what."

"All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who belive that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it," he added. "That's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what...These are people who pay no income tax."

Romney said he doesn't worry about these people because "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Instead, Romney said he needs to focus on the "five or six" percent of independent voters who may be more receptive to his campaign message.

Needless to say, Obama's campaign pounced on the video with the same zeal that Romney's camp jumped on Obama's "You didn't build that" line that has become a Republican rallying cry.

"It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as 'victims,' entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take 'personal responsibility' for their lives," Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement. "It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."

Romney didn't limit his remarks to entitlements, according to Mother Jones. Alluding to the fact that his father, the late Gov. George Romney of Michigan, was born in Mexico, Mitt Romney joked to the fundraiser audience that "Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this."

He added that his presidential campaign is having a hard time attracting Hispanic voters. He warned that "if the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting bloc has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation," according to Mother Jones.

Ironically, Mother Jones unveiled the video on the same day Romney addressed the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Los Angeles.

"I am so please to represent the party of Governor Susana Martinez, Governor Brian Sandoval, Governor Luis Fortuno, Senator Marco Rubio, and the Texas Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, Ted Cruz," Romney said Monday in prepared remarks. "These leaders are Republicans for the same reasons as millions of other Hispanics: they see that ours is the party of opportunity, the party that will restore America's prosperity."

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