Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Mitt Romney on the other 47%

Transcript of remarks by Mitt Romney at a press briefing on Sept. 17, 2012:

“As I point out, I recognize that among those that pay no tax – approximately 47% of Americans – I’m not likely to be highly successful with a message of lowering taxes. That’s not as attractive to those who don’t pay income taxes than it is to those who do.

“And likewise, those who are reliant on government are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of government.

“And so I’d then focus on those individuals who I believe are most likely to be able to be pulled into my camp and help me win the 51% or 50.1% that I need to become the next President.

“This is, of course, something I’d talk about a good deal in rallies and speeches and so forth, which is the President and I have very different approaches to the future of America and what it takes to ignite our economy and put people back to work.

“The President believes in what I’ve described as a ‘government-centered society’, where government plays a larger and larger role, provides for more and more of the needs of individuals.

“And I happen to believe, instead in a free enterprise, free individual society, where people pursuing their dreams are able to employ one another, build enterprises, build the strongest economy in the world. I happen to believe that my approach is the approach that will put 23 million people back to work again.

“We’ve watched the result of the President’s approach over the last 3.5, 4 years, and his government-centric – larger and larger government approach has meant that we have 15 million more people on food stamps, 23 million more people out of work or stopped looking for work or under-employed. We have had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8%.

“And my view is the right approach for our nation is not to adopt a government-centered approach but instead a free, free people, free enterprise, free market, consumer-driven approach. And that will build the strongest economy for ourselves and for the coming generations.”


Excerpt from press briefing Q&A:

Question: Is Romney worried about offending 47% of Americans?

Romney’s response: 

“Well, um, you know, it’s not elegantly stated – let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question and I’m sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that.

“And so I’m sure I’ll point that out as time goes on but we don’t even have the question given the snippet there nor the full response. And I hope the person who has the video would put out the full material.

“But it’s a message I’m going to carry and continue to carry, which is look – the President’s approach is attractive to people who aren’t paying taxes because my discussion about lowering taxes isn’t as attractive to them and therefore I’m not likely to draw them into my campaign as effectively as those who are in the middle.

“This is really a discussion about the political process of winning the election. And of course, I want to help all Americans – all Americans have a bright and prosperous future. And I’m convinced the President’s approach has not done that and will not do that.”


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