Romney retracts his 47% comment
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Thursday retracted his earlier comments deriding 47% of Americans who do not earn enough to pay federal income tax.
Following a strong debate performance, Romney acknowledged that his remarks were “completely wrong.”
“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. In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong,” Romney told Sean Hannity on Fox News. “And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100% and that’s been demonstrated throughout my life.”
Romney issued his mea culpa three weeks after MotherJones.com published a secretly recorded video of the former Massachusetts governor telling donors that he’ll write off the 47% of American seniors, veterans, and workers who don’t pay federal income tax and who are more likely to support President Barack Obama.
“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% 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 believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,” said Romney. “These are people who pay no income tax. 47% of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect… And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Shortly after the video’s release, Romney called a press conference, where he conceded that his remarks weren’t “elegantly stated” but doubled down on his 47% comments.
“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,” Romney said at the press conference. “And likewise, those who are reliant on government are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of government.”
Romney 47% insult caused an uproar and reinforced the public perception of Romney as “out of touch” and “uncaring.” Surveys conducted shortly after his remarks showed a signifiant drop in support for Romney – particularly among women and Hispanics – in swing states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.
As a result, last night’s debate was a considered a must-win for Romney.
“Had this gone the other way, had Mitt Romney not done well, I think this would have been game, set, match,” said Charlie Cook, Editor and Publisher of the non-partisan Cook Political Report, at a National Journal discussion forum.
Transcript of Mitt Romney’s statement on his infamous 47% comment during an appearance on Sean Hannity’s show:
“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. In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.
“And 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 has been about the 100%.
“When I become President, it will be about helping the 100%.
“As I pointed out last night in the debate, the rich in this country are actually doing better under President Obama. The gap between the rich and the poor has gotten larger.
“The rich will probably do fine even if he’s re-elected; it’s the middle-class that’s in real trouble if President Obama is re-elected – and the poor. I want the poor to get into the middle-class. So many have fallen into poverty by virtue of his policies. So this for me is all about the 100%.
“And you know, the President can talk about that the things he like to talk about. I’m going to talk about how I’m going to get America working again, and help all the people in this country.”
- Fox News: Sean Hannity’s show – interview with Mitt Romney on Oct. 4, 2012
- C-Span.org: Video of the National Journal’s forum on election trends on Oct. 4, 2012
- WhatTheFolly.com: Analysis: Romney cites Massachusetts health care law as proof of his “empathy”
- WhatTheFolly.com: Polls show Obama widening his lead in Ohio, Florida & Pennsylvania
- WhatTheFolly.com: Obama campaign releases 2 new TV spots attacking Romney’s 47% comment
- WhatTheFolly.com: Analysis: Romney paid 14.1% effective tax rate in 2011
- WhatTheFolly.com: Commentary: Mitt Romney writes off 47% of Americans
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Press briefing remarks by Mitt Romney on the other 47%
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Mitt Romney’s remarks on ‘Obama voters’ at a Florida fundraiser
Category: Analysis, Current Events, Economy, Election 2012, News, Politics, Social Services, Tax Policies, Transcripts, U.S. · Tags: 47%, Barack Obama, Boca Raton, Charlie Cook, election, election 2012, federal income tax, Florida, Fox News, GOP, low-income, middle-class, Mitt Romney, Mother Jones, Ohio, payroll tax, Pennsylvania, political campaigns, poll, presidential election 2012, Republican, Republican Party, Republicans, Sean Hannity, seniors, swing voters, taxes, veterans