Video Captures Uncensored Mitt Romney at Fundraiser

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Charles Dharapak / AP

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leaves a private fundraising event at Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse restaurant in Chicago, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012.

In a hidden-camera video captured at a private fundraiser and posted Monday afternoon to the website of Mother Jones, Mitt Romney offers an assessment of Barack Obama’s supporters that is far more withering than any he’s revealed in public.

The clip is one in a series of leaked videos, purportedly taken at an unspecified fundraiser held “earlier this year” and obtained by Mother Jones. They cover everything from Romney’s view of how to win over unhappy Obama voters (“they love the phrase that he’s ‘over his head’”) to his belief that policy arguments don’t move polls (“discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn’t win elections”) to the strategy behind the deployment of Ann Romney. The cache comes on the heels of another surreptitious clip that captures Romney telling donors a story about the miserable work conditions in a Chinese factory to which he once traveled, and which Bain was considering buying.

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The most incendiary clip posted by Mother Jones is likely to be Romney’s characterization of Obama voters as an “entitled” cohort, “people who pay no income tax” and are “dependent on government, who believe they are victims.” It appears to reflect a Randian view of the country, in which Romney’s supporters are the producers and Obama’s are the moochers.

In general, it’s not great for a presidential candidate to make unsympathetic generalizations about 47% of the U.S. population. It’s additionally problematic for Romney to whack them for paying too little in taxes when he’s declined to provide more than two years of his own returns and pledged to cut taxes for the middle class — some of whom presumably fall into the 47% Romney is denigrating.

Obama knows full well that views a candidate espouses in private can prove damaging; comments he made at a 2008 fundraiser about voters who “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them” dogged him for months. Jim Messina, Obama’s campaign manager, released a statement this afternoon that said: “It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”

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The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Update, 7:00 p.m. The Romney campaign sends along the following statement from communications director Gail Gitcho:

“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, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. 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.”

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38 comments
LK312
LK312

"My job is not to worrry about THOSE people".

Who is that, Mitt?  THOSE people who don't take $70K deductions for their dancing horses?

HudsonValleyTim
HudsonValleyTim

Wow...just wow.   I guess that this means that Mitt doesn't want the support of any states that went for Obama in 2008.  There goes Ohio and Florida (and thus, the election).  Alas, poor Willard, we hardly knew you.

Pollopa
Pollopa

Thank you Mitt for firing up the D base, and also making a few more get off the fence onto the President's side.  Now what is really needed is for this to hit down ticket.  With the movement this may bring one can only hope goodbye GOP house.

theoldkathy
theoldkathy

 The last Romney statement is as CYA as anything ever written.  NBC ran clips of the video on the evening news.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

John Edwards was deeply flawed and couldn't keep his fly zipped, but Mitt Romney proved his one correct point: there are two Americas. And Mitt doesn't give a damn about the other one. It figures that the Tea Party wants to impose European austerity upon us while Romney wants to impose European permanent class structure upon us (and we're getting closer to that every day).

RWaller
RWaller

Half of the people who pay no income taxes are elderly Americans. Last I checked Republicans do quite well in this demographic. Moreover, how can a man who presumably wants to serve Americans as their President be so disdainful of the people he would be representing.  This is particularly galling coming from a man who may have paid no federal income tax for several years.   

RWaller
RWaller

Half of the people who pay no income taxes are elderly Americans.  How can a man who presumably wants to serve the country as President be so disdainful of its people. Before criticizing the taxes others pay he should at least let us know what if any taxes he has paid over the last 10 years.

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

News flash. Unemployment hits 47%! Details at........oh wait..........

Seth Scoville
Seth Scoville

I didn't think there could be any more nails in his coffin. I was wrong.

rickterp
rickterp

A big chunk of those 47% not paying income tax are Social Security recipients. Mittens shouldn't be too eager to tell these folks that they're voting for Obama to protect their entitlements -- they're a significant part of his own base.

Spider's Web
Spider's Web

Please make him stop! Won't somebody please make him stop? Ouch. 

He was supposed to be retooling/relaunching this week for the final push amp; he then gets caught on camera sneering at nearly half the country. Right now, the orchestra should have stopped playing amp; joined the effort to bail the water off the decks... 

Henrietta Stankler
Henrietta Stankler

I don't feel like I even need to state this, but I, and many of my colleagues and friends, are lawyers and other professionals who have earned stable salaries far above the national average, and we're voting for Obama because we believe in his worldview, including support for social programs in the US. Many of us have come from modest backgrounds, some from families that at times needed and received public benefits, we've worked extremely hard and succeeded, and we're pleased to give back so that others can have the same opportunities. This is just one more example of how self-centered and out of touch Romney is with the American people. The only people I personally know who are planning to vote for Romney are a few engineers (in Alabama and Florida) whose jobs are tied to defense spending, and some relatives (also in the south) who struggle and receive public benefits but are social conservatives.

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

Well that certainly explains why he doesn't think he owes anyone an explanation for how he's going to pay for those tax cuts.

anon76returns
anon76returns

Also explains why he's loathe to show his tax returns.  Voters hate hypocrites.

9indeendant9
9indeendant9

I think Romney is 100 percent on target.  The USA is quickly becoming a welfare society, addicted to a government that cannot resist public "welfare," in all of its many forms.  The only comment that I disagree with is his assessment of the magnitude of the problem.  If you count home mortgage deductions, public school subsidies, mining leases on federal land, and the like, the percentage is probably much higher than 50 percent of the population.  The problem with this country is that we've forgotten how capitalism works, that there are no free lunches, and that government handouts diminish liberty. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

The myth of 48% that doesn't pay federal income tax all votes liberal.

What a moron - and he wants to be president.

Rose_from_Swampland
Rose_from_Swampland

Who would have ever guessed that Mitt Romney's downfall would come from telling the truth? 

theoldkathy
theoldkathy

He has to talk so much now that he can't keep all the lies straight, so the truth is bound to slip out now and then.

(Hi Rose! :0) Nice to see you)

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

By the way, for those wh0 don't know David Corn was one of the first people to notice that outing a CIA agent to a sympathetic columnist might be legally problematic.  

Tracy Anderson
Tracy Anderson

I've always worked hard and always paid taxes. I've never been on welfare or any other kind of government assistance. I'm a responsible person, been married 35 years, mom of two, grandma of two. Up to this moment, I had not planned to vote for Romney, but I did not dislike him as a person. I hate the SOB now. What an ugly human being. 

theoldkathy
theoldkathy

 In the end, I often vote for the candidate I can stand to see in my living room on the evening news.  

Paul Dirks
Paul Dirks

nfl nailed it. Apparently in Romneyworld, no one is allowed to retire unless they've amassed a fortune. Damn freeloaders think they can quit working at 66!!

prOn_farr
prOn_farr

It's funny Romney is so circumspect around percentages when it comes to what he will do if he becomes president when it comes taxes or spending but he has a definitely number of Americans that he thinks of as lazy scum.

Lizabeth
Lizabeth

Don't get complacent.  There are plenty of people who agree with him and they will vote.

anon76returns
anon76returns

As long as it's less than 47%, I don't see the need to worry.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Agree about complacency but he's not that popular with the teavangelical base. Some may stay home since they didn't get a real conservative on the ballot (and they have no one to blame but themselves, they could've nominated someone else).

Gail Brockman
Gail Brockman

Perhaps Romney can use that Silver Spoon he was born with to extract his Silver Foot from his mouth.  Or, perhaps not.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Ann Richards smiled down at you.

deconstructiva
deconstructiva

Thanks, Alex. Remove Romney’s daily evasions and sugarcoatings to get the real Republican worldview, and it’s cruel and ugly. Okay, we commentariat already knew that, but maybe this will be the tipping point where the MSM shows the public the Real Mitt (and not the Real Mitt that Ann unzips per her famous remark in April). Congrats to David Corn for uncovering this, wish swampland reporters could scoop everyone on stuff like this. I wonder if Scherer had stayed at Mother Jones he would’ve beaten Corn to this.

Thomas K Nagano
Thomas K Nagano

"I [Willard Mitt Romney] want to make sure people understand, despite what the Democrats said at their convention, I am not reducing taxes on high-income taxpayers."

 -  Interview with David Gregory “Meet the Press”  September 9, 2012

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

Well if it wasn't already game over....

I humbly await whatever Topper can say to top this gaffe.

theoldkathy
theoldkathy

Glad to see you have this up.  I find this particularly infuriating - mostly because Romney's class think they don't get handouts from the government, when - as we know - most of them get a great deal. 

Have been thinking about this with Medicaid, in particular.  You could see this as a handout to the poor, or you could see it as a handout to the shareholders of companies that pay minimum wage and don't pay for health insurance.

nflfoghorn
nflfoghorn

How can he automatically morph those who get government help that they helped pay for all their lives with those who have "been on the welfare rolls" all their lives? 

Can't wait to see what the Ed Show says about this tonight!