Amid Video Controversy, Romney Punches Back

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JIM YOUNG / Reuters

Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign fundraiser in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sept. 18, 2012

Dallas, Texas

If Mitt Romney is panicking, it’s hard to tell. As Democrats salivate and Republicans squirm over a surreptitiously recorded video that shows Romney uttering politically fraught remarks to donors at a private fundraiser earlier this year, the Republican nominee is combating the onslaught by going back on attack.

The defiant posture is becoming Romney’s default mode of damage control — a mode he’s been in all too frequently of late. After critics accused him of politicizing the Middle Eastern embassy attacks last week, Romney dug in against President Obama’s handling of the crisis. Now, with a new group of detractors — including several prominent Republicans — growing increasingly anxious about the state of his campaign in the wake of damaging hidden-camera footage published by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, Romney has sought to re-frame the debate by using the clip to highlight the differences between his vision of government and Obama’s.

(MORE: Out on the Trail, Romney Broadens Foreign Policy Critique of Obama)

The video, reportedly captured during a May fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., depicts Romney making disparaging remarks about 47% of voters, dismissing the importance of discussing policy during a campaign, and expressing skepticism that Israelis and Palestinians will be able to broker peace. The backlash put his campaign on the defensive. Romney’s rapid response team even briefly resorted to highlighting a YouTube video of the candidate’s wife doing an interview with a Colorado TV station, titled “Ann Romney to Fox31: Mitt Doesn’t Disdain the Poor.”

At a fundraiser Tuesday in Salt Lake City, which was open to a small group of press, Romney criticized the President for promoting a “government-centered America.” During an interview with Fox’s Neil Cavuto, Romney expanded on the differences between the two candidates’ vision of the role of government. “I think a society based on a government-centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role…[is] the wrong course for America,” he said.

Romney’s campaign has sought to highlight the two candidates’ divergent governing philosophies by pointing to a newly surfaced 1998 video of Obama, then an Illinois state senator, telling a college audience in Chicago that he favored the redistribution of wealth. “I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution,” Obama says in the clip, promoted by conservative Internet impresario Matt Drudge, with whom the Romney campaign has close ties. “Because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure everybody’s got a shot.”

(MORE: The Two Campaigns of Mitt Romney)

But the 15-year old video did little Tuesday to deflect attention from the one roiling the presidential race. In a slapdash nighttime press conference Monday, Romney conceded that his remarks in the Mother Jones video were “not elegantly stated.” Jittery Northeastern Republicans like Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown and Connecticut Senate nominee Linda McMahon edged away from Romney’s comments Tuesday, and he was pummeled by stalwart members of the conservative press. “It’s time to admit the Romney campaign is an incompetent one,” wrote the Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan. Even vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan acknowledged his running mate’s misstep, in slightly stronger language than Romney himself used. “He was obviously inarticulate,” Ryan told a Nevada television station in an interview aired Tuesday.

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Sept. 7-14)

Aides concede that the aftermath has been challenging. But publicly, at least, they are intent on stressing that the campaign has not been thrown off course by the videos. Senior adviser Kevin Madden told reporters Tuesday that Romney was “focused” — a word he used eight times in the space of a single answer — and eager to get back to his economic argument. “What matters to voters is whether or not we’re going to have the answers they need about putting the economy back on track, put the country going back in the right direction, so I think that’s where our focus remains,” said Madden. “It’s a very close, hard-fought campaign. I think it will be all the way until Election Day.”

MORE: Video Captures Uncensored Mitt Romney at Fundraiser

106 comments
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JohnParish
JohnParish

Help support the change in the way election campaign funds

are raised.  Stop the Super Pacs from

steering the candidates and ruling the government. 

Come march on Congress and show them that the American

Population do not want candidates to be persuaded by these Super Pacs any more.

Visit www.indiegogo.com/SuperPac

and help raise the awareness of this problem.

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Jill Louis

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Douglas Neal
Douglas Neal

Is it illogical to ask about  "Representation without Taxation"  where half of the households or more pay no income tax and receive a government check?   I know this is an over-generalization, but you can see how it might result in a "tipping point" of voters electing politicians "soft" on gov't redistribution.  Europe certainly is beyond a "tipping point."

An 18% flat tax on income above the poverty line (and no deductions) would mostly solve the budget deficit and make sure everyone has "skin in the game."  Have a look at my write-up found here: http://gulfcoastcommentary.blo...

ChowT
ChowT

Romney is punching himself.

WarrenSpahn
WarrenSpahn

Thank you, Republicans, for putting up this utter moron and clown.

Four more years.

ChowT
ChowT

best of the best clown.

vstillwell
vstillwell

Reliant on government? I guess he's talking about Wall Street, corporate tax credits, bank bailouts, section 179 deductions, domestic production tax credits and an all volunteer military that fights to keep the oil flowing.  

It's alright to be reliant on government if you have your own private jet that's parked at a tax payer subsidized airport. It's not alright to get a pittance in food stamps when you're working 60 hours a week at low wage jobs that don't pay enough to provide the basics. These people are nothing but hypocrites with big tax-payer subsidized bank accounts. 

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

The biggest Republican lie (hard to choose) is that President Obama and the Democrats are anti-business, anti-free enterprise, anti-jobs, and are waging class warfare.  

This Romney video is class warfare at the extreme.  Business, free enterprise, jobs, a robust economy require a strong, sharing middle class. Romney is so 1900. He missed the TR progressive era.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

Romney is only in this race because of the electoral college, the most undemocratic part of our democracy.  In a popular vote, it was over before it began.  I will vote in Texas, knowing my vote means zilch for President Obama, and I will curse the electoral college, again.  The 2000 presidential election was a sign that it is long past time to eliminate the electoral college system.

pneogy
pneogy

I share your sentiments, but don't you think that the electoral college can sometimes prevent an egregious outcome?  Consider that whether 51% or 100% Texans vote against Obama, the damage to Obama, as far as the electoral votes are concerned, is the same.  But, as far as the popular vote is concerned, 100% wrongheaded Texans voting against Obama cause much more damage.

formerlyjamesm
formerlyjamesm

It took some time to understand what you are trying to say, and I am still not sure.  

A wild guess in Texas now would maybe be a 60/40 divide, and Texas is the reddest of red states, but I don't really know.  Never here or anywhere would it be 100%.  That is what threw me off and what I could not grasp in what you are saying.  

As for damage, there is none beyond the bottom line and losing.  I still fail to see your point here.

allthingsinaname
allthingsinaname

Hard to tell. I stopped reading right there. Thanks for theeffort though.

drinkeroftherye
drinkeroftherye

Mitt’s clueless.  We enjoy getting government services and benefits paid for by others.  Between  Clinton, Bush, and Obama, the Federal Income Tax is at record lows for lots of us.  The median income of nonpayers has increased by 40% over the last 9 years. The threshold at which a typical married couple with two children will likely be a nonpayer is now $49,000.  Add to that all the tax exceptions, credits and deductions enjoyed by most of us, adding about $3.5T to the federal debt over the next 10 years.  All that is before you look at the growing cost of SS and Medicare.  Clinton lost the argument for redistribution from the wealthy to the poor with the welfare reform.  Obama’s genius was reframing the argument to largely benefit the middle class.  That’s where the votes are.  I’m thinking we’re looking at years of Democratic majorities.  FORWARD

flprogressive
flprogressive

It is shocking that anyone could still think that Mitt Romney is qualified to be president after repeatedly asserting that half of the country is worthless, shiftless, parasitic and ought be ignored just because they are of meager wealth or did not vote for him. This is the likes of which we have never seen in modern American politics, a candidate writing off most of the nation as ungovernable and not worth his time. Being President means that you are President of all the people, even those that make less than a million bucks or did not support your campaign with fat checks. Since Romney has refused to offer any specifics of his prospective policies, this horrific series of closed-door rants is all we have to go on, and we have to assume this is the real Mitt.  sunstateactivist.org

drinkeroftherye
drinkeroftherye

Mitt’s clueless.  We enjoy getting government services and benefits paid for by others.  Between  Clinton, Bush, and Obama, the Federal Income Tax is at record lows for lots of us.  The median income of nonpayers has increased by 40% over the last 9 years. The threshold at which a typical married couple with two children will likely be a nonpayer is now $49,000.  Add to that all the tax exceptions, credits and deductions enjoyed by most of us, adding about $3.5T to the federal debt over the next 10 years.  All that is before you look at the growing cost of SS and Medicare.  Clinton lost the argument for redistribution from the wealthy to the poor with the welfare reform.  Obama’s genius was reframing the argument to largely benefit the middle class.  That’s where the votes are.  I’m thinking we’re looking at years of Democratic majorities.  FORWARD

Partha Neogy
Partha Neogy

"Romney punches back." 

Yeah. Concussed boxers are known to reflexively jab at the air.

drinkeroftherye
drinkeroftherye

Mitt’s clueless.  We enjoy getting government services and benefits paid for by others.  Between  Clinton, Bush, and Obama, the Federal Income Tax is at record lows for lots of us.  The median income of nonpayers has increased by 40% over the last 9 years. The threshold at which a typical married couple with two children will likely be a nonpayer is now $49,000.  Add to that all the tax exceptions, credits and deductions enjoyed by most of us, adding about $3.5T to the federal debt over the next 10 years.  All that is before you look at the growing cost of SS and Medicare.  Clinton lost the argument for redistribution from the wealthy to the poor with the welfare reform.  Obama’s genius was reframing the argument to largely benefit the middle class.  That’s where the votes are.  I’m thinking we’re looking at years of Democratic majorities.  FORWARD

drinkeroftherye
drinkeroftherye

Mitt’s clueless.  We enjoy getting government services and benefits paid for by others.  Between  Clinton, Bush, and Obama, the Federal Income Tax is at record lows for lots of us.  The median income of nonpayers has increased by 40% over the last 9 years. The threshold at which a typical married couple with two children will likely be a nonpayer is now $49,000.  Add to that all the tax exceptions, credits and deductions enjoyed by most of us, adding about $3.5T to the federal debt over the next 10 years.  All that is before you look at the growing cost of SS and Medicare.  Clinton lost the argument for redistribution from the wealthy to the poor with the welfare reform.  Obama’s genius was reframing the argument to largely benefit the middle class.  That’s where the votes are.  I’m thinking we’re looking at years of Democratic majorities.  FORWARD

drinkeroftherye
drinkeroftherye

Mitt’s clueless.  We enjoy getting government services and benefits paid for by others.  Between  Clinton, Bush, and Obama, the Federal Income Tax is at record lows for lots of us.  The median income of nonpayers has increased by 40% over the last 9 years. The threshold at which a typical married couple with two children will likely be a nonpayer is now $49,000.  Add to that all the tax exceptions, credits and deductions enjoyed by most of us, adding about $3.5T to the federal debt over the next 10 years.  All that is before you look at the growing cost of SS and Medicare.  Clinton lost the argument for redistribution from the wealthy to the poor with the welfare reform.  Obama’s genius was reframing the argument to largely benefit the middle class.  That’s where the votes are.  I’m thinking we’re looking at years of Democratic majorities.  FORWARD

lurch3
lurch3

Mitt Romney is a very rich man who is not used to others telling him he is wrong. So he digs his heels in and keeps on.

Old pig headed rich man.

AJ_Singh
AJ_Singh

So liberals jumped to Obama's defense over "You Didn't Build That" because he was talking in a general context but now they are going to parse Romney's words when the general point he is making is the blunt honest truth?

Ivy_B
Ivy_B

The difference is that we have the complete context of Romney's words as opposed to a sentence taken out of a longer statement by Obama.

drinkeroftherye
drinkeroftherye

Hey - Obama can look at both sides, he could have revered his "You Didn't Build That" and said:

If the government's been successful, we didn't get there on our own. I'm always struck by wonks who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something - there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If the government was successful, somebody along the line gave us some help. There was a great revolutionary somewhere in our history. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American government that we have. Somebody's company paved the roads and designed the bridges. We've got a government - but we didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The resources don't get invented on their own. Commercial activity had to create it.  All the companies and individuals made money so we could tax them."  FORWARD

Albin
Albin

Bless his chameleon soul, in having this revealed at this time in the campaign, Romney inadvertently Krazy Glued his famous Etch-A-Sketch to his famous Republican Base.  The Base agrees with everything Romney said, but he's alienated the majority of hard-working Americans, active and retired, who now pay or did pay a higher annual rate of overall taxes than Romney ever has or ever will. 

Romney can't shake up and redraw the Etch-A-Sketch without tearing an ugly strip off the Base.

1adfk2
1adfk2

Ryan and Romney don't seem to understand is that the measure of man's character is what he does when "no one" is watching, and in this case, listening. Romney's delivery, tone and words at the fundraiser seemed completely genuine. Now, in public, he presents the plastic Romney he so deseperately wants us to embrace. Well, the curtain was pulled back Oz, and what we saw was not good.

lurch3
lurch3

The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good. ~ Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

ChowT
ChowT

Writing a big chunk of a country's voters reminds me of Pirate capitalism.

Something like a asset stripper.

Of which Mitt Romney is an expert.

IF Romney wins, he will asset strip America for the 1%.

The 99% will eat cake.

gysgt213
gysgt213

Obama Opens Up Wide National Lead

A new Pew Research survey finds President Obama now leads Mitt Romney nationally by eight points among likely voters, 51% to 43%.

"Not only does Obama enjoy a substantial lead in the horserace, he tops Romney on a number of key dimensions. His support is stronger than his rival's, and is positive rather than negative. Mitt Romney's backers are more ardent than they were pre-convention, but are still not as enthusiastic as Obama's. Roughly half of Romney's supporters say they are voting against Obama rather than for the Republican nominee."

http://politicalwire.com/archi... 

MrObvious
MrObvious

Makes sense; righties are getting more frantic and regular folks are getting turned off by the plastic GWB wannabe Romney and can't see what the base are yelling about.

When the unreality disconnects let go both candidates are bound to float apart.

After all - Dems are the ones with ideas, GOP just want to continue saying no.

JBELLESI317
JBELLESI317

“I think a society based on a government-centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role…[is] the wrong course for America,” - -AMERICA

“Because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure everybody’s got a shot.” -- EUROPE

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

"All the activists, party supporters and big donors should be pushing for change." - WSJ Noonan 

 

VOTE the DEMOCRATIC TICKET to TAKE BACK AMERICA, for AMERICA'S MIDDLE CLASS!

romano71
romano71

What is really shocking to me was the disdain these people have for our nation's poorest. It is a sense of entitlement, a sense they are "better" than the rest of us. Disgusting...

lurch3
lurch3

Mostly Christians, they say they are anyway.

Proverbs 17:5

He who mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker; whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished­.

BobJan
BobJan

As citizens of the US of A out first and foremost plan should be to rid the country of our Congress. All 535 of them are blood sucking vermin who pit one crowd against another while they suck up to the rich. And if they really liked America and it's citizens they would ban lobbyists from their outright buying and selling of Congress. But nope. They will never do it. The Congressional feeding trough is just to good to banish. Congress only cares about people with lots and lots of money. Anybody here go to a $50,000.00 plate dinner for Obama or Romney? I thought not. Get it in plain view. They don't care for the 99%. They don't have the money the 1% does. The 1% is redistributing the wealth to the Congress. Why are all the advantages going to the children of people in Congress. Money, money, money and more money. You think that Romneys children are hard workers. How about Chelsae Clinton, is she a real hard worker. Or the Bush's are they real hard workers. Get a life and see that the Congress is the poison that is killing the country. They couldn't find their butt if they had both hands on it.

akpat
akpat

Here is what is wrong with the tax situation:

 Jack Bogle Vanguard creator: I think you can do a lot with tax policy. Income earned by the

sweat of your brow should be taxed at the lowest rates, not the highest.

Capital gains should be taxed at a higher rate. You could have a

transfer tax on stocks to slow down trading. About 60% of all US stock

market investment isn’t even taxed at all, because it comes from pension

funds, or endowment funds, or mutual funds, which are either tax exempt

or passing on taxes to customers after taking their profits. I think we

should also do away with carried interest exemptions for hedge fund

managers. They pay the capital gains rate [for their work], not the

income tax rate. So, you’ve got a system in which the richest

capitalists are paying the lowest tax rates. That’s just wrong. It

should be changed.

mdg
mdg

"I loved Michelle Obama’s line in her speech: 'A presidency reveals who you are.' So do campaigns. And mark me down as one Republican not happy with what is being revealed about Mitt Romney.--Mark McKinnon, Republican strategist and Bush campaign aide.

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

STOP the GRIDLOCK in Washington.  TAKE BACK the USA for the MIDDLE CLASS as ONLY the DEMOCRATS WILL DO.  

VOTE the DEMOCRATIC TICKET!

groovecity
groovecity

Wow look at the ALL CAPS!! If you weren't a liberal you'd be swarmed by the ALL CAPS police.

ChowT
ChowT

Give Obama a bigger mandate and get the GOPers Out.

Susan Burke
Susan Burke

Mitt Romney's parents were part of the 47%

You can't make this stuff up....on The Daily show last night, Jon Stewart played a clip of Mitt Romney's mother talking about the early days when she and George were on welfare relief....the government was there for them and they got on their feet....I don't think inflicting Mitt on us was a very nice way of thanking us though!!!!

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

"If Mitt Romney is panicking, it’s hard to tell... The defiant posture is becoming Romney’s default mode of damage control..."

There's a small flaw in your thesis.

Annette Levan
Annette Levan

 Romney - Get America working

Obama - Keep people of Food Stamps

MrObvious
MrObvious

Romney selling out our last industries to China while giving the very richest more tax breaks.

ChowT
ChowT

Romney = make more money himself + his cronies.

DonQuixotic
DonQuixotic

Romney - Give tax cuts to the rich

Obama - Support the middle and lower class

Susan Burke
Susan Burke

Mitt Romney's parents were part of the 47%

You can't make this stuff up....on The Daily show last night, Jon Stewart played a clip of Mitt Romney's mother talking about the early days when she and George were on welfare relief....the government was there for them and they got on their feet....I don't think inflicting Mitt on us was a very nice way of thanking us though!!!!