Shocking new videos released Monday by David Corn of Mother Jones reveal Mitt Romney at a private fundraiser speaking candidly about American voters. In voice now familiar to the American people — but in a tone much more direct than what we typically hear — Romney said:
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 believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That 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. … [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
The GOP nominee is referring a percentage oft quoted by conservatives who refer to those Americans who pay no federal taxes as “lucky duckies.” He doesn’t point that most of those people pay payroll taxes. The rest are unemployed, disabled or retired.
The idea that a man who refuses to show voters how much he has paid in taxes on the millions he’s earned calling his fellow citizens “freeloaders” is sending shocks all over the media. Josh Barro, a conservative columnist at Bloomberg, concluded within hours of seeing the video that Mitt Romney lost the election today.
President Obama learned his own lesson about the power of video filmed in private to surface and upset a campaign in 2008. However that was one brief comment, early in primary. Romney’s diatribe, released 59 days before the general election, seems to confirm a widely held suspicion that he’s “a sneering plutocrat.”
Jim Messina, campaign manager of Obama for America, responded to the tapes with a statement:
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. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.
The Romney campaign refused to back down on the comments in a statement from Gail Gitcho, Romney Campaign Communications Director:
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.
Romney himself followed up later in the evening in a few questions from the press. He attacked the president’s approach and saying that his comments were not elegantly stated as they were off the cuff.
The clips from the private Romney fundraiser all provide startling insight into a candidate who has closely guarded his true feelings as he tries to find an approach that works with the small percentage of voters he believes are still persuadable.
At this point, you almost expect Todd Akin to seize the moment to ask Mitt Romney to step aside for the good of the Republican Party.