In Leaked Video, Romney Says He Can’t Convince ‘Victim’ Voters
(NEW YORK) -- Leaked video of Republican nominee Mitt Romney at a closed-door fund raiser sometime earlier this year that purport to show him using some very different talking points from the ones he tends to use publicly. Gov. Romney can be heard in the videos saying that “no matter what” he does, 47 percent of the population is going to vote for Obama because they are, “are dependent upon government.”
In one portion of the speech Romney says he, “was born with a silver spoon” but in other he says he “inherited nothing.”
The video clips, which were posted by the liberal site Mother Jones, show Romney telling donors that 47 percent of voters will chose Obama “no matter what” because they are people, "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."
"My job is not to worry about those people," Romney says in the video. "I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
In a statement Monday, the Romney campaign said he cares about all voters.
"Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy," said spokeswoman Gail Gitcho. "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."
Portions of the video were posted anonymously on YouTube while longer, but still incomplete, versions were posted on Monday by Mother Jones, which claims it "has confirmed its authenticity." ABC News has not thus far been able independently to validate the authenticity of the clips.
The Obama campaign responded swiftly and harshly to the comments.
"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," Jim Messina, Obama for America campaign manager, said in a statement. "It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."
The tapes are, as Mother Jones reports, from fund raisers, "which occurred after Romney had clinched the Republican presidential nomination," although it is not specified when or where the fundraiser was. The clips have been edited into 38-second to one-and-a-half minute chunks.
In the series of leaked videos, Romney also tells supporters that if he, "had he been born of Mexican parents, "I’d have a better shot of winning this," that he. "was born with a silver spoon -- which is the greatest gift you can have: which is to get born in America," and that he "inherited nothing" from his wealthy father.
"My dad and Ann’s dad did quite well in their lives, but when they came to the end of their lives and passed along the inheritances to Ann and to me, we both decided to give it all away," Romney says. "So I have inherited nothing. Everything Ann and I have we have earned the old fashioned way."
Romney explains to the campaign donors that he has not been harsher in his attacks against President Obama because he is trying to win over people who voted for Obama in 2008.
"And because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they were wrong, that he’s a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he’s corrupt," Romney says. "Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn’t up to the task." Critics would argue, however, that those talking points are just what the Republican base wants to hear.
On the economy, Romney said the markets would react favorably if he won the White House on Nov. 6.
“We’ll see -- without actually doing anything -- we’ll actually get a boost in the economy,” he says, admitting two sentences later that he, "can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected."
And while the Republican candidate’s campaign said Monday that he would start offering more specifics about his policies, Romney said during this fundraiser that, "in a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject -- discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn’t win elections."
Like President Obama, Romney lets press into some parts of his fund raisers that are held at public venues. Often, reporters are allowed for one part of a three-part event. When fund raisers are held at private homes, the press is barred altogether. The types of question-and-answer sessions that are captured in these videos are generally closed to the press.
President Obama similarly does not allow press to sit in on question-and-answer sessions, and most political experts know comments tossed as "red meat" to big donors -- on either side of the political aisle -- won't play as well to an open audience.
The Romney campaign announced earlier Monday, before Mother Jones posted the videos, that cameras would now be allowed into fund raisers at public venues.
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