Washington: In what may spell fresh troubles for Mitt Romney and his staggering presidential campaign, a video tape showing him talking bluntly about the Americans supporting President Obama came out in the open on Tuesday.
Romney dubbed Obama`s voters as "victims", living off govt handouts.
In the video that was published online by an investigative magazine named Mother Jones, Romney is shown talking to a group of wealthy donors funding his campaign.
Romney is shown saying that 47 % of Obama’s supporters never pay tax and “believe they are victims”.
“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,” Romney said.“These are people who pay no income tax.”
Speaking in a scornful manner, Romney further derided Obama’s voters saying that it was not his job to worry about such people and he will “never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives”.
The Republican presidential nominee is seen talking rather bluntly and disparagingly about the people who support Obama, contradictory to what he talks like in public.
Defending his remarks that could cause a major dent in his presidential campaign, Romney said that his remarks were not “elegantly stated”.
Speaking before a fundraiser on Monday night in Costa Mesa, Calif., Romney sought to clarify his “off the cuff” comments, insisting that the full video should be released, instead of the clips posted online. However Romney didn’t deny the authenticity of the tape.
"It`s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I`m sure I could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that," Romney said. "Of course I want to help all Americans. All Americans have a bright and prosperous future."
With just 50 days to go for the presidential election in November, Romey’s disparaging remarks could possibly wean away many a voters.
Obama’s campaign was quick to seize the opportunity, calling it “shocking” for a presidential candidate to speak like that.
“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,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement.
Romney`s comments from the video could also be highlighted in Obama campaign’s television advertisements, said an Obama adviser.
Romney`s 2010 federal tax returns show he paid a tax rate of about 14 percent on an annual income of $21 million. The vast majority of his income came from investments, which are taxed at a lower rate than wages. His wealth has been estimated as high as $250 million.
Democrats have tried to make an issue of what Romney pays in taxes and what he is willing to divulge about his taxes and investments.
Romney, the multimillionaire Republican businessman has often been criticized as out of touch by the Democrats. And his latest remark follows a string of comments made by the Republican before.
During the primary campaign, Romney insisted that he was "not concerned" about the very poor, said he knew what it felt like to worry about being "pink-slipped," and said that his wife drove a "couple of Cadillacs." Aides to Obama`s campaign said the latest video would help them continue to make the case that Romney doesn`t understand the concerns of average Americans.
"It`s a message which I am going to carry and continue to carry, which is that the president`s approach is attractive to people who are not paying taxes because, frankly, my discussion about lowering taxes isn`t as attractive to them," Romney said. "Therefore I`m not likely to draw them into my campaign as effectively as those in the middle."
With Agency Inputs