At a fundraiser in Orange County Monday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney sought today to explain comments that were secretly recorded at a previous fundraiser where he described half the nation as “dependent on government, who believe that they are victims.''
Speaking at a hastily called news conference before a fundraiser at the Segerstrom Concert Hall in Costa Mesa, Romney said his comments were ``not elegantly stated,'' saying he was ``speaking off the cuff in response to a question.''
"I'm sure I can state it more clearly, in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that,'' Romney said. ``I'm sure I'll point that out as time goes on.''
The video, said to be taken at a May 17 fundraiser at the Boca Raton, Fla. home of private equity manager Marc Leder, was released Monday on the website of the magazine Mother Jones.
In it 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 on 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's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them.''
Romney later said, ``my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.''
At the news conference, Romney said he hoped the person ``who has the
video would put out the full material,'' including the question and full
The Obama campaign quickly sought to capitalize on the video.
Campaign manager Jim Messina said it was ``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,'' Messina said.
The Obama campaign also sent out a fundraising email with the subject line, ``You won't believe this,'' with Messina saying Romney ``demonstrates such disgust and disdain for half of our fellow Americans.''
The fundraiser raised more than $3 million, KCAL9 reported. Tickets began at $1,000. Donors who gave $50,000 or raised $100,000 received two tickets to a private reception, two tickets to a photo reception, the opportunity to have their photo taken with Romney and four tickets to the general reception.
-City News Service
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Does Romney have a point about American entitlement? Or are his comments disdainful of the people he seeks to represent?