17th September, 2012
Mitt Romney faced a new campaign storm on Monday after the release of secretly filmed video in which he told rich donors that nearly half of Americans were dependent “victims” who didn’t pay taxes.
President Barack Obama’s campaign quickly seized on the controversy, which erupted after a string of tough days for the Republican’s campaign, questioning how Romney could serve as president having written off half his nation.
In the excerpts of video posted by the left-leaning Mother Jones magazine, Romney is seen to say in a closed-door, private fundraiser, that 47 percent of Americans will vote for the president “no matter what.”
“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.”
“These are people who pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
The provenance of the video could not be independently confirmed. Mother Jones streamed the images on its website and said identities of people in them were blurred, and the venue of the meeting was obscured to protect its source.
The explosive comments are the latest in a long line of comments by Romney that have complicated his attempts to shed an image framed by Obama’s campaign that he is a multi-millionaire businessman out of touch with the middle class.
Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina pounced on the excerpts, which come as the president enjoys a small but clear lead in the national race and in battleground states 50 days before the general election.
“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,” he said.
“It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”
There was no immediate comment from the Romney campaign. Romney’s head is the only aspect of the camera shot that can be clearly discerned in the video.(AFP)