Romney explains himself

Governor Romney appeared this afternoon on Fox News to address the kerfuffle that arose as a result of his comments to potential donors on the video (released yesterday) that we discussed in class.  As you know, Romney was criticized by both Democrats and some Republicans for saying the 47% Americans believe they are “victims who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they’re entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it.”   Governor Romney went on to say, “my job is not to worry about those people.  I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for for their lives.”

So in the following selection from his television interview this afternoon, Governor Romney attempts to explain his remarks on the video and his overall position on the role of government in the US.  Do you believe that Romney has sufficiently addressed this topic and that it will no longer be an issue in the campaign?




13 responses to “Romney explains himself”

  1. katiepetrino4 says :

    No, the Governor has not sufficiently explained himself and this will continue to be an issue for the remainder of his campaign. Like Popkin said, there is no “silver bullet” that will take a candidate down for good, but it will be very difficult for Romney to come back from this. Even members from his own party are criticizing his comments, including David Brooks and Bill Kristol, who called the remarks, “stupid and arrogant.” I can’t agree more. According to NPR (, roughly 10% of the 47% are the elderly. As AARP is the largest interest group in the country, Governor Romney has more explaining to do. Furthermore, this video supports President Obama’s claims that the governor is ruthless, out of touch, and unfit to lead. President Obama has said (to paraphrase) that though not everyone agrees with him, he is a leader and fights for everyone.
    During the 2008 campaign, then Senator Obama made similar remarks about a small town in rural Pennsylvania. However, that was seven months before Election Night, giving Obama plenty of time to paint a different picture of himself. Now, Governor Romney has 49 days.

  2. Lizzie1 says :

    The biggest problem I have with Romney’s statement is that people with assistance from the government do not “take personal responsibility and care for for their lives.” He did not address that in this interview, and I think it is necessary for him to retract the statement in order to not let this taint his campaign. As a potential president, he needs to be in touch with the American people, because it will inform his domestic policy. If he does not recognize that there are other factors of poverty besides one’s personal motivation (or lack thereof), then Romney can win some of those voters. If he uses the days leading up the election to show the American people that he can understand their hardships, and also think about how he is portrayed, hope is not lost for Romney.

    • govrobin1 says :

      I agree with both Katie and Lizzie. As Popkin did say there is no “silver bullet” but like we talked about in class, I don’t believe that this news will slip into the background within a week. I think it is a stain on Romney’s campaign and although he handled the interview well, there were still subjects he avoided. First off as Lizzie mention, he avoided talking about his comment that people who get assistance from the government don’t “take personal responsibility and care for their lives”. That was one of the main things that stood out to me in the recording as insulting and demeaning to Americans who receive government assistance and he should have at least apologized. Furthermore, he seemed to repeat the same thing consistently about redistribution and how that is not what he believes in, which I thought was good because he stuck to his ideas and platform. All in all, though it was a flaw in the campaign, you can’t count Romney out because of this “slip-up”.

  3. marytravers4 says :

    I don’t think we can know definitively if this will cost Romney the election until election night. As we learned from Popkin, the political landscape is always changing, and who knows what will happen in the next 49 days. However, as soon as a candidate has to stop campaigning and back track to defend previous comments he’s loosing valuable time and more importantly accepting the attack. This case is different because it’s Mitt on Mitt, but I think he may have one too many gaffes to recover from like when he said, “I’m not concerned about the very poor,” or when he tried to bet Gov. Rick Perry 10,000. These electrifying comments detract from his message and are publicized for their negativity.

  4. Tanya4 says :

    Although I do think that Romney’s responses were eloquent (the questions were also obviously catered to him by Fox News) I think that this interview will have little to no impact for him on the campaign trail. Instead of apologizing for his remarks in Boca Raton, he goes on to “justify” them while unintentionally contradicting himself. “I believe the right course for America is one where government steps in to help those in need…we are compassionate people” Obviously if Romney thought that stepping in to help people was the correct response, he wouldn’t have referred to forty seven percent of the population receiving federal aid as moochers. From his foreign policy missteps, his vacillating opinions, and to now finally this unearthed tape I truly think that this is the end for Romney. How could he even think that he had any chance of victory after alienating about half of America?

  5. Kunaal7 says :

    What Mitt Romney said at the private donor meeting was politically incorrect, but an honest answer. It will be hard to publically defend a statement that put down an entire group of voters. There was nothing more that Romney could have said in his defense. Mitt Romney attempted to put himself back on offensive by highlighting Obama’s redistribution of wealth. Romney mentioned the “great divide” in the country between those who want to take wealth and pass it around and those who want to earn money for themselves. Then, Romney talked about having too many people on food stamps. “Americans falling into poverty…I want to get people back to work”. He said he wants more people to qualify to pay taxes. Experts think that his statement will cost him senior citizen’s votes that don’t pay income taxes but do not support Obama due to Obama-care. Personally, I feel this issue will die down within a few weeks and the focus will shift back to the current shape of the economy. His remarks will do little to persuade independent and undecided voters to vote for President Obama. Behind closed doors, Romney was not afraid of telling the truth, and this may create a positive impact on intellectual voters.

  6. natek7 says :

    I think don’t think that Mitt Romney has explained himself enough and this will definitely be issue for his campaign especially with the presidential debates nearing. The comments made by Romney in the video will make it even easier for the Democrats to portray Romney as out of touch with the middle class. That being said I do think Romney has done his best to minimize the damage of these remarks. He has not backed away from any of the statements he said in the video, which has earned him some respect from Republicans.

  7. eddiemeyercord4 says :

    Popkin described a Presidential campaign as “an unraveling of mistakes”, and I think the leak of the now-infamous video is going to be a pretty crucial blunder. Both Republicans and Democrats have been quick to acknowledge it is irresponsible to claim the 47% of Americans who don’t pay income tax in turn don’t have “personal responsibility and care for their lives.” (Many people who don’t pay income tax are retired, elderly, have payroll taxes, etc.) Mitt Romney himself even admits in his interview with Foxnews that his point was ineloquently spoken, and made a valiant effort to try and turn the conversation towards the role of government in a general sense. However, I think the irreparable damage of this video comes from its setting and Mitt’s condescending tone of voice. While high-profile fundraisers attended by high-rollers in lavish settings are undoubtedly held by both political parties (see Obama’s exclusive fundraiser in NYC on Tuesday with Jay-Z and Beyonce), it is very rare when behind-the-scenes comments or even videos are leaked for all the public to view (see Obama’s comments about Pennsylvania Republicans clinging to guns and religion in 2008). But unlike Obama, Romney’s comments sounded like something “self-satisfied millionaires say to each other”, as David Brooks put it. Romney’s image as a smug rich businessman from a privileged background is only going to be magnified by this video, and I think will hurt his support from middle class voters.

  8. Chad4 says :

    I find it very hard to rule out Governor Romney in this election. I don’t think it even comes into question that those remarks were just blatantly inappropriate; however, as Katie pointed out, President Obama also made contested remarks during the 2008 campaign. Yet Governor Romney needs to realize that he can move past this blemish, much like President Obama did in 2008, and return to the issues at hand: food stamps, unemployment, Medicare, taxes, and the budget crisis. If Governor Romney can convince Americans that President Obama is turning the United States into what he calls “a government-centered society,” I think the race has only just begun.

  9. Christina4 says :

    I obviously have litle sympathy for Mitt Romney here. I think that Governor Romney’s attempt at explaining himself was ill-contrived but he was just practicing his usual pandering to the people who are donating hundreds of millions of dollars to his campaign. He has a lot of trouble fundraising without coming out looking clean. But in terms of ruling him out, well just ask Nate Silver on the fivethirtyeight blog, Romney has less than 25% chance of winning

    Fun fact, Mitt Romney’s father was on welfare when his family moved back from Mexico….

  10. jack7 says :

    I think it is safe to assume that both candidates, and all presidential candidates of the social media age where videos like this one can go viral in a matter of seconds, speak candidly to many voters when they assume their comments will remain private. Therefore, the leaked video did not come as a surprise to me, but I still can’t feel sorry for Mitt Romney, because his intention was clear: keep the campaign funded. However, this will only alienate the people he offended even more because it publicizes his self-contradiction and shows that he may, in fact, have little respect or sympathy for the 47% of voters that are exempt from taxes. I don’t think this one will blow over any time soon. The remarks may have been “inelegant”, but they were honest, and that is exactly what will resonate with both supporters and opponents of the Romney campaign. I don’t think that there is much else for Mitt to do frankly; at this point anything will just be damage control.

  11. Carolyn4 says :

    I have very little sympathy for Romney. Election day is five weeks away and Romney is still putting his foot in his mouth. It’s understandable to admit where he is aiming his campaign, but to address 47% of the country and claim that they don’t “care for their lives” is both rude and unnecessary. If his goal is to gain as many votes as possible, why would he demean half of the country? There is no way he could redeem himself for this comment and I personally think comments like these will prove very detrimental and discourage voters to check off his name in November.

    • bump7 says :

      In Governor Romney’s leaked speech he says that these 47% of people think they are “entitled” to food, I find this to be a ridiculous. The purpose of government is to care for its people and at the very least government should be able to feed its people. By saying this not only has Romney lost that 47% of the people he has already written off but he will now lose more voters who feel they are also “entitled” to food. I feel this speech will cause Romney huge problems as the campaign goes on and it continues to show Romney’s lack of commitment in helping middle class America. He claims himself to be a businessman and in business every dollar counts, in presidential elections every vote counts.

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