And so the ‘Romneyshambles’ rolls on…

Here’s the video footage of US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addressing a private fundraising event:

And here’s the killer quotes:

“There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that 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 that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what … Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect … so my job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful….”

It’s a pretty staggering statement — a politician running for office writing off almost half the electorate as ‘victims’ not worth worrying about. It’s true of course that a message of low taxes is unlikely personally to connect with folk who don’t pay taxes to begin with, but the disdain he shows for vast swathes of the public is breathtaking. The scale of the gaffe is such that even Mitt Romney’s own dig-your-own-hole defence of his comments is unutterably weak. I’d always assumed that, whatever else might be said about Mitt Romney, he’s a smart guy. Not so much, it seems.

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.

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  • “… the disdain he shows for vast swathes of the public is breathtaking.”

    The fact that he said it in public may be breathtaking, but surely you realise that a lot of people think like that?

  • Liberal Neil 18th Sep '12 - 11:20am

    He’s toast, surely?

  • David from Ealing 18th Sep '12 - 1:44pm

    I’m not so sure. As Chris says, a lot of people think like that and the Americans have elected some terrible Presidents. I think the election will be closer than we think, but Obama will win.

  • Paul in Twickenham 18th Sep '12 - 1:58pm

    Bain capital (the company that Romney co-founded and used to run) has a well-known MO: they buy perfectly good companies, then front-loading them with debt, take hefty dividends and then let the company collapse into bankruptcy.

    That’s not me saying that – it’s Newt Gingrich during the Republican candidate debates.

    There’s an excellent article about Bain Capital on the Washington Post website :

    It is an interesting insight into Romney’s worldview that he made a fortune by using financial wizardry to destroy sound businesses that employed many US citizens and then lambasts those same citizens for having the audacity to be unemployed. The word “sociopath” does spring to mind.

  • Liberal Eye 18th Sep '12 - 2:56pm


    It’s plain old-fashioned asset stripping.

    BTW does Romney pay HIS income tax? Last time I heard he was refusing to publish his tax returns and that can only be because they hide something nasty.

  • With foreign policy and trade linked as it cynics have been known to refer to Britain as the 51st State – a joke that is not entirely without substance. If Romney is elected will we still be laughing ?

  • Richard Swales 19th Sep '12 - 9:31pm

    But there is a payroll vote in any country and it’s a big part of why the LibDem poll ratings have fallen.

  • Richard Swales 19th Sep '12 - 9:34pm

    The other interesting thing is that (given he thinks he’s fighting over 5 to ten percent only) he also holds the unstated assumption that about 45 percent will vote against the president “no matter what”. Given US elections tend to have fairly low turnout I would say hiss general analysis of what is going on is wrong – no one group is guaranteed to all go and vote anyway, let alone for the same candidate.

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