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.