Your morning jolt: Mitt Romney disavows ‘47 percent’ remarks as ‘completely wrong’

One day after a well-praised performance in a debate with President Barack Obama, Republican nominee Mitt Romney disavowed as “completely wrong” his contention that the 47 percent of Americans who receive federal benefits are overly dependent on government:

From the Associated Press:

The original remarks, secretly recorded during a fundraiser in May and posted online in September by the magazine Mother Jones, sparked intense criticism of Romney and provided fodder to those who portray him as an out-of-touch millionaire oblivious to the lives of average Americans. The remarks became a staple of Obama campaign criticism.

Initially, Romney defended his view, telling reporters at a news conference shortly after the video was posted that his remarks were “not elegantly stated” and that they were spoken “off the cuff.” He didn’t disavow them, however, and later adopted as a response when the remarks were raised that his campaign supports “the 100 percent in America.”

In an interview Thursday night with Fox News, Romney was asked what he would have said had the “47 percent” comments come up during his debate in Denver on Wednesday night with President Barack Obama.

“Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right,” Romney said. “In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.”

He added: “And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that’s been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent.”

Under the assumption that anything uttered by either presidential candidate at this stage is premeditated, and given Romney’s empahsis on bipartisanship during the debate, you have to assume this is a concerted effort to move the Republican candidate back to the center for the final 30 days of the campaign.

Asked for his reaction to Romney’s walk-back, U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Marietta, offered Soledad O’Brien a sports metaphor. From Politico.com:

“The Republican, the conservative candidate in the primary is always gonna lean right and come back to the center for the general,” the Georgia Republican said on CNN’s “Starting Point.” “The opposite for the Democrat, that’s all you’re seeing here. It’s very typical.”…

“When the coach gives that pep talk, it’ll be maybe a little different what he says to the running back than what he says to the lineman, but they’re all on the same team, you have to pull everyone together,” he said. “And that’s all Mitt Romney is doing.”

***
Wednesday’s debate has caused Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal to revise her assessment of September’s “incompetent” Mitt Romney:

America got its first, sustained look at the good and competent Mr. Romney. And it really was a first. He wasted his convention but showed up for his debate, and an estimated 58 million people were watching. Many of them were taking his measure for the first time. What did they see? He was confident, gracious, in command of the facts. He looked like a president, acted like one. He was easily the incumbent’s equal and maybe more than that, so he became for the first time a real alternative to the incumbent, a living one, not just a name on a ballot.

***
On Thursday, Attorney General Sam Olens held a conference call with reporters to explain the instructions he gave this week to State School Superintendent John Barge, on the need for local school systems to stay out of the charter school campaign.

My AJC colleague Wayne Washington has the details here.

Opposition to the proposed constitutional amendment, which will be on the Nov. 6 ballot, may be strongest in rural Georgia, where cuts to education have had a larger impact.

Olens declared that taxpayer money may not be used to campaign against – or for – the amendment. One example immediately pointed out by charter school proponents was a letter that Sharon Sewell, mayor of Bremen, sent to city residents.

Bremen has its own city school system with 6,000 students. From Sewell’s letter:

This amendment has nothing to do with charter schools as I have thought them to be. Local boards of education along with the communities in which they serve can already authorize charter schools.

This amendment offers the opportunity for the state to bypass locally elected boards to create a state commission that that strips local voters, parents and local officials of any authority, placing it instead in the hands of state politicians. It also diverts our tax money from funding our local public schools to for-profit state charter school management companies who may be more concerned about shareholder profits than student performance.

….As my friends, I want to say to you that I am horrified by the greed for power that is being demonstrated in our state and federal governments. We have got to stand up, stand together, be informed and seek the truth. Sadly, truth is hard to find. The trunk of this nation is being attacked by parasites wanting to thrive at the expense of the roots holding the health of the American tree. We still have the chance to make a choice to make a change. If not us, then who? If not now, then when? If not America, then what?

May God have mercy on us, grant us grace and inspire us to stand and not blink. I am deeply grateful for you and I love living here with you.

Sewell said this morning, in a telephone interview, that she regularly sends messages to residents via their water bills, and said that no extra public expense was involved.

“Every month, I write to our people about something that’s on my mind. My people simply need to know what they’re voting for or against,” she said. “I think that an informed populace is very important.

“The frightening part of this is that the people who created this charter school amendment would just soon everybody not know. That is the most frightening part of all,” the mayor said.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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306 comments Add your comment

Just a taxpayer

October 5th, 2012
8:09 am

What a buffoon. He obviously is lying to someone.

Mark

October 5th, 2012
8:21 am

Can you beleive this guy? What Flip Flopper!

NoahVale

October 5th, 2012
8:33 am

@ Mark
October 5th, 2012
8:21 am
“Can you beleive this guy? What Flip Flopper!”

You and those like you, are the same ones who excoriated Gov. Romney for making the 47% remark and now, trash him again for apologizing. In your skewed thinking pattern, he can’t win either way. You are apart of the 47% Gov. Romney knows will never vote for him no matter what he does or says.

GAPeach

October 5th, 2012
8:33 am

The truth is that most of Romney’s “base” believes this 47% freeloader business, whether they happen to be in the 47% or in the 1% of the wealthiest. Why should Romney start disavowing it now? Oh right, it’s the election.

intowner

October 5th, 2012
8:34 am

Two flip-flops this week – immigration/Dream kids and now most everyone else. Not sure this is a record, but it ain’t bad.

There is an interesting article in the latest New Yorker on the billionaires lined up against Obama and why they so despise him. It explained why Romney’s 47% pitch was so on-target. In the beginning I understood their position; by the end of the article they were nothing more than whining me-too’s, self-absorbed and self-serving, and not too far off-message in arrogant conceit from some of the gang-banging hood’sters I hear when they prance and preen walking down my street.

Honestly, when did the ethos of this country go sooooo far of the freakin’ rails… ?

justjanny

October 5th, 2012
8:35 am

Suprise, surprise! Typical politician…will say anything to get elected Intelligent Americans will see through this revelation…all 47, oops, I mean, 100 percent of us!

Angus

October 5th, 2012
8:37 am

Romney doesn’t give an ish about the 47%….but neither does Obama.

For a point of reference though, note that Georgia has the second highest percentage of 47%’ers in the nation.

Carry on.

curious

October 5th, 2012
8:42 am

Ask any white person in Georgia who makes up the 47% and the answer will be blacks and illegal immigrants.

Madge From Accounting

October 5th, 2012
8:46 am

I didn’t hear Romney apologize. What I heard him say was that it was “taken completely wrong”. IMO the only thing he’s guilty of is telling the truth, the first time; and trying to renege on it the second time.

Oh wait, that would make him a Class A Flip Flopper.

Obvious

October 5th, 2012
8:47 am

@Mark – flip flopper? How about, “Yeah, that was wrong – my bad.” I’m willing to accept that. I think it’s a good thing to have folks change their mind and state why.

Especially if you said something stupid. I say stupid stuff all the time.

jconservative

October 5th, 2012
8:49 am

Unemployment rate just came out – 7.8%. Bad news for Romney and the Republican campaign.

The Republican House, Senate and presidential campaign have hollered for 4 years about unemployment being over 8%. Now it is under 8%. Expect a bounce for Obama in the polls.

John

October 5th, 2012
8:49 am

You OBAMA groupies, keep drinking that kool-aid, OBAMA is giving you, but dont be crying if he is re-elected and then tells you,” SUCKA! Drank the kool aid dindn’t ya!” What Romney meant was no different than a die hard Falcons fan, wishing the Saints good-luck, just wont never happen! I mean why would any of the 47% vote for a man wanting you to work for what you get, and no longer have the other half pay your mortgage and food…. It is all about ENTITLEMENT! You thank we owe you!

shorty

October 5th, 2012
8:49 am

curious – I am a white girl who lives in Georgia and I fall into the 47% category. Stop generalizing, all you are doing is adding to the problem.

Secondly, of course he comes out TWO WEEKS later to address this comment? No matter what he says, I will never be able to stand with a party who wants to tell women what to do with their bodies and has a problem with gay marriage.

Peggy

October 5th, 2012
8:50 am

Now he is going too far. Just because Romney won the debate and is flying high right does not mean he can just dismiss a major statement he is on tape saying. That’s as bad as him taking complete credit for the auto industry when he is on tape saying let them go bankrupt. I don’t understand him nor do I trust him

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lmno

October 5th, 2012
8:51 am

It is so frustrating to me that the only part of that video that is discussed is the comment about the 47% of people who do not pay income taxes.

What about the comment about his wife? “We’re using Ann sparingly now so people don’t get tired of her”. What does that say about him? To me, it says he is a phony and an actor. How would you feel if your spouse said something similar to the press about you?

What about the comment that his election would come easier if he had been born hispanic? What does that say about him? To me it says that he totally doesn’t get it. If he had been born hispanic, his father would not have been the Governor of Michigan back then for one thing. Also, in those days, his religion was still very seperatist and openly taught that dark skinned people were cursed by God in the Americas. So, he wouldn’t be anythng that he is now and would not have had the opportunities he has had.

Madge From Accounting

October 5th, 2012
8:51 am

Blacks and illegal immigrants? The wealthiest Blacks in America live in three places: L.A. area, Maryland, and Georgia.

Those whites you mention should probably leave the trailer park every now and then and look around at whom they’re pointing a finger at. just saying…

ExRepublican

October 5th, 2012
8:52 am

Romney is a liar and he not to be trusted. Romney if it was wrong why would you say that about the 47% of american.

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Madge From Accounting

October 5th, 2012
8:54 am

You thank we owe you!

Obviously made by a poster NOT part of the elite 1% (They’re usually better educated). Just saying……

fes

October 5th, 2012
8:55 am

To those saying he’s owning up to it and not flip-flopping, wake up. He’s saying anything and everything to get to the head of the country club. If you really think he has changed his view of the people, you’re nuts. He still thinks they’re moochers, he’s just trying to backtrack to better his standings in the polls. That said, I can’t stand either of them. Gary Johnson gets my vote.

lego lunatic

October 5th, 2012
8:55 am

Regardles of who said it or their intention, let’s not miss the message- fact remains that 47% are on the government dole.Some of you people can’t see the forest for all the trees. This problem came up in the beginings of our country, and folks were told if they didn’t work, they couldn’t eat the fruits of someone else’ labor. Unfortunately, we’ve grown into a soceity that seeks to remove all discomfort from life. Removing discomfort (the shame of being lazy in many cases) only causes that disomfort to be shifted to someone else ( the taxpayer supporting the freeloaders).

Bob from Accounttemps

October 5th, 2012
8:57 am

Those who criticize should actually take the time to listen to the entire clip and not just the headlines and soundbites that the media want you to hear. With just a minimal amount of critical thinking, which is tough for the general population, you will hear that he was speaking about what part of the population his message would resonate with most. That’s all. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that he’s right when he says a message about cutting income taxes won’t resonate with those that don’t pay income taxes. Get over it – if you like him, fine, if you don’t, THIS should not be your reason.

[...] First Presidential DebateHuffington PostWonkbook: The return of moderate MittWashington Post (blog)Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog) -The Hill (blog) -Politicoall 30,305 news articles » VN:F [...]

ExRepublican

October 5th, 2012
8:57 am

Romney flip flopping and lying on the debate.
Romney didnt have a plan for nothing.
Obama laid his plan out from taxes to health care.
Romney lied over and over.
Romney my niece said stop bashing PBS and big bird.

[...] of moderate MittWashington Post (blog)Voice of America -Christian Science Monitor (blog) -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 30,305 news [...]

John

October 5th, 2012
9:02 am

Oh Please People! OBAMA has never said anything that made you think, “Who is this guy?” For twenty years this guy learned from a minister that hates the US! Wake-Up! I am all for people being with who they want to be with, doing to their bodies what they want, but when that freedom begins to mean that it affects other’s freedom, that is where you draw the line. I just know I am sick of my tax money going to dead beats that want to take from others…. If that is the OBAMA way…. then go for it… but when there is no more to give and the kettle is dry, it will be the deadbeats that cant survive, because they wont be able to handle the pressure of WORK!

[...] of moderate MittWashington Post (blog)Voice of America -Christian Science Monitor (blog) -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 30,305 news [...]

ExRepublican

October 5th, 2012
9:04 am

Romney is a liar liar liar he went after big bird that was is only plan that he had to fire big bird.

Cal Naughton, Jr.

October 5th, 2012
9:07 am

7.8 Baby!!

#magicman

John

October 5th, 2012
9:08 am

Let me guess, your at home, eating cheetos my tax money paid for, watching Big Bird on free tv, that is being paid for by borrowed money from CHINA! Good grief!!!!
Save BIG BIRD and just send him over to cable!

[...] The First Presidential DebateHuffington PostWashington Post (blog) -Voice of America -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 30,302 news articles » VN:F [1.9.8_1114]please wait…Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes [...]

Billy

October 5th, 2012
9:09 am

I hereby declare every misstatement I ever made to be null, void and completely wrong. Whew, I feel so much better.

Edward

October 5th, 2012
9:11 am

I guess someone shook the Etch-A-Sketch, again.

John

October 5th, 2012
9:11 am

7.8%— and your happy! Point made!

phil

October 5th, 2012
9:12 am

Maybe Romney has “evolved”? Just like Obama did on gay marriage.

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Tag

October 5th, 2012
9:13 am

I think he is the new blood this country needs!

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WOW

October 5th, 2012
9:15 am

@ intowner

Come on now, not just two? You forgot about the Dodd/Frank conversion and renouncing his own tax plan. And that’s just to name a few. New Mitt has an entirely different platform than he did just a week ago.

cc

October 5th, 2012
9:16 am

“What a buffoon”
“What Flip Flopper!”
“Why should Romney start disavowing it now? Oh right, it’s the election.”
“Two flip-flops this week”
“will say anything to get elected”
“I don’t understand him nor do I trust him”
“Romney is a liar and he not to be trusted.”

I think it safe to assume that Governor Romney NEVER had the chance of getting any of your votes. Your affirmation of this fact is unnecessary.

“Unemployment rate just came out – 7.8%. Bad news for Romney and the Republican campaign.”

The same statement also said that only 114,000 new burger-flipping jobs were created. If you believe that the unemployment rate has dropped, your IQ is less than room temperature, a common trait among those who vote dimocrat.

Road Scholar

October 5th, 2012
9:17 am

If elected: Romney: I really didn’t mean to nuke them!

What became of his accounting denial? Truth? They are saying he lied.

What happened to his comments on his healthcare stand? Prior conditions? They’re saying he lied there also.

[...] to seize momentum post-debateThe Seattle TimesHuffington Post -Washington Post (blog) -Atlanta Journal Constitution (blog)all 30,344 news [...]

Old Dawg

October 5th, 2012
9:18 am

Eisenhower noted that George Romney didn’t really stand for anything, and now his son is following in his footsteps.

Romney made several statements Wednesday night that were lies, or misleading. I turned the TV off when he said that US companies don’t receive tax breaks when they off-shore their manufacturing site. Romney set up a division of Bain that assisted companies off-short AND receive tax credits/subsidies.

We are in this economic mess because of 30 years of off-shoring manufacturing. Manufacturing is slowly returning, but until we end the subsidies/taxcredits for removing the core of our economic engine, it won’t happen.

Both sides of the political aisle enabled off-shoring and until we can get both side of state and federal legislators to fight and work to return manufacturing the malaise will continue.

Companies complain about environmental infrastructure regulations in the US. Now, because of lax of rules in China, India and other nations, those countries are having to implement regulations as well.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, or a free rein for manufacturing. Do it right the first time, and the problems won’t happen.

Has Obama ever made false statements/lies. Yes, he’s a politician and human. He does, however, stay on message and doesn’t have to flip-flop as much as Romney. In too many instances, Romney is forced to counter his statements after making.

In Southern parlance, he’s a pure slap liar!

Truth

October 5th, 2012
9:21 am

Romney lies. Gingrich said it and republicans know it. Romney will say anything to get elected. He is more interested in getting the job than doing the job. The man cannot be trusted. Romney is the Gordon Gekko of the Republican party. Romney does not respect hard-working Americans. Remember that when you trust this guy with your vote.

WOW

October 5th, 2012
9:21 am

@curious
Ask any white person in Georgia who makes up the 47% and the answer will be blacks and illegal immigrants.

The vast majorirty of the 47% are seniors who collect Social Security.

juvenal

October 5th, 2012
9:23 am

“i will close gitmo”….”i will have the troops out of I & A by August of my first term”…

WOW

October 5th, 2012
9:24 am

CC:

Since you are the one doubting the numbers, I guess for some right wing conspiracy theory, maybe its your IQ that should be questioned…

PR

October 5th, 2012
9:27 am

What is sad to me is that these are the best two candidates our political parties could come up with. Is this really the best America has to offer??

So much hot air being blown both ways at the debate on Wednesday night. I don’t trust either one of them…

caught

October 5th, 2012
9:34 am

the truth of the matter come on people Mitt meant what he said he just didnt think he was being recorded and would get CAUGHT saying his true feeling reminder he said he didnt care about the 47% anyway now because he thinks the first debate made him look good he flips from his stomach to his back both sides should be bruised and red by now after all is flip flopping