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.
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