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

David D

October 5th, 2012
9:35 am

Those of you who think Romney is sincere are so off base. This is damage control. He also claims that his life has shown he cares about the 100%. Yeah – right. His charity is his cult.

Pandora

October 5th, 2012
9:36 am

Words are like feathers in the wind. Once they are out there you CAN’T take them back! Romney said what he said because that is what is in his wicked heart! He is an evil man. That’s why I and the majority of Americans are voting for President Obama! :) He will win by a land slide. God Is Good!

Puerile Pedant

October 5th, 2012
9:36 am

Well, his comments are “completely wrong” because the media got a hold of them. What he said to his donors in that speech is what he truly believes. It be nice to see him “man up” and own them. Obama may not deserve re-election, but “Flopney” would be a disaster as a President for anyone making less than $250K a year.

RAMZAD

October 5th, 2012
9:36 am

Now, is the the person we want to trust to lead the Free World?

Pandora

October 5th, 2012
9:36 am

David D. Amen to that!

Baby

October 5th, 2012
9:37 am

Considering that a huge make up of the 47% percent are older folks living off social security, and red-staters, he realized it was an incredibly stupid thing to say. Still out of touch with average Americans though. The middle class makes $250k. LMAO. He obviously doesn’t know any actual middle classers like police officers, firefighters, teachers, etc…

Michael

October 5th, 2012
9:41 am

Talk about lies! Thats all Obama has done is lie since he got in the white House. Obama got his but handed to him in the debate! If Obama should get in for four more years this country will be worce then it was in the Great Depression! Obama couldn’t run a candy store!!!!
I thought Carter was bad but Obama is a joke!

juvenal

October 5th, 2012
9:42 am

“they cling to their guns & their churches”…

Mark

October 5th, 2012
9:44 am

@ Michael

October 5th, 2012
9:41 am
Talk about lies! Thats all Obama has done is lie since he got in the white House. Obama got his but handed to him in the debate! If Obama should get in for four more years this country will be worce then it was in the Great Depression! Obama couldn’t run a candy store!!!!
I thought Carter was bad but Obama is a joke!

Michael before you start your conservative rant about the President telling lies, how about learing how to use the word “worse” in a sentence and not “worce”.

DawgNole

October 5th, 2012
9:45 am

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…
_____________________

You’ve nailed it. Sadly, it’s not only this upcoming election that offers us a choice between no more than a rock or a hard place, but the past several elections as well. The political system in this country smells really unpleasant–and has for many years.

Mark

October 5th, 2012
9:46 am

Jobless rate falls to 7.8% as economy adds 114,000 jobs

Pete

October 5th, 2012
9:50 am

Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up!! We can’t believe anything this guy says.

Ronald Reagan

October 5th, 2012
9:50 am

President Barry H. has failed his four year training program to be a President. He will be replaced in January by a successful business man who knows how to make decisions & do the right thing! Congratulations to President Carter on his move up to the second worst President in history!

cc

October 5th, 2012
9:51 am

“Words are like feathers in the wind. Once they are out there you CAN’T take them back!”

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure,” he said. “It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

Senator Barack Obama, March 2006

bubba

October 5th, 2012
9:51 am

loser leeches get a job

Tom

October 5th, 2012
9:53 am

“Completely wrong”? But…but…but Rush and Sean and Neal Boortz said that the 47% comments were 100% COMPLETELY TRUE! How does a die-hard Great American ™ like me know what to believe?

Old Dawg

October 5th, 2012
9:55 am

As for the charter school amendment….leave the mayor alone. She has always sent out a newsletter with the water bills that are informative and encouraging. It’s about money from the taxpapyers AGAIN and we ain’t got no more to spare.

Goldie

October 5th, 2012
9:56 am

agree with you, Mitt — and you’re “completely wrong” for what’s ailing America today… we’re moving FORWARD with Obama/Biden in 2012!

:)

cc

October 5th, 2012
9:57 am

Reading the comments from the Obama voters makes me wonder (again) how these people even found their way out of the birth canal.

HRPufnstuf

October 5th, 2012
9:57 am

Who let the dogs out? That one always cracks me up!

Retired Soldier

October 5th, 2012
10:00 am

Question:

Obama and other Dems like to say Bush and the Reps. hsd two wars that were unfunded. If that is true are Obama’s two years in Iraq and his expanded war in Afghanistan unfunded? In the almost four years in office Obama has run up 5 trillion in new debt. How has Obama funded his wars?

HRPufnstuf

October 5th, 2012
10:01 am

Seriously though, listening to the secretly recorded tape, I heard the REAL Mitt talk from the heart. I’ve never heard him sound so real and relaxed in a speech. He meant what he said. There is no way anyone can deny that, especially him. Too late Mitt, you got caught!

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

Goldie

October 5th, 2012
10:07 am

Mitt showed his true self on that video speaking amongst his “friends” with 50K to spend for dinner… and he showed how comfortable he is talking amongst his friends about how he really feels regarding the American middle class — shame on you, Cons, for supporting such a man who has this hatred and disdain for half of America! :(

td

October 5th, 2012
10:08 am

First state poll after the debate:

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Virginia Voters, taken last night, shows Romney earning 49% support to Obama’s 48%. Three percent (3%) remain undecided.

Revit

October 5th, 2012
10:09 am

The 47% don’t pay employment taxes. That’s all you need to know. no country can survive with 47% not paying taxes but receiving massive amounts of undeserved perks and benefits.

td

October 5th, 2012
10:10 am

HRPufnstuf

October 5th, 2012
10:01 am

“Seriously though, listening to the secretly recorded tape, I heard the REAL Mitt”

And when you watch the Daily Caller video release of Obama in 2007 you see the real Obama. I will take the real Mitt over the real Obama any day of the week.

DannyX

October 5th, 2012
10:14 am

td, you must be devastated by Mitt’s “I was completely wrong” statement.

You have about 250 posts backing up Romney’s 47% comment.

DC

October 5th, 2012
10:15 am

It appears that Obama’s campaign is resorting to name calling in an effort to get him reelected, calling Romney a “liar”. Wretched mongers. That’s about all you can expect from The Democratic Party, an organization full of liars.

ExRepublican

October 5th, 2012
10:16 am

7.8 Good news for Obama.
Romney bad news 47%

Tony Jacobs

October 5th, 2012
10:21 am

Obama doesn’t care about the 47% either. He just wants their vote, then they can back to their miserable lives.

td

October 5th, 2012
10:21 am

63.6% of all people between 16 and 60 are actually working right now. This is the lowest work force labor participation rate this country has seen since Jimmy Carter. When people give up looking for work then the unemployment rate is going to go down.

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
10:25 am

Romney’s retraction would have carried a bit more weight on the sincerity meter had he made it 2 weeks ago.
That said, time to move on and examine the real issues:
What exactly will the do nothing congress come up with to avoid the automatic tax increases and massive spending cuts that are looming? I don’t think the US economy can absorb that kind of shock.

No matter who gets sworn in next January, they will be staring at a pretty nasty mess.

ExRepublican

October 5th, 2012
10:25 am

Obama will win by 313 electoral votes.
Romney is shaken about the 7.8%.
When Obama took office it was 10.3% now it 7.8%.
Obama was doing his job but the republican congress was not doing there job.
4 more years for Obama.
Romney you can watch Big Bird when Obama win 4 more years.

td

October 5th, 2012
10:27 am

DannyX

October 5th, 2012
10:14 am

td, you must be devastated by Mitt’s “I was completely wrong” statement.

You have about 250 posts backing up Romney’s 47% comment.

If you knew what the heck you were talking about then you would be dangerous.

Romney’s 47% comment was related to the people that probably will not vote for him because his main message is about cutting taxes and reducing spending and they are the ones that do not pay taxes and receiving all the government entitlement spending.

My comments are on a philosophical prospective in which people are held accountable for their actions not bailed out by the government. If people chose to not get an education, job skills, drop out of HS, do drugs and get pregnant then we should not bail them out for making such decisions.

cc

October 5th, 2012
10:32 am

“It appears that Obama’s campaign is resorting to name calling in an effort to get him reelected, calling Romney a “liar”.”

It takes real gall for the Obama campaign to call ANYONE a liar! Obama is the Liar-in-Chief, and has done nothing but lie for the past five years. He has probably been a liar all his life but only in the past five years has he had a national stage on which to exhibit those lies.

fix the problem

October 5th, 2012
10:39 am

I am tired of paying for food for sorry no good jerks that milk the system.

Toni

October 5th, 2012
10:40 am

Maybe, Romney wants to fire Big Bird, so that he’ll have a job if this election thing doesn’t work out

fix the problem

October 5th, 2012
10:42 am

EX republican – it’s their – not there.
Also should be wins and not win.

td

October 5th, 2012
10:44 am

Here is where the unemployment rate went down. The Feds went on a hiring spree just at the right time. Now tell me again how this is not manipulation by Obama? This is also the reason the deficit is higher then last year.

Unemployment Rate Plummets to 4.3%–For Government Workers
By Terence P. Jeffrey
October 5, 2012
Subscribe to Terence P. Jeffrey’s posts

Barack Obama

President Barack Obama (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(CNSNews.com) – The best news anywhere in the U.S. economy over the past three months has been in the government sector, where unemployment has dropped dramatically from 5.7 percent in July to 5.1 percent in August to 4.3 percent in September, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Both the federal and state governments increased their employees in July, August and September.

The Obama administration has added 10,000 civilian workers to the federal government’s payroll since July, according to BLS. In that month, the federal government employed 2,804,000 civilian workers. In August, that increased to 2,810,000. And, in September, the number of civilian federal employees increased again to 2,814,000.

The BLS’s count of civilian federal employees does not include members of the military or individuals who work for certain intelligence gathering agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the NSA.

The Obama administration has been able to accomplish a net increase in federal employees over the past three months even while the U.S. Postal Service–whose employees are considered part of the federal workforce–eliminated jobs and decreased its payroll. In July, according to BLS, the Postal Service employed 610,000 people. In August, that declined to 609,900, and in September that declined to 606,900.

State governments have added a net of 17,000 new workers to their taxpayer-funded payrolls over the past three months. In July, state government around the nation employed 5,052,000 people. In August, that climbed to 5,056,000, and in September it climbed again to 5,069,000

http://cnsnews.com/news/article/unemployment-rate-plummets-43-government-workers

But The Emperor Isn't Wearing Any Clothes!

October 5th, 2012
10:44 am

It’s simple politics of the worst kind. He said what he said to that particular audience because that’s what he thought they wanted to hear. He didn’t necessarily mean it, he was just pandering to them.

Likewise, saying now that the remark was “taken wrong” is the same thing. He’s saying what this audience, in this case the nation, wants to hear.

The man is opportunistic and wants the job, period. He’ll do or say anything to get elected.

This is not a partisan opinion. It’s an observation. The same could be said for Bill Clinton.

Like them or not, the opposite could be said for both Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, and even W. They truly believed in their philosophies and had the strength of character to stand behind them.

Romney is the most two-faced, opportunistic candidate we’ve had since Clinton. That’s a fact.

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
10:45 am

@td
The LPR was 63.6 at the end of Reagan’s first year and stayed right around 64 for nearly his entire term.

You really should avoid throwing out the random statistic without any context.
I know it makes you feel good, but I would hope it is not your intent to mislead people.

Obama is dishonest

October 5th, 2012
10:49 am

Obama & the mainstream media has been trying to say Romney is ________________ (fill in the blank…….anything negative they can think of).

Romney was presidential and very impressive during the Republican convention AND has been consistently competent for months/years……….the problem is the media will not air any of his good moments and/or they skew everything to make him look bad.

The debate showed the real Romney and now Obama & the mainstream media is acting like a different Romney showed up for the debate. The only difference is that the real Romney is DIFFERENT from the Romney that Obama & the main stream media has portrayed for the past several months!!

John

October 5th, 2012
10:49 am

Half of the 47% Romney was talking about, is doing and saying all they can about Romney, because they realized that he has put them on notice that when he takes office, your mooching days are over…. Your free OBAMA phones, free food, free gas, etc… will be over…. that would probably make me call Mitt a liar too, if I did not depend on myself to make a way for my family like I was raised to do….

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
10:49 am

need to amend my comment above
that should read “his entire FIRST term”
fat-fingered it

cc

October 5th, 2012
10:50 am

“He’s saying what this audience, in this case the nation, wants to hear.”

You don’t think Obama is doing exactly that with specifically targeted groups?

Yeah, right . . .

td

October 5th, 2012
10:50 am

Look before I leap…

October 5th, 2012
10:45 am

What are your comments about the article I posted showing the hiring spree the Federal government has recently went on? How is that justified?

Jackie

October 5th, 2012
10:53 am

Wow five weeks before the election and suddenly denies everything, so if he gets elected he will do whatever he wants and then what? Really, sounds reliable and honest

cc

October 5th, 2012
10:54 am

ExRepublican@10:25 am:

Your ‘screen name’ is a scream! The truth is that you have never voted for a Republican in your life, and you never will. Your ‘name’ deceives no one.

Doug B

October 5th, 2012
10:59 am

If he had come out with this statement right after the video first came to light, he probably would’ve been okay. Instead he said that the substance of the statement was correct, even if he didn’t say it very well. Now he says he doesn’t believe what he said at all. Clearly, that’s just a political ploy.