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

For instant updates, follow me on Twitter, or connect with me on Facebook.

306 comments Add your comment

td

October 5th, 2012
11:04 am

Doug B

October 5th, 2012
10:59 am

And if you listened to the substance of the statement in context then you would know it is true. When you are running on cutting taxes and cutting government spending then the people that pay no taxes and receive government handouts (not talking about SS people and neither was Romney) are less likely to vote for him.

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
11:05 am

@td
My comments are that it was a 10K net increase or about 5% of total jobs added nationwide.
Since I don’t know WHICH agencies added jobs, I can’t speak to justification.

I do know that at 2.8M jobs, there are still fewer non-military federal employees than we had under Reagan/Bush when the number topped 3M for 8 of those 12 years.

Morality?

October 5th, 2012
11:06 am

Jay says Obama was disorganized and confused……… coke will do that to you.

Morality?

October 5th, 2012
11:08 am

This election is about the economy and jobs ……. and Obama’s last 4 years gets an “F” for failure.

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
11:10 am

@td
If what Romeny said was actually true as you claim, why did he back off the statement?

Michele

October 5th, 2012
11:10 am

What do you really expect? The old saying, which is absolutely true is: How can you tell when a politician is lying? When his lips are moving!

You can’t believe a word they say. You have to check their record. And the beat goes on!

NoChance

October 5th, 2012
11:10 am

Why does it matter?? Mitt has no chance of winning anyway! Who cares how he feels or what he thinks? Everyone on this blog know that President BARACK OBAMA will have a second term. Deal with it or get to packing….the choice is yours! I’m so thankful that he made this 47% comment because all it takes now is 4% for Mr. President to gain the win. Easy task….Mitt has no chance.

resno2

October 5th, 2012
11:11 am

2008 = Garbage in
2012 = Garbage out

td

October 5th, 2012
11:12 am

Look before I leap…

October 5th, 2012
11:05 am

@td

“I do know that at 2.8M jobs, there are still fewer non-military federal employees than we had under Reagan/Bush when the number topped 3M for 8 of those 12 years”

Those numbers are a little skewed because we both know that many of the jobs held by 3M during Reagan/Bush have been outsourced since and the new numbers do not reflect the outsourced numbers.

Road Scholar

October 5th, 2012
11:14 am

junenal: Your first post on Guantanamo did not include the fact that Congress would not allow or fund the closing. Ah. details!

Your second post “they cling to their guns & their churches”… is a misquote: they cling to their guns and religion. Have you ever been to eastern Pennsylvanian? They have a lot of “rednecks” (and I mean this in a good way) there and in Maryland. Sir, they close the manufacturing plants for at least a week during deer season! And as to the religion part of the comment, don’t most truly religious people base their beliefs on the philosophy of their religion?

Ugly Politics

October 5th, 2012
11:15 am

@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!

==================================

I live in a small town in a senior citizens community.

I was told by the driver of Meals On Wheels that some of the people who get the FREE

meals are WHITE, live in a middle class community and some are business owners.

He said that they have been getting FREE MEALS FOR YEARS.

DO YOU STILL WANT YOU MONEY BACK?

cc

October 5th, 2012
11:16 am

“Everyone on this blog know that President BARACK OBAMA will have a second term”

This statement is a lie; not everyone on this blogs knows or believes that Hussein will be re-elected.

Romney will win. The only question remaining is the size of the landslide . . .

td

October 5th, 2012
11:16 am

Look before I leap…

October 5th, 2012
11:10 am

@td
If what Romeny said was actually true as you claim, why did he back off the statement?

Because after the MSM and the Obama campaign demagogue the issue so much it was the smart political move. Kind of like Obama disavowing himself from the man that was him mentor. preacher and married he and his wife did 4 years ago.

Double Zero Eight

October 5th, 2012
11:16 am

Willard is the undisputed king of “flip-flopping”.

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
11:17 am

Morality?

October 5th, 2012
11:08 am

This election is about the economy and jobs ……. and Obama’s last 4 years gets an “F” for failure.

I don’t normally feed the trolls here, but I just gotta ask:
If 3 years of economic growth, weak and tepid as it is, get a grade of “F”, what grade would you give to the final 16 months of the Bush II administration?

Ugly Politics

October 5th, 2012
11:21 am

@Morality?

October 5th, 2012
11:06 am
Jay says Obama was disorganized and confused……… coke will do that to you.

=======================================================

WHY did Romney make that comment about the 47%………

RELIGIOUS UNDERWEAR will do that to you.

Retired Soldier

October 5th, 2012
11:23 am

Look-

Also an F.

Dirty Dawg

October 5th, 2012
11:29 am

The real ‘lesson’ in this for Romney and the Republicans – even if its way too late to matter – is that they should have paid more attention to ‘The Help’. Specifically, that the people serving that ‘gathering’ are part of that 47% and that they have eyes, ears and feelings…only now they’ve got iPhones too. Gee, wonder if they served chocolate pie?

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
11:29 am

@td
I think (and correct me if I am wrong) that you are saying that it was politically expedient for Romney to disavow his earlier comments.
And if this statement is true:
“Because after the MSM and the Obama campaign demagogue (sic) the issue so much it was the smart political move”
Then Romney’s retraction is insincere in so much as he did not really have a change of heart in his thinking, he was simply trying to score some political points.

Is my analysis off here?

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
11:33 am

@RS
That is quite the negative curve you are using there. Glad you were not one of my professors.

@Dirty Dawg:
“Gee, wonder if they served chocolate pie?”

That actually made me laugh at loud.
The “terrible awful” heeeee

td

October 5th, 2012
11:33 am

Look before I leap…

October 5th, 2012
11:29 am

Since his statement has been taken totally out of context (Romney does not care about the 47% is totally out of context) then yes it was more politically expedient for him to disavow then to try to explain what he really said.

Is this not the same exact thing that Obama did to Wright?

UPGRAYEDD

October 5th, 2012
11:36 am

I am so glad Mitt said this today. I have just officially changed my vote from Obama to Romney. However, I will change to Obama tomorrow, Mitt on Sunday, and back and forth and this and that and up and down and in and out and left and right until the election.

Ooops. Mitt. On Election Day, I love you not.

Retired Soldier

October 5th, 2012
11:39 am

Look-

Want an A, balance the budget and start paying down the debt. Wabt a B, then blance the budget only. Want a C, lower the anual deficit by 50%. Want a D, lower the annual deficit by 25%.

Facts are facts, if you get the job done, great. I am very conservative, Bush the younger was not a conservative. The debt is our greatest problem and both parties are guilty, yes even our “conservative” GA republican representatives and senators.

I am one of the 7.8%

October 5th, 2012
11:47 am

I am one of the people who FINALLY got a job…yup a great job making 25,000 less a year than I did before Obama, and now without ANY benefits too…Woo Hoo for the great job he is doing getting people back to work. Yes back to work at a lower income and less benefits. Sure something he should hang his hat on!

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
11:49 am

@td
That is the 2nd time you have attempted the Obama/Wright deflection.
The topic is: How sincere is Romney’s retraction?

You know when I first heard Romney’s comment (and this a quote”)
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.”
I assumed he was referring to Democrats in general who were going to vote for Obama no matter what Romney promised.

But then, Romney goes on to say (and again I quote):
“All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care….”

That is a MUCH broader demographic that crosses political lines.

WOW

October 5th, 2012
11:55 am

@TD:

Just a thought about your article. True that state and federal governements have recently increased thier hiring, but it has nothing to do with elections. Government agencies hire more at the beginning of their fiscal years. Most states were July 1 and the feds was October 1.

UPGRAYEDD

October 5th, 2012
11:58 am

I just opened my own business, hired two employees, and have more than quadrupled my income in the past quarter as opposed to my circumstances in November 2008.

Anecdotal evidence is not an indication of a trend, one way or the other.

George

October 5th, 2012
12:04 pm

CURIOUS you are a dam fool like a lot of people I do not care who win the dam election.i make my own living for my family i can buy your dumb ass.By the way I am BLACK

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
12:07 pm

@RS
Actually, I really don’t disagree with your grading scale when we are experiencing good economic times.

But when there is an economic downturn, the federal government does one of the few things it can do:
Raise spending and cut taxes.
To attempt anything else, is economic suicide. Mr Carter can speak to how badly that idea worked.
When the downturn reverses and the country starts growing at an annual rate of better than 3%, in a measured way, you start cutting back on the spending and very carefully start raising taxes.

Now whether or not 4 years of trillion dollar deficit spending is reasonable is best answered by people much smarter than I.

Bush II (and I agree, he was not a true conservative) post 2002 made the mistake of continuing deficit spending even though the country was seeing very decent economic growth.

yellowdog

October 5th, 2012
12:11 pm

i dont buy anyof his lies or “moving to the center” its smoke and mirrors. hes not even embarrassed at “i like big byrd, but…..ill stop funding PBS….idiot…….the rest is BS; he was wrong about the 47%? he lied about the 7 trillion taken from Medicare etc. etc. etc. he will step on women, immigrants and anything smacking of “need” for our citizens……….when is someone going to call him on all of this? geesh…..

Buford T. Justice

October 5th, 2012
12:12 pm

So 7.8% employment is something the Obama campaign should celebrate? Can’t wait to see that commercial. Of course the new campaign strategy is “Trust”. So it is doubtful the campaign will focus on these new numbers or the economy. Rather they will focus on negative personal attacks and class warfare. Unbecoming at the least.

Mark

October 5th, 2012
12:13 pm

Hey you guys that’s the intellect of td! He cannot stay on topic because his head is so far up Romney’s @ss!

td

October 5th, 2012
12:14 pm

Look before I leap…

October 5th, 2012
11:49 am

“That is the 2nd time you have attempted the Obama/Wright deflection.
The topic is: How sincere is Romney’s retraction?”

It is not a deflection but rather a comparison and it is very relevant to the discussion at hand because it shows that all politicians do the political expedient thing at the time. The way you framed the question the casual non political viewer would think that this is the first time in history that a politician ever took back his/her statement.

Now to put the below in context because Romney admitted he misspoke originally. Below would be a better syntax: .

“All right, there are 47 percent who are with him (reference to the first statement). The democratic voters who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care….” (and think if you would have continued your quote then it would have said “are not going to vote for me”).

With only adding a couple of words the entire meaning has changed and makes the statement totally accurate.

honested

October 5th, 2012
12:15 pm

Folks, don’t let your opinions cloud the facts:

Romney is a liar!
The economy was in the tank when President Obama took office (after 8 years of intentional damage).
The economy has been improving in the last 4 years (despite the best efforts of the House freshmen).
President Obama Will Be RE-Elected.
Things will continue to improve despite the efforts of conserrrrrrrrvatives to prove we are in a downward spiral, the rich are suffering and we have offended some god or another.

td

October 5th, 2012
12:18 pm

Mark

October 5th, 2012
12:13 pm

Hey you guys that’s the intellect of td! He cannot stay on topic because his head is so far up Romney’s @ss!

When I sent my absentee ballot to Florida yesterday and when I go in person to the polls in Georgia next week will be the first two times I have voted for Romney.

td

October 5th, 2012
12:22 pm

honested

October 5th, 2012
12:15 pm

Yes get out to the polls and vote because Obama is going to win Georgia and all the congressmen is Georgia will be Democrats because Obama is the Messiah.
Obama did not lose the debate the other night because Romney lied and the moderator stopped Obama from getting his message out.

curious

October 5th, 2012
12:23 pm

td
October 5th, 2012
11:33 am

“Is this not the same exact thing that Obama did to Wright?”

Romney = Obama ?

Apparently neither have any character.

td

October 5th, 2012
12:25 pm

Virginia remains a nail-biter in the first post-debate survey of the key battleground state, with Mitt Romney edging slightly ahead.

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.

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
12:30 pm

@td
That is some pretty convoluted thinking there.
First, it IS deflection since you are now trying to make the topic about whether or not it is unprecedented for a politician to backtrack. The answer of course, no it is not.
But (and this is the last I am going to post on it) the topic is
“Mitt Romney disavows ‘47 percent’ remarks as ‘completely wrong’”
Says so right in the danged blog headline. And my question has been all along, is this retraction sincere?
If you want a referendum on famous political flip-flops of the past 200 years, ask Mr Galloway to start a new thread.

As for the 2nd half of your comment: You are changing what he actually said in order to make it “true” in the way you view the world. You can change a tire, you can change your mind, you can change the sheets on the bed, but you don’t get to change the facts.

DC

October 5th, 2012
12:31 pm

Peggy Noonan – Romney “in command of the facts” ?? Romney’s “facts” change faster than the weather. His “facts” are dictated by his audiance, what side of the bed he woke up on…anything but reality.

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
12:34 pm

“When I sent my absentee ballot to Florida yesterday and when I go in person to the polls in Georgia next week ”

Perhaps you are joking (and I most sincerely hope you are). But if you aren’t, I’d stay away from the issue of voter fraud for the next 4 years if I were you.

cc

October 5th, 2012
12:39 pm

“It takes very little research to learn that Barack Obama is a committed radical Marxist or, more accurately, a socialist revolutionary. Obama’s entire history is one of early and continued exposure to communist ideology, and of his acceptance and championing of the socialist model. No one could logically conclude that his work as a community organizer in Chicago was for any democratic or traditional American cause, or for charity. Obama has always advocated socialist revolution with the goal of realizing the communist ideal: a government run by an enlightened political elite in which the state owns all property and the means of production, and the people conform to the requirements of communal life: from each according to his ability, and to each according to his need. Obama has never been an advocate of rule by the consent of the governed, the capitalist economic system, and limited constitutional government. He has repeatedly demonstrated his contempt for constitutional republican government, the separation of powers, and the rule of law.”

“While communist propaganda is by definition a pack of lies, the CPUSA is refreshingly up-front about one thing: their primary and defining purpose is to achieve communism in the United States of America. In pursuit of that defining purpose, they have for years thrown their lot in with the Democratic Party, and they are now very strongly advocating for Barack Obama in particular.
The point here is not to accuse Obama of guilt by association. The endorsement of communists does not prove him a communist.
The interesting question, however, is this: why does the CPUSA, in speaking to its own members, urge them to support Obama by citing the very policies and decisions that Obama himself is most proud of? “

“The answer is as unavoidable as it is straightforward: the Communist Party regards Barack Obama’s signature achievements and defining principles as consistent with, and conducive to, its own defining goal — namely, the establishment of a socialist workers’ state in America. And of course, as America’s official defenders of the Marxist flame, they certainly know whereof they speak.”

bc

October 5th, 2012
12:42 pm

Romeny is right, those that are seeking government dependecy will not vote for him. Just like people for smaller governments are not going to vote for Obama. There is nothing Obama can ever say that would cause me to vote for him…not know, not ever. So what is the difference?

td

October 5th, 2012
12:43 pm

Look before I leap…

October 5th, 2012
12:34 pm

Maybe I was being a smart a$$ to a troll but your reaction says a great deal. You do not know and in your heart you know it is very possible that I could. This just proves how much serious voter id and reform is needed to make sure this type of thing never happens.

Reggie

October 5th, 2012
12:53 pm

Conservative or liberal, it behooves me that some of you are so fooled by this Romney character. He will say whatever he needs to say to be elected president of the United States. Put your mouth where the action is! And the action is in your words.Romney has said what he means without a question of a doubt. Yet, he will not say what his policies are. Is it because he has no policies? You can say you will go to the table and listen, but if you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. That is where this Romney character is! Whether you like it or not, we know where the Honorable Mr. President Obama stands. And he has by far worked for all mankind, mainly Americans. It is plan simple minded to attack him on a personal level, and to attack his policies especially when they will benefit those who are attacking the most. Obama is great for America at the right time. With my help and many more good Americans, he will continue for the next four years to transform and make America safer and greater.

DAVID

October 5th, 2012
12:53 pm

It dont matter president obama was as lost as a man in the middle of the road the complete debate WHAT A JOKE, THE PRESIDENT AND CNN

Look before I leap...

October 5th, 2012
1:03 pm

Voter ID would have no impact on what you were suggesting.
Were I so inclined, I could travel to every state with my passport and get registered to vote.
And the only voter reform that would prevent it, would be a national database of registered voters.
Good luck in getting 50 individual SoS’ to agree on how to accomplish that.

The number of confirmed voter fraud cases since 2000 is miniscule. GA ranks 3rd in the nation with about 80. There are more confirmed cases of fraud by election officials in GA than by voters yet I don’t see a lot of hoopla in the dome to address that problem.

Doug

October 5th, 2012
1:07 pm

You liberals are happy with 7.8% unemployment wow!!!

MUSTANG100

October 5th, 2012
1:09 pm

Anyone who believes the unemployment rate is really 7.8% is deluded. The fact is over 16% of workers who had a job in 2008 (before the Clinton enabled Fannie/Freddie loan meltdown debacle), don’t. For African Americans, over 21%.

Happy Times

October 5th, 2012
1:09 pm

7.8% Unemployment…..Woo Hoo. How could anyone not say we are in a great time in America. Let’s make Obama Ruler for Life!!!!