Romney defends video comments

September 18, 2012 8:43:52 PM PDT
Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is once again side tracked by off the cuff comments from the candidate. This time it's video of a fundraiser in Florida. The left-leaning magazine Mother Jones released the full video Tuesday afternoon.

Romney is standing by his comments at that may fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. But he is having to explain, and in a political race if you're explaining, you're losing.

Romney told wealthy Florida donors 47 percent of the country is with President Barack Obama because they're dependent upon the 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 to food to housing to you name it," Romney says in the video.

San Rafael tea party organizer Sally Zellikovsky says Romney is right.

"I think this goes to a fundamental conversation that this country is having and in a lot of ways it's the elephant in the room," she said.

In San Francisco, local Republican Party leader Howard Epstein defended Romney's comments about the 47 percent.

"If you talk to your average conservative person in the country they think pretty much along those lines; there are a lot of people who on the doll there are a lot of people who live off the government," he said.

But Democratic strategist and former Clinton advisor Chris Lehane says Romney's admitted he's not trying to appeal to nearly half the country.

"Amongst those people are folks who are veterans who are receiving government checks there are folks who are seniors on Medicare who are receiving government support," he said.

Lahane says Romney can't afford to alienate those voters and tax experts confirm one-quarter of the 47 percent Romney identified as not paying income tax don't pay because their retired seniors.

Tuesday, Romney went on Fox News and stood by his comments.

"We believe in free people and free enterprise not redistribution," he said.

At Mother Jones headquarters in San Francisco, they've never seen this kind of web traffic.

"The way YouTube counts there's kind of a lag but we think it's going to be 5 million by the end of the day," Clara Jeffery said.

ABC7 political analyst Bruce Cain says the video alone won't move voters, but the cumulative effect of Romney's gaffes is putting pressure on the upcoming debates.

"If these mistakes and the perception that Romney's not running a good campaign, if they continue then his really only moment of redemption for undecided voters is how he performs in those debates," he said.

The Obama campaign didn't waste any time; they quickly released a reaction video.


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