With a growing left narrative describing Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney as a “Flip Flopper extraordinaire” he stood by his comments captured on a hidden camera at a closed-door fundraiser earlier this year in which he called supporters of President Barack Obama “victims” and said they are reliant on government handouts.
His remarks caused a flurry of activity on the blogosphere although partisan leaning remain virtually unchanged. What Romney may accomplish that Obama has had lukewarm success in is energizing Democrats who might not have shown up at the polls on Election Day.
To manage the political fallout, in a quickly arranged news conference Monday night, he called his words “off the cuff” and “not elegantly stated,” Reporters asked several times if he wanted to back off the comments.
He did not.
Romney advisors likely did not want yet another opportunity for the opposition to label him a flip flopper again. Romney said he was merely talking about the “political process of drawing people into my own campaign.” He described the incident as a “snippet of a question and answer session” and called on the full video to be released to show the question and his response in its full context. Asked if he was worried that he had offended the 47 percent of people he mentioned in the statement, Romney did not change his remarks.
Although many pundits are expressing surprise at the statement, the only real surprise is Romney said something that a large number of Republicans also believe. Although there is 8% unemployment; meaning 39% of the described Democrats work for a living Romney’s math continues to stupefy many registered voters and those vital independents both candidates are looking to capture. “It’s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way,” Romney said.
“I’m speaking off the cuff in response to a question, and I’m sure I can state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that and so I’m sure I’ll point that out as time goes on.” But, he added, “It’s a message which I am going to carry and continue to carry.”
With just 50 days before the November 6 election, Obama led the former Massachusetts governor by 48 percent to 43 percent among likely voters in the online poll conducted September 12-17. In a similar poll last Thursday, he led by 48 percent to 41 percent Still, Romney ignored a question about whether he really believes what he was saying.
Asked if his words were reflective of his “core convictions,” Romney simply walked away.
Recent Reuter polling gave Obama large leads when asked who would handle issues including healthcare (12 percentage points) and taxes (13 points), as well as Medicare (16 points) and Social Security (13 points. Romney’s remarks came hours after Mother Jones magazine posted a video shot from inside a fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., in May, which immediately went viral. Romney, who was headlining a fundraiser here, delayed his appearance to comment on the video to his traveling press corps in hopes of quelling the controversy over his remarks.
Asked what he meant by the word “victims,” Romney cast his remarks as simply emphasized the differences between his campaign and Obama’s.
“My campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again, particularly those who don’t have work,” Romney said.
“His whole campaign is based on getting people jobs again, putting people back to work. This is ultimately a question about direction for the country.
Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits or do you believe instead in a free enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams?”
The looming question is whether 50.1% of actual voters will agree with him!