UPDATE 3: In an interview Tuesday afternoon with Fox News host Neil Cavuto, Romney discussed the remarks he made that have landed him on the hot seat this week. At one point in the interview, Romney said his statement about the roughly 47 percent of Americans that don’t pay federal income taxes was meant to differentiate his economic agenda from President Obama’s.
“Frankly,” he said, “we have two very different views about America. The President’s view is one of a larger government. There is a tape that just came out today where the President is saying he likes redistribution. I disagree. I think a society based upon a government-centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role, redistributes money, that’s the wrong course for America. That will not build a strong America or help people out of poverty.”
The tape Romney cited was actually recorded at a conference Obama participated in back in 1998. It was uploaded to YouTube today.
Romney added that “the right course for America is one where government steps in to help those that are in need. We’re a compassionate people, but then we let people build their own lives, create enterprises. We believe in free people and free enterprise, not redistribution. The right course for America is to create growth, create wealth, not to redistribute wealth.”
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UPDATE 2: As expected, the White House was asked to weigh in on Romney’s comments. Here’s what Press Secretary Jay Carney had to say during a briefing with reporters today:
“When you’re president of the United States, you are president of all the people, not just the people who voted for you.”
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UPDATE: The Obama campaign put out a statement Monday evening criticizing Romney’s comments, which were documented in the video released by Mother Jones. Here’s the full statement from President Obama’s campaign manager, Jim Messina:
“It’s shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives. It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”
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WASHINGTON — A candid video of Mitt Romney writing off 47 percent of voters as “dependent on government” and therefore defacto Obama supporters was released online by the news outlet Mother Jones Monday.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the President no matter what,” Romney states. “[They] believe they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.”
The video, which appears to have been shot at a fundraiser, blurs out those in the room but clearly shows Romney’s face.
Geoff Holtzman contributed to this article.