Romney's 47 percent comment

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Presidential candidate Mitt Romney attended a private fundraiser at the Boca Raton home of private equity manager Marc Leder on May 17, 2012. Although no press were allowed to attend, someone secretly filmed Romney's remarks and sent the video to Mother Jones magazine.[1] At first, the video did not attract much attention, but political commentators later focused on this passage of Romney's remarks:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. 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, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax. [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.[2]

Mother Jones also posted a partial list of donors who attended the event.[3]


Romney was correct that 46.4 percent of American households paid no federal income tax in 2011. However, many of these households pay sales taxes, payroll taxes and property taxes. Also, combat troops do not pay taxes on their military pay. So, while some people who pay no federal income taxes are in demographic groups that tend to support Obama, other people who pay no taxes, including the military and the elderly tend to support Romney.[2][4] Many of the people who do not owe federal income taxes do not consider themselves as "victims."[5]

Democratic Response

The Obama Campaign placed an ad on television and on websites that played portions of the video with the text of Romney's words superimposed on the screen.[6] The Obama Campaign also made up a video with man-on-the-street interviews about Romney's remarks.[7]

David Plouffe said on ABC's "This Week" program that the comments send the message that Romney has "already written off half the country."[8]

The AFL-CIO sent a large mailing to union members in swing states focusing on Romney's remarks.[9]

Republican Response

ABC News asked Romney what he meant by "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility..." and Romney replied, "What I am talking about is a political process. I will never get 100% of the vote."[10] Romney then aired a new ad saying "President Obama and I both care about poor and middle class families."[10] Vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan acknowledged that the "inarticulate" remark was a "misstep" on Fox News Sunday.[8]

The remark is not affecting Romney's campaign or poll numbers despite the liberal media helping the Obama campaign to push the narrative. Also, Republicans see the blatant hypocrisy where liberals condemn undercover videos of ACORN and Planned Parenthood, but champion undercover videos of Republicans.

Media converage

The Miami Herald made a point of noting that the 47 percent comment was not raised during the first presidential debate on October 3.[11] The point was also brought up by some other news sources.[12][13]


  1. Corn, David. SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters. Retrieved on October 1, 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Madison, Lucy. "Fact-checking Romney's "47 percent" comment", CBS News, September 18, 2012. Retrieved on October 1, 2012. 
  3. Gilson, Dave (Sep. 18, 2012). Who Was at Romney's "47 Percent" Fundraiser?. Mother Jones. Retrieved on October 1, 2012.
  4. Peters, Laura. "Forty-seven percent may side with Romney",, October 2, 2012. Retrieved on October 3, 2012. 
  5. "Mr. Romney’s ‘47 percent’ fantasy", Washington Post, September 18, 2012. Retrieved on October 1, 2012. 
  6. 47 percent: A look at the working Americans Mitt Romney is writing off. Retrieved on October 3, 2012.
  7. "Obama camp wastes no time highlighting Romney tapes",, September 18, 2012. Retrieved on October 3, 2012. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 Barkley, Tom. "Ryan Acknowledges 'Missteps' in Campaign", Wall Street Journal, October 1, 2012, p. A4. 
  9. Bogardus, Kevin. "AFL-CIO targeting Romney’s ‘47 percent’ remark in swing states", The Hill, October 1, 2012. Retrieved on October 1, 2012. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Mitt Romney Responds to '47 Percent' Comment", ABC News, September 26, 2012. Retrieved on October 1, 2012. 
  11. Associated Press. "Immigration, '47 percent' absent in first debate", Miami Herald, October 3, 2012. Retrieved on October 3, 2012.