U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally in Fairfax, Virginia, September 13, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Jim Young)
At a fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida on May 17, Mitt Romney said the following:
"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 ...
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"My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
A leaked video of the closed-door event, which appeared online on Monday, sparked widespread criticism from the press. The Obama campaign wasted no time and responded to the "gaffe" with an email sent to those on the White House's mailing list.
Jim Messina, Obama's campaign manager, writes: "The man who spoke these words -who demonstrates such disgust and disdain for half of our fellow Americans -is the other side's choice for president of the United States. He wants to lead our country."
"If we don't come through for President Obama right now, this will be the guy making big decisions that affect us and our families every single day," he adds.
In a press conference in Los Angeles, Romney commented on the controversy.
"It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I'm sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that," he said. "Of course, I want to help all Americans, all Americans, have a bright and prosperous future."
Leaked Fundraiser Video