Romney: Obama’s 47% of the electorate is dependent on government

posted at 7:34 pm on September 17, 2012 by Allahpundit

Via Mother Jones and Ace, watch this now if you haven’t seen it elsewhere because political media will be having 20 heart attacks about it tomorrow and you’ll want to be up to speed. This was recorded awhile back at a fundraiser, just like Obama’s infamous “bitter/clinger” comments in 2008. Remember how big that blew up? That’s how we ended up with President McCain.

The dirty little secret of most “controversial” political statements is that voters pay them little mind, especially when they’re preoccupied with bread-and-butter issues. The GOP spent three days in Tampa hammering Obama for the “you didn’t build that” line and a fat lot of good it did them in vaulting Romney past O in the polls. Then again, the GOP didn’t have a media megaphone like the one that’s going to be amplifying this for the rest of the week. The money quote:

“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…

“And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49 … he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. So he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to convince the five to ten percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not.”

Certainly, the Obama campaign’s never done anything to tout the sort of cradle-to-grave dependency that Romney describes here. I think David French’s recent post about the “bookends” that compose the modern liberal coalition is closer to the mark than Romney’s familiar makers-and-takers formulation here, but he was at a fundraiser and tossing red meat and I guess wanted it to be as red as possible. As for his claim that 47 percent pay no income tax, it’s true but carries lots of caveats. Ramesh Ponnuru wrote an insightful piece about last year; this new article from National Journal is worth reading too. Two political difficulties here. One: While some Obama supporters may not pay federal income tax, they still pay federal payroll tax and may well pay state and city taxes. They do contribute something to government. Two: A lot of pro-Republican working-class voters pay no income tax due to the Earned Income Tax Credit, and a lot of pro-Republican seniors pay no income tax because most or all of their income is Social Security. Not sure how either of those groups will react to Romney’s critique of O’s fans, but my hunch is that Ben Domenech’s right in believing that no one really thinks they’re part of the 47 percent. Everyone thinks they’re a “maker,” not a “taker,” due to whatever little tax they pay, so when Mitt lays into freeloaders, even people who pay no income tax think he’s talking about someone else. It’s sort of the flip side of senior citizens saying that America needs small government while telling politicians “Hands off my Medicare.” I doubt it’ll end up hurting Romney badly, but the media will do its level best. Buckle up!

That’s the first video. The second video is of Romney joking that he’d have a better chance at being elected if he was Latino, which is almost certainly true.

Update: Damage control from Romney’s campaign:

Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy. As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney’s plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs.



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Comment pages: 1 12 13 14

I’m probably going to vote for Gary Johnson, because I’m one of those 2%

RayinVA on September 18, 2012 at 8:06 AM

Barack appreciates your vote. He just wishes that he could send you a form letter thanking you so very much – but he’s much too busy with affairs of state (Beyonce, after all.)

Solaratov on September 18, 2012 at 11:41 AM

You know who doesn’t pay income tax? Half of the countries elderly and active duty service members. Voters Romney doesn’t need, right?

Rainsford on September 18, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Trolls squealing like stuck pigs can only mean one thing. Good times! 0 is Done!

Bmore on September 18, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Oh, I almost forgot. 1306

Bmore on September 18, 2012 at 12:09 PM

Clear choice now, the food stamp president who relishes more govt dependency vs more economic freedom where govt gets smaller and out of the way and folks have an opportunity to succeed. I like this debate because it sets clear parameters.

Ta111 on September 18, 2012 at 12:19 PM

You know who doesn’t pay income tax? Half of the countries elderly and active duty service members. Voters Romney doesn’t need, right?

Rainsford on September 18, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Lol, yeah, and as a result of that comment the segments of population you mentioned above and who are also conservative won’t vote cor Romney anymore lool :) you are delusional…and byw, the military pay federsl imcome taxes, they don’t pay state incoe taxes, andit makes sense si ce they dom’t coose the states they are deployed too, besides a lot of them are deplyed abroad for a long period of time…my wife is a cpt in the USAF and she spent 6 years in the UK and Germany, so the longest part of her service she spent abroad,and notin the US…

jimver on September 18, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Romney’s only mistake was telling the truth. Liberals don’t like that in a politician.

Bevan on September 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Federal income taxes that is….
And all the typos. Above…the ipad is the villain, and possibly me typing in a hammock :)…

jimver on September 18, 2012 at 12:26 PM

Romney’s only mistake was telling the truth. Liberals don’t like that in a politician.

Bevan on September 18, 2012 at 12:25 PM

That’s not a mistake, maybe we sill finally have an open discussion aout three issues….moocher society for evah vs creating jobs..maybe the moochers society advocates and promoters (the dims) should take a look at Greece and think twice…it’s valid for th voters too, regardless whether currently they pay or not federal income taxes or other taxes…the reality is that everybody should pay federal taxes, I am all for a flat tax at this point.

jimver on September 18, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Grace_is_sufficient on September 18, 2012 at 7:16 AM

.
Well then, if she does vote for Obama because of the media spin on this she’s not an Independant but is just plain stupid.

Cherokee on September 18, 2012 at 8:44 AM

.
My take on so called “independents”, as well.

Any self-acclaimed “independents” who can be swayed by our ‘dominant journalist culture’ are not truly independent. Period.

listens2glenn on September 18, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Badger40 on September 18, 2012 at 8:53 AM

.
She’s not stupid. Gullible, but not stupid. There’s a difference.

Grace_is_sufficient
on September 18, 2012 at 10:25 AM

.
Grace’ . . . , you know I LOVE and respect you … . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . . how . . . much . . . DIFFERENCE …, really ?

listens2glenn on September 18, 2012 at 12:40 PM

Outrageous Outrage Outrageously!!!!!

Laughing my ass off at all of this. The left is really, truly scared.

Here’s the deal, that video was edited to cast Romney in the worst possible light… AND IT STILL SOUNDS GOOD TO ME!

I love the smell of faux outrage in the morning. It smells like victory.

Sugar Land on September 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Outrageous Outrage Outrageously!!!!!

Laughing my ass off at all of this. The left is really, truly scared.

Here’s the deal, that video was edited to cast Romney in the worst possible light… AND IT STILL SOUNDS GOOD TO ME!

I love the smell of faux outrage in the morning. It smells like victory.

Sugar Land on September 18, 2012 at 12:59 PM

It sounds good to everybody because it forces a conversation that was long overdue in our society, nd it involvedthe ‘takers’ and ‘the makers’ and if the formula ‘some just take from the systaem and some just contribute to the sustem’ is tenable and for how long….maybe it’s time to talk seriously about a flat income tax….

jimver on September 18, 2012 at 1:24 PM

System that is…my ipad has a life f its own, obviously :)

jimver on September 18, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Romney should do more of this “straight talk”. He actually may gain more votes than he loses. He sure is not getting votes by being a pansy and a fence-sitter.

Sparky5253 on September 18, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Yesterday, September 17th (first business day after Sept. 15), was the deadline for self-employed people to pay their quarterly estimated Federal and State Income Tax.

As so many of us were paying thousands of dollars in quarterly estimated taxes yesterday, it was a perfect time to remind us that almost half of American pay zero, zip, nada in Income Taxes.

It is highly likely that millions of self-employed Democrats decided to vote for Mitt Romney yesterday.

wren on September 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

You know who doesn’t pay income tax? Half of the countries elderly and active duty service members. Voters Romney doesn’t need, right?

Rainsford on September 18, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Hey, assclown, he wasn’t talking about them. Try viewing it for yourself instead of relying on the lying misreporting of David Vorn, whoi deliberately left the context out of his Mother Jones hit piece.
And Active Duty sure as hell pays taxes. Figures a liberal wouldn’t know that.

rayra on September 18, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Damn cnbc poll 75% agree with Romney. Yea this is a huge gaffe /sarc

Conservative4ev on September 18, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Geez, not gonna read thru 14 pages of comments – but I’m sure this must have come up – Obama confiscates cellphones and recording devices at all his private fundraisers now. Can’t have anymore “bitter clinger” comments like the last election cycle, so the Dear Leader makes all the attendees turn-in their cellphones to prevent any of his off the cuff comments from being released.

Hill60 on September 18, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Damn cnbc poll 75% agree with Romney. Yea this is a huge gaffe /sarc

Conservative4ev on September 18, 2012 at 2:35 PM

As I said on another thread, the elites — in both parties — hate Romney’s remarks, and the regular folks love them. These are the same elites constantly telling us who is and is not “out of touch.”

Irony much?

Rational Thought on September 18, 2012 at 3:58 PM

And in real news, the media claims the sky is blue and they support democrat candidates only.

dthorny on September 18, 2012 at 4:01 PM

You know who doesn’t pay income tax? Half of the countries elderly and active duty service members. Voters Romney doesn’t need, right?

Rainsford on September 18, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Yes and those people are so stupid that they are going to entirely skip the whole paragraph about people on welfare that think the government owes them everything and assume that he is talking about them.

No, wait, those people aren’t stupid.

Those people are fully aware that they are either currently contributing (active duty soldiers) or have contributed over the course of their long lives (most seniors) and they will know based on what Romney said that he’s not referring to them.

Heck, if you pay attention at all you’d know he’s not even referring to everyone on welfare at any given moment because they’ve fallen on temporary hard times.

He’s obviously referring to the people for whom welfare is not a temporary solution. People like the woman my mom met in Louisiana (a 2nd generation cradle-to-grave welfare recipient raising the 3rd generation). She was telling my mom how a few years back she had to get a job to remain eligible for her benefits. She said that she was really proud of that year of her life, but she wouldn’t wish that on her kids so she was glad the rules had changed again so they wouldn’t have to work. He was referring to the countless people I know in my foster brother’s extended family that are on ‘disability’ for various reasons and haven’t worked in over a decade (though they always have plenty of money for their pot, their meth and so on).

JadeNYU on September 18, 2012 at 4:07 PM

Obama on tape lovin’ on some redistribution.

Why didn’t I hear this “leaked” four years ago??? I am dumbfounded as to why.

MississippiMom on September 18, 2012 at 4:23 PM

So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.

I think this is his key point. It doesn’t really matter if 47% pay no taxes or just a few taxes. Either way his point stands that taxes are not a big concern for them and that talk of lower them will never connect for that reason.

Esthier on September 19, 2012 at 11:31 AM

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