Absolutely fracking remarkable. I must say, somebody should MST3K this:
Romney: Good evening.
I understand there's been a video that's been on the internet for a few weeks that has attracted some attention and I thought I would make some comments about it. Apparently it's got a snippet of a question and answer session at a fundraising event. It doesn't capture the question so I don't know precisely what was asked but I think it was about my campaign and how I would be able to get a majority of voters to support me.
By the way, whoever has released the snippets would, I would certainly appreciate if they would release the whole tape so we could see all of it.
I believe the point I was made is that the president starts off with a large number of the voters… 47, 48, 49%--something like that. These are people who are in his camp and they will vote for him almost no matter what. I also have a large number of people who will vote for me almost no matter what. At least I hope so. And my campaign effort is to focus on the people in the middle.
The people I will try and draw into my campaign are largely people who voted for Barack Obama last time around and who I want to have as part of my campaign if it is to be successful.
So it's a question and answer, as I recall about the process of the campaign, and how I'm going to get the 51 or 52 percent I need. I point out it's by focusing on those folks that are neither in his camp nor in my camp. Of course there's a very different approach of the two different campaigns. As I point out, I recognize that among those that pay no tax--approximately 47 percent of Americans--I'm not likely to be highly successful with the message of lowering taxes. That's not as attracive to those who don't pay income taxes as it is to those who do. And likewise those who are reliant on government are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of government.
And so I then focus on those individuals who I believe are most likely to be able to be pulled into my camp, and help me win the 51 or 50.1% that I need to become the next President.
This is, of course, something I talk about a good deal in rallies and speeches and so forth. The president and I have very different approaches to the future of America and what it takes to ignite our economy and put people back to work. The president believes in what I've described as a government-centered society where gov't plays a larger and larger role, provides for more and more of the needs of individuals, and I happen to believe instead in a free enterprise, free individual society where people pursuing their dreams are able to employ one another, build enterprises, build the strongest economy in the world.
I happen to believe that my approach is the approach that will put 23 million people back to work again.
We've watched the results of the Presidents approach over the last 3½, 4 years, and his government-centric, larger and larger government approach has meant that we have 15 million more people on food stamps, 23 million people out of work or stopped looking for work or underemployed.
We have had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent, and my view is that the right approach for our nation is not to adopt a government-centered approach, but instead a free, free people, free enterprise, free market, consumer driven approach. That will build the strongest economy for ourselves and for the coming generation.
Murray/WSJ: On "victims" language, and "personal responsibility": What did you mean by that?
Romney: Well, you said a number of things there. I'm talking about the political process of drawing people into my own campaign. Of course individuals are going to take responsibility for their lives. My campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again--particularly those who don't have work.
This 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?
Holland/Reuters: Are you not stepping away from anything? Do you worry you've offended this 47 percent you mentioned? Romney: Well, um, It's not elegantly stated. Let me put it that way. I'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question. I'm sure I can state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that. I'm sure I'll point that out as time goes on. But we don't even have the question--given the snippet there--nor the full response.
I hope the person who has the video would put out the full material.
But it's a message which I'm going to carry and continue to carry which is: "Look. The president's approach is attractive to people who aren't not paying taxes, because frankly my discussion about lowering taxes isn't as attractive to them. Therefore I'm not likely to draw them in to my campaign as effectively as those who are in the middle."
This is really a discussion about the political process of winning the election. Of course I want to help all Americans. All Americans have a bright and prosperous future. I'm convinced the presidents approach has not done that and will not do that. Haake/NBC: What assurance can you give to voters that you're not saying different things to people that fund your campaign than you do to people on the stump?
Romney: You're coming to my fundraiser. This is the same message that I give to people. It is that we have a very different approach--the president and I--between a government dominated society and a society driven by free people pursuing their dreams.
I'm talking about the process of campaigns.
Typically I don't talk about process in speeches because I think candidates are wiser to talk about policy and their vision than to talk about how they're going to win a election.
At a fundraiser you have people say; "Governor, how are you going to win this?" And so I respond: "Well, the president has his group, I have my group, I want to keep my team strong and motivated, and I want to get those people in the middle." That's something which fundraising people who are parting with their moneys are very interested in knowing: can you win or not? That's what this was addressing.
[EXIT ROMNEY, PURSUED BY A BEAR]
And, to repeat, the most interesting piece:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. 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. They will vote for this president no matter what…. These are people who pay no income tax….
[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.
Romney does not say: "I will never convince them to vote for me". Romney says: "I will never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives".