Asked [by Dan Balz] about the oft-cited quote that 47 percent of Americans can't be persuaded to take personal responsibility, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee [Mitt Romney] said,
Actually, I didn't say that…. That's how it began to be perceived, and so I had to ultimately respond to the perception, because perception is reality….
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’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. 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 do is convince the 5 to 10 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, what it looks like.