Can Mitt Romney Return?


On Monday, September 17, Mitt Romney spoke to the press in response to being secretly videotaped while speaking at a private campaign fundraiser, where he described 47 percent of Americans as “dependent upon the government”. The hidden camera recorded Mr. Romney explaining that he does not have to worry about this 47 percent, most likely referring to them as voters.

In his post-video press conference, he said that his previous comments were not “elegantly stated”, but he still stood by his message.

While reasoning his inability to gain this near half of America’s votes, Mr. Romney described, “these are people who pay no income tax. 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect.”

Mr. Romney hopes to reach out to the five to ten percent of independent voters, veering away from those who do not receive a sufficient yearly income to have to pay income tax, “I’ll never convince them they should take responsibility and care for their lives,” he explained, raising questions regarding Mr. Romney’s true thoughts on the lower class.

These comments opened a wide window for the Obama campaign, as attack ads and speeches inevitably prepare to air against Mr. Romney. His message will not be taken lightly by Democrats. His leaked speech sent a very blunt and negative message to near  half of the country, and even the slightest slip-ups can be misinterpreted in politics.

President Obama’s most recent political gaffe, “you didn’t built that” – which was referring to private owned businesses not building government funded roads and bridges – was taken out of context by the Republican Party as an attack against businesses. This became one of the main themes at the 2012 Republican Convention, though it was a simple misinterpretation of President Obama denying Americans certification that they built their own businesses.

Though Mr. Romney’s speech is most likely a response as to how he can assure his donors that he can win the 2012 presidential election rather than attempting to look down upon 47 percent of the country, it puts him in an uncomfortable situation. Provided, the video did not include the preceding question he received; he may very well be describing his campaign strategy. However, even the slightest reconstruction of his speech’s context could be very damaging to Mr. Romney’s campaign.

To say Mr. Romney does not care about near half of the country as he described in the video may easily be taking his words out of context. Yet, as shown by the Republican misinterpretation of President Obama’s words as well as Mr. Romney’s explanation at his private fundraiser, presidential elections may easily be decided by which candidate is simply more liked.

According to David Corn, the author of the Mother Jones magazine article which released the video, the event took place May 17 in Boca Raton, Florida, at the home of Sun Capital executive Marc Leder.

Mr. Romney has been left in a stalemate with the lower class. His judgement on ruling out their vote does not prove promising for the Republican Party moving into the final two months prior to election day. He promises to stimulate the economy by creating 12 million jobs in his first term if elected. However, if this plan is as adequate as he presents, his decision to diminish the lower class vote rather than targeting it leaves a grey area in Mr. Romney’s plan.

During his press conference Monday, Mr. Romney emphasized that he was trying to point out the difference between his campaign and President Obama’s, meanwhile admitting he could have spoken “more clearly” during his previous comments.

“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 fund-raising people who are parting with their monies are very interested in,” Romney explained.

Watch the original video leak here

Watch the post-leak press conference