I’d like to discuss Mitt Romney’s “47%” comments from a contextual standpoint. Not focusing on the number 47 and its derivation, but instead focusing on what question he was answering.
I went to the progressive Mother Jones website to find the full transcript of the full video. Then I went to the portion of the transcript that has been aired extensively regarding the 47% comments. I was mostly interested in seeing what the dang question was…which hasn’t been included in most of the media coverage I’ve seen. Here’s the full question and answer up to the point where the recording reportedly stopped momentarily:
[Audience member:] For the last three years, all everybody’s been told is, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.” How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you’ve got to take care of yourself?
[Romney:] 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 that 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, 48—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. And 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 that 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. I mean, when you ask those people…we do all these polls—I find it amazing—we poll all these people, see where you stand on the polls, but 45 percent of the people will go with a Republican, and 48 or 4…
Let’s go to the sentence that seems to have everyone the most ticked off: “And so my job is not to worry about those people….“ I believe all the people who are upset have taken this sentence to mean he wouldn’t care about 47% of Americans if he became President. Here’s my response: He wasn’t talking about what he’d do as President, and he didn’t mean he’s not worried about the plight of those 47%.
Go back to the question please. He was asked what he’s got to do in the two months before the election to convince people, the ones dependent to a significant degree upon big government, to vote for him. The question and his answer had nothing to do with what he’d do or who he’d worry about AFTER he’s elected, as the liberal spin doctors want everyone to believe. In that video, he was asked and he’s answering about who he should “worry” about “convincing” during the critical phase of the campaign.
Let’s be real for a moment: ANY competent politician (or business leader) understands his/her demographics, and chooses which segments of voters or consumers to focus limited resources and time on. For example, do you think President Obama is spending a single dime or minute worrying about how Evangelical Christians or National Rifle Association members will vote? Of course not, and if I were in his shoes I wouldn’t either.
Since competent politicians understand their favorable and non-favorable demographics, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Barack Obama was someday videotaped saying something dismissive about Evangelical Christians and NRA members during a campaign…something that reveals he thinks it would be a waste of his time to try to convince them to vote for him.
As a matter of fact, he did actually say something like that. It was the April 2008 “…it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion…” comment:
The liberal media and the far-left Mother Jones didn’t hyperventilate over Mr. Obama’s candid comments back in the 2008 campaign. But they’re sure hyperventilating over Romney’s comments, aren’t they?
I acknowledge it was a political stumble. It was verbal clumsiness from Romney. Yesterday he admitted he was totally wrong. But I do not believe it was an “attack” on the 47%.
It was campaign strategy realism, candidly expressed.