Philip Rucker, reports on the Washington Post Blog, Romney stands by his remarks in leaked video.
Earlier as I was working on a post describing CNN's 6:10 p.m. report of this story (see below fold) CNN reported that the Romney campaign would have an official reaction tonight.. Then Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus appeared and seemed to double down on several of the controversial themes and announced that this election was a choice between two distinct visions of the future of America including the role of government, which appears to be the Romney's strategy of damage control.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney did not back down from comments published Monday in Mother Jones magazine, in which he dismissed supporters of President Obama as a “victims” who take no responsibility for their livelihoods and who think they are entitled to government handouts.
“It’s not elegantly stated…I’m speaking off the cuff in response to a question,” Romney told reporters Monday night.
He said he and Obama have different views between a government-dominated society and a society of free people, free enterprise and free markets.
France 24 reported Romney rocked by secret video on 'dependent' Americans that Obama's campaign manager Jim Messina pounced on Romney's remark.
"It's shocking that a candidate for President of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as 'victims,' entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take 'personal responsibility' for their lives," he said.
"It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."
Earlier, CNN reported Romney's remarks that 47% of Americans are dependent on government payments, which is why they are Obama supporters, and his joke that he would have better chances winning if his father had been an ethnic Mexican rather than just being born there.
CNN also announced that the Romney campaign would start letting reporters film fundraising events, in an apparent attempt to diffuse sensitivity over secret Romney meetings, or perhaps, just in an attempt to gain greater free media exposure.
About a half hour later Reince Preibus appeared and double down on the theme of dependence on big government and suggested that this election is a choice of two futures. CNN:
Joe John tried to bring Priebus back to Romney's remarks asked asking "are you sure this isn't a misstatement by Mitt Romney?"
Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus defended Romney on Monday, saying the nominee was simply describing the "monstrosity" of government.
"The point of all of this is that the size of government is too big, and if we don't do something about it we're going to really lose the very idea of America," Priebus said on CNN's "The Situation Room."
He added: "I don't have the numbers in front of me but clearly what we do have, very clearly, is a government and a society here in this country that is becoming dependent."
Patricia Zenqerie, of Reuters reports
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus jumped to Romney's defense.Sorry, I can't analyze this a bit more, but I've been rushing back and forth to Home Depot to get lawn seed, and soil to replant my mother's backyard lawn before a big rainstorm tonight.
"I think that we are entering into a dependency society in this country, that if we don't break that up, I think that's going to be very hard for us to compete in the world," he told CNN. "I don't think the candidate's off message at all."
Romney also discussed with donors his strategy for appealing to undecided or independent voters by stressing disappointment with Obama's policies.
"Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn't up to the task. They love the phrase that he's 'Over his head,'" Romney said in the video.
But, do you remember the year long strategy of the Romney campaign was to make this election a referendum on "Obama's economy," while Team Obama's strategy was to frame the election as a "choice between two vision for our country's future." I guess one outcome of the internal turmoil, and internecine warfare we've been reading about in the Romney campaign is that they realize that this election has now become so much about Romney's half year long disaster of campaign gaffes, and policy flip-flops, that they have to reset the etch a sketch, one again.
After Romney tried to take credit for Obama's China trade filings, this afternoon, and earlier Obama's rescue of the auto industry, we shouldn't be surprised that Team Romney are now adopting President Obama's campaign strategy.
You can mark my prediction now: A secret recording from a closed-door Mitt Romney fundraiser, released today by David Corn at Mother Jones, has killed Mitt Romney's campaign for president.
On the tape, Romney explains that his electoral strategy involves writing off nearly half the country as unmoveable Obama voters. As Romney explains, 47 percent of Americans "believe that they are victims." He laments: "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
So what's the upshot? "My job is not to worry about those people," he says. He also notes, describing President Obama's base, "These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax."
This is an utter disaster for Romney.
10:28 PM PT: Jonathan Chait writes The Real Romney Captured On Tape Turns Out To Be A Sneering Plutocrat
Presidential campaigns wallow so tediously in pseudo-events and manufactured outrage that our senses can be numbed to the appearance of something genuinely momentous. Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded comments at a fundraiser are such an event – they reveal something vital about Romney, and they disqualify his claim to the presidency. ...
Instead the video exposes an authentic Romney as a far more sinister character than I had imagined. Here is the sneering plutocrat, fully in thrall to a series of pernicious myths that are at the heart of the mania that has seized his party. He believes that market incomes in the United States are a perfect reflection of merit. Far from seeing his own privileged upbringing as the private-school educated son of an auto executive-turned-governor as an obvious refutation of that belief, Romney cites his own life, preposterously, as a confirmation of it. (“I have inherited nothing. Everything I earned I earned the old fashioned way.”) ...
The revelations in this video come to me as a genuine shock. I have never hated Romney. I presumed his ideological makeover since he set out to run for president was largely phony, even if he was now committed to carry through with it, and to whatever extent he’d come to believe his own lines, he was oblivious or naïve about the damage he would inflict upon the poor, sick and vulnerable. It seems unavoidable now to conclude that Romney’s embrace of Paul Ryanism is born of actual contempt for the looters and moochers, a class war on behalf of his own class.