David Corn was the first guest on The Rachel Maddow Show and revealed where the tape was recorded. The home of a private equity manager, Marc J. Leder. Corn said that there was a big story about Leder in The New York Times earlier this year, noting that he was a big supporter of Mitt Romney. So I found the article. If the leaking of the tape wasn't bad enough for Mitt Romney, the biography of the host isn't going to make Mitt Romney popular with his values voters:
IT was, the gossip pages would later report, the talk of the Hamptons — a midsummer night’s bacchanal in the playground of the 1 percent.On Maddow's show, David Corn directly quotes The New York Post article within The New York Times article about an orgy with people there performing sexual acts.
Beyond the windswept dunes in Bridgehampton, at a $400,000-a-month oceanfront mansion, bright young things bubbled up and the Champagne flowed fast. Into the small hours, professional dancers in exotic clothing gyrated atop platforms. One couple twirled flaming torches. The sounds of techno boomed over the beach.
The New York Post summed up the evening’s Dionysian mysteries with the following headline: “Nude Frolic in Tycoon’s Pool.”
The fundraiser happened on May 17 of this year at Leder's Boca Raton home. The sex parties happened at Leder's New York home.
Soon after his appearance on Maddow, Corn posted a follow-up story at Mother Jones:
When Mother Jones first disclosed secret video of Romney's remarks, we were obliged to not reveal details regarding the time and place of the event. That restriction has been lifted, as the story has garnered attention throughout the media.
The news today is essentially rolling out in double time right now. I mean today was a day of major presidential campaign news. Possibly the worst day the Mitt Romney for president campaign has had in politics since Mr. Romney got the nomination. But that was before the news broke late today of something that's likely to make things considerably worse for Mr. Romney and for his campaign. We have a very, very full hour of news ahead, including Frank Rich being here for the interview. We need to start with tonight's breaking news. Secretly-recorded video from a private Mitt Romney for president fundraiser appears to show the Republican nominee for president characterizing half of the electorate as dependent on the government and unwilling to take personal responsibility and care for their lives. The candidate says that is the proportion of the electorate that he will not bother with; that he does not need to be concerned with because that's the proportion of the electorate who will vote for President Obama.
Now in the interest of full disclosure and also of understanding the importance of this news and where this video came from, I first need to explain to you that there is a Rachel Madow Show connection to this. Okay, late last month somebody, we don't know who, posted a clip of Mr. Romney talking that appears to come from the same speech in the same place from the same back behind the crowd vantage point as the footage published today by David Corn at Mother Jones magazine. It looks the same with the salient difference that the clip posted last month did not have the visual filtering on that was added today by Mother Jones. It also did not appear to be of the same resolution, overall. In the clip posted last month, Mr. Romney talks about going to China to maybe buy an appliance factory there with his firm Bain Capital. He talks touring the factory where young women worked for what he described as a pittance. He says they lived in dormitories with bunks that were three beds high. In the clip Mr. Romneys says the factory had a big barbed wire fence around it and guard towers to keep people out. Not to keep peole in, but to keep people out because so many people wanted to work there. And then he says that 95% of life is settled if you're born in America.
That clip was posted to Youtube last month by an account that had the name Rachel Maddow on it. Somebody made it look as if I had posted that video to Youtube. I had not done that. We notified Youtube that somebody was pretending to be me with this account and the account was taken down. In terms of somebody impersonating me, that was easy. We knew it was not me. In terms of the content, though, we were not able to authenticate anything about the origin of the video at that time. That was what happened in late August. A few days after all of that happened, a different Youtube account went up [See Anne Onymous]. A Youtube account with a different name posted ten different excerpts of Governor Romney's speech at what appeared to be this fundraiser. So that's twice it gets posted in August, and it turns out that back in May, another Youtube account had posted even more excerpts from what also seemed to be the same speech including the original clip that I just described about the Chinese factory. But even though all those all those videos were posted on the web weeks, if not months ago, the story went nowhere. The quality of the video was poor. You really couldn't see if it was Mitt Romney or not. And nobody could verify the source of legitimacy of the tape and so nothing happened even though this was technically out there in the bowels of Youtube.
Nothing happened with it until now. Some reporters started moving copy of the story over the weekend and today we are told the same person who had posted the clips in May and in August under my name and later in August under a different name, that same person gave the entire hour-long video of the Romney fundraiser to Mother Jones magazine, apparently at a higher resolution, possibly [See SECRET VIDEO: Romney Tells Millionaire Donors What He REALLY Thinks of Obama Voters by David Corn, Mother Jones, September 17, 2012]. The story was written up by David Corn, who you know here from MSNBC. He is a highly respected and experienced D.C. journalist, and three and a half minutes of high-quality video from that speech were embedded with the story. It is video where you can clearly see and not just hear the Republican nominee and everyone else in the footage is blurred. Now Mother Jones credits James Carter with giving them research assistance on the story. Mr. Carter tells us tonight that he first found the video from the person who posted it on Youtube under my name last month when it wasn't actually me. He hooked that person up with Mother Jones. He hooked up with Mother Jones the person who was the original source of the video. He also says the speech by Mr. Romney lasted about an hour and that there are yet more clips to be released, and that all could be released at this point. What is already available could prove to be problematic enough for the Romney campaign, especially this portion. I have to tell you that this portion was also obtained and verified by NBC's Michael Isikoff. The video, you'll see here begins with a question from someone in the audience.Q: For the past 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 election to convince everybody, you've got to take care of yourself?There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what; 47% who are with him who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. 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. Tonight the Romney campaign is not disputing that that video is of Governor Romney. His communications director issuing instead a statement prompted by the recording you just heard. The statement reads as follows, quote Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy. As the governor has made clear all year, he's concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent upon the government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney's plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy and moves Americans off government dependency and into jobs. Also Republican party chairman Reince Priebus is not only defending the remarks tonight, he's saying that Mitt Romney was on message when he made these remarks.
Mitt 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 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. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And I mean the president starts off with 48, 49 4--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. So 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 they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to ten 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.
The Obama campaign issued its own statement tonight, in which Obama campaign manager Jim Messina, says it is, quote hard to serve as president for all Americans when you have disdainfully written off half the nation. So in terms of how we got this information today, got this footage of Mitt Romney talking about 47% of the country who believes that they are victims and who are dependent upon the government and who he does not worry about. In terms of how we go this, different variations of this speech, different variations of this footage have been bouncing around the Internet for months in a sort of unverified way. Well today the story was all of a sudden everywhere and can no longer be ignored by either side. Joining us is David Corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones. His book Showdown comes out in paperback tomorrow. David congratulations on the scoop and thank you for being here.
David Corn: I'm glad to be with you, Rachel. I have to say the source apologizes for impersonating you early on.
Rachel Maddow: (laughing) Is that so?
DC: Quite seriously. I was asked to convey that message.
RM: Okay. Thank you. I will say because that's the way that I learned about the video, we tried to authenticate it. We tried to figure out if that was what it purported to be. But it seemed to emerge from a place that was so strange and unknowable to me that I did not know that anybody would ever be able to verify it. Are you quite sure that it is what it purports to be? Are you satisfied with the backup?
DC: I'm 100% sure and I've watched the whole videotape, which is very, a lot of internal statements that Mitt Romney makes about where this happened and initially I was under the obligation not to reveal those details, but if you care to know, I can tell you whose house this was at and when it happened.
DC: It was at the home of Marc Leder. He is a private equity manager and a quite controversial fellow. His Sun Capital fund has about $8 billion in it, and The New York Times did a pretty good story on him earlier this year, noting that he was a very big supporter of Mitt Romney. In fact, he got into the private equity game because he once visited Bain Capital and it kind a turned him on. And that The New York Times story reports that many of his deals have gone south and been controversial. Yes, as we've learned with private equity, he still made a lot of money. And he also has a, you can't call it a side business, but a side pursuit. He has very lavish parties, particularly at his estate in Bridgehampton. In fact, one he had in August 2011 was called, you know, an orgy by The New York Post and there were people there performing sexual acts at the party itself. This is who Mitt Romney is raising money with.
RM: Was this at the Bridgehampton; the home on Long Island?
DC: No, actually this fundraiser happened in his Boca Raton home on May 17th of this year.
RM: May 17th. Okay, and in terms of the origin of it, obviously I'm not pressuring you to release your source and you have to be protective of your source, but are you confident that the source is not motivated by anti-Romney animus in a way that would mean this should be suspected of being taken out of context?
DC: Well, I would say, you saw the Romney statement today. They are not challenging a single word; anything about the authenticity of this. So that there should sort of close the argument. But I've seen the whole tape. None of this is taken out of context. I mean, you've just played that long clip. I don't know what context there could be other than, hey let me tell you something I really don't believe, which he doesn't say. So it's fully in context. And I've confirmed the authenticity by what's been in the tape and have no doubts about it. The source has assured me; the way it sort of came about indicates to me that this is true that this person is not connected to any political campaign; wasn't there as an infiltrator. It wasn't a dirty trick, so to speak. But nevertheless, put that all aside, I don't want to be distracted, I'm happy to answer those questions so people know that it's legitimate. The fact that Mitt Romney has not challenged a word here shows you that this is what he said. This is what he said behind closed doors with a bunch of other millionaires who he felt very comfortable with.
RM: That pivot I want to make with you now from where this came from to what it means. We have seen some remarkable talking points, apparently, from the right on this today. Essentially saying they like the sound of this; that they think that this is on message. This is the sort of thing that Mitt Romney is happy to run on and that there's no revelation here that the campaign feels uncomfortable about. I wonder what your reaction is to that. I find it, just in raw terms, just hearing him dismiss half the country as victims who are dependent on the government, who he's not worried about. I find it to be raw and grating, but the campaign is trying to spin it in a different way.
DC: I mean, I can see, if you want to try and say like Paul Ryan; he has an Ayn Rand view of the world and he wants to help the poor but also break them from the chains of entitlement. That's one thing. But what he's saying on this video, it doesn't take a close listen, is that everybody, not just some, but everybody who voted for Barack Obama comes from part of America where they believe they're entitled to healthcare, and food, and you name it. And they don't believe in personal responsibility. They don't take care of themselves and they don't pay taxes. So he's equating half of the electorate with a sort of band, a mass of parasitic moochers who believe they're victims of society. And that's, I mean, it's simply not true. I mean it's demonstrably not true. I don't think everyone who votes for Obama doesn't pay income taxes. But nevertheless, it shows a certain mindset in which he's casting this election as that between the forces of you know parasitism, if that's a word, and strivers like us this in room; people who believe in personal initiative and make our own success. And people can judge for themselves what level of disdain and contempt that shows, but the spinners who are trying to protect Mitt Romney are really not dealing with the words he actually said.
RM: David, should we expect further footage that you have seen to be made publicly available?
DC: (Smiling) At the end of the story today, which people can go see it motherjones.com, it does say Coming Soon, More. So there will be more very soon on Mitt Romney and what he told those people at that fundraiser.
RM: Wow. Incredible reporting, and please convey to your source that the apology accepted. I was super weirded out, but now that I understand I feel less bad about it. David congratulations again on the scoop. Thanks a lot.
DC: Thank you Rachel.
RM: David corn, Washington bureau chief for Mother Jones magazine. And again, his reporting and that footage you can see at motherjones.com.