Romney disavows '47%' remarks

Posted: October 06, 2012

FISHERSVILLE, Va. - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has disavowed his controversial remarks dismissing "the 47 percent" of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes, saying in an interview Thursday night that the comments were "just completely wrong."

"My life has shown that I care about 100 percent, and that's been demonstrated throughout my life," Romney told conservative commentator Sean Hannity on Fox News. "And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent."

At a fund-raiser in May, Romney told wealthy donors that nearly half of Americans are government freeloaders who see themselves as "victims," can't be convinced to take personal responsibility for their lives, and will support President Obama in the election "no matter what."

"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," Romney said.

When a surreptitiously recorded video of the event surfaced last month, Romney refused to back away from the comments, although he conceded that they were "not elegantly stated." But in battleground states, he saw his poll numbers slip as the Obama campaign used the remarks in its television ads to portray Romney as a plutocrat who doesn't understand the struggles of everyday Americans.

Romney was prepared to try to explain his remarks during the Wednesday debate, but he wasn't asked about them. On Thursday, Hannity asked the candidate what he would have said about the comments during the debate, if he had been given the opportunity.

"Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney answered. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."

"When I become president, it will be about helping the 100 percent," Romney said. "For me, this is all about the 100 percent. And, you know, the president can talk about the things he'd like to talk about - I'm going to talk about how I'm going to get America working again and help all the people of this country."

On Hannity's show Thursday, Romney, for the most part, did not gloat about his reviews from the debate. He demurred when the host asked him if perhaps former Vice President Al Gore was right that Obama's poor performance could be attributed to altitude sickness in Denver.

Romney - who was joined for part of the 15-minute interview by his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan - just chuckled and said he was glad the country had finally gotten a chance to hear him talk about his plans to create jobs and improve the economy.

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