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Romney on '47 percent': I was 'completely wrong'

By Kassie Hunt

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:20 p.m. HST, Oct 04, 2012

FISHERSVILLE, Va. >> Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has described his disparaging remarks about the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes as "not elegantly stated." Now he's calling them "just completely wrong."

The original remarks, secretly recorded during a fundraiser in May and posted online in September by the magazine Mother Jones, sparked intense criticism of Romney and provided fodder to those who portray him as an out-of-touch millionaire oblivious to the lives of average Americans. The remarks became a staple of Obama campaign criticism.

Initially, Romney defended his view, telling reporters at a news conference shortly after the video was posted that his remarks were "not elegantly stated" and that they were spoken "off the cuff." He didn't disavow them, however, and later adopted as a response when the remarks were raised that his campaign supports "the 100 percent in America."

In an interview Thursday night with Fox News, Romney was asked what he would have said had the "47 percent" comments come up during his debate in Denver on Wednesday night with President Barack Obama.

"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 said. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."

He added: "And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that's been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent."

Critics of Romney's "47 percent" remarks noted that many of those who don't pay federal incomes taxes pay other forms of taxes. More than 16 million elderly Americans avoid federal income taxes solely because of tax breaks that apply only to seniors, the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reports. Millions of others don't pay federal income taxes because they don't earn enough after deductions and exemptions.

Acknowledging error is rare for Romney. Asked recently whether his TV ads had strayed from the facts, he said they had been "absolutely spot-on." Fact-checking operations have argued otherwise.

Some conservatives rallied around Romney after the video surfaced, urging him to stand behind the remarks as accurate despite the criticism.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said in the video. "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."

"Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax," Romney said, and that his role "is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Romney later told reporters at a news conference called to address the remarks: "It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I'm sure I could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that."

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honupono wrote:
a liar is still a liar no matter how elegant you are.
on October 4,2012 | 09:23PM
SteveToo wrote:
Refering to the president I guess.
on October 4,2012 | 10:29PM
kuewa wrote:
Totally agree. And this liar, Romney, is rich but inelegant. Double whammy.
on October 5,2012 | 12:48AM
SteveToo wrote:
I'm a senior living on SS and State retirement and I pay taxes. I also support Romney.
on October 4,2012 | 10:28PM
64hoo wrote:
the secret service also support romney because he treats them right, did you notice the flag pin with a star on romneys lapel on his suit was bigger than obamas, just found out on the fox show red eye they said the secret service gave romney that pin. shows they have alot of respect for romney.
on October 4,2012 | 10:57PM
312guy wrote:
just a ss agent sucking up lol, you ask for a pin they give you one lol
on October 4,2012 | 11:29PM
64hoo wrote:
no he treats them respect like reagan and the bushes the secret service like them all. hillary, gore and the obamas disrespect the secret service that put there life on the line for them. so mitt treats them with alot respect and the secret service like that. not the commies that i mentioned from gore to the obams there just mean and nasty people.
on October 5,2012 | 12:10AM
312guy wrote:
no he is refering to weather vain romney, the big bird killer
on October 4,2012 | 11:28PM
honupono wrote:
I am referring to the man who in a fundraising dinner called 47% of the population people who likes to see themselves as victims and basically people he doesn't care for. And now that he was caught, he is saying he was wrong. He didn't feel that way the night he said it when he got laughs and giggles from his rich non 47% audience. He flip flops with everything he says, I wouldn't trust him with my future. Liar.
on October 5,2012 | 12:08AM
kuewa wrote:
His life has shown that he cares about the 100% of himself, For everyone else, he will lie, deceive, spin, twist and turn as needed to convince us that he cares, even though there is no real evidence of such caring. Disgusting.
on October 5,2012 | 12:47AM
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