Will the "Secret Video" Spell Trouble for Mitt Romney's Campaign?
David Corn of Mother Jones today published "secret video" of Mitt Romney, which he reports was taped during Romney's appearance at a private fundraiser held by private equity manager Marc Leder in Boca Raton, Florida on May 17. In the video, Romney describes the "47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what" as "entitled" people who "pay no income tax." Romney tonight confirmed the video is of him speaking, noting that his comments were not "elegantly stated."
From the video:
"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 ... These are people who pay no income tax."
Several reporters (including Corn himself and David A. Graham of The Atlantic) have called into question the veracity of Romney's numbers, while others (such as Alex Klein of the Daily Beast) say the 47 percent statistic is more or less correct.
The Candidates React to the Story
The Obama campaign touted the story on Twitter soon after it broke:
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) September 18, 2012
In a press conference tonight, Romney stood by his comments, and requested that the entire tape would be released:
Reaction on Twitter
Of course, "47 percent" is now a Twitter hashtag.
Could Romney have worded what he said better? Sure. Do I agree with every word? No. But the selective media outrage is hard to stomach.
— Jedediah Bila (@JedediahBila) September 18, 2012
#47percent. We proudly pay our taxes, we love the Lord & have served in every war since mid 1800s. "Too whom is given, much is required."
— Donna Brazile (@donnabrazile) September 18, 2012
— Carol Ann (@carolannnolan) September 18, 2012
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) September 18, 2012
Pundits Split on the Impact of "47 Percent"
No surprise: Pundits are split along ideological lines.
Josh Barro of the Bloomberg Ticker came out with a strong opinion: "Today Romney Lost the Election."
This is an utter disaster for Romney.
Romney already has trouble relating to the public and convincing people he cares about them. Now, he's been caught on video saying that nearly half the country consists of hopeless losers.
Emily Zanotti of Naked DC notes, "Apparently, America is supposed to be outraged because Mitt Romney is…Republican:"
I mean, I’m shocked. I’m floored. I’m downright amazed at what I’ve seen. But primarily because it appears Mitt Romney acts human in private. The other stuff is just bullsh*t. If I get a headline in my inbox that says “Secret Romney Tape” it better damned well be of him either changing his magic underwear or getting a firmware update through a USB port hidden in his hairline. Or maybe Rafalca talking to him in a barn like Mr. Ed, giving him foreign policy advice. Or the dismembered, preserved head of Richard Nixon falling out of a suitcase.
Allahpundit of Hot Air doesn't think the video will shake Romney's campaign:
This was recorded awhile back at a fundraiser, just like Obama’s infamous “bitter/clinger” comments in 2008. Remember how big that blew up? That’s how we ended up with President McCain.
The dirty little secret of most “controversial” political statements is that voters pay them little mind, especially when they’re preoccupied with bread-and-butter issues. The GOP spent three days in Tampa hammering Obama for the “you didn’t build that” line and a fat lot of good it did them in vaulting Romney past O in the polls. Then again, the GOP didn’t have a media megaphone like the one that’s going to be amplifying this for the rest of the week.
Rachel Maddow called it possibly the worst day yet for Romney as a candidate. She also explained the back story of how the video was discovered (unverifiable videos from the same speech appearance had been fraudulently published to YouTube under an account with her name some months ago).
What do you think about this story? Is it changing your opinion of Romney -- or Obama -- as a candidate? Or is it just another media kerfuffle?