Well, here we go. Obama can make all the gaffs in the world, and you'll never hear about them except on "alternative" media, but let Romney say something that is cruel - but true - and the mainsteam media is all over it.
Newsday.com: Mitt Romney: No apologies, but 'victims' comment not elegantly stated
WASHINGTON - Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney faced the task of getting his campaign back on track Tuesday after a hidden camera caught him off guard, while President Barack Obama was kicking back in New York on David Letterman's couch and at a fundraiser with Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
Romney plans no apology for stating
that nearly half of Americans "believe that they are victims." Instead,
he is expected to respond to questions about the statement by
reinforcing the message he delivered at a hastily called news conference
Monday night, in which he said Obama favors "a government-centered society" with people dependent on public support.
Romney advisers concede the video came
at a bad time — seven weeks before Election Day and with early voting
beginning in two dozen states by this weekend. They acknowledge the
remarks may dominate news coverage for days but dispute the notion that
Romney's comments could fundamentally change the election.
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The unscripted moment was reminiscent of the 2008 campaign, when Obama was caught telling the wealthy wing
of his party at a private fundraiser in San Francisco that some
residents of depressed rural areas get bitter and "cling to guns or
religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them."
In the Romney video, recorded at a Florida fundraiser in May, the candidate says 47 percent of Americans don't pay taxes and believe they are entitled to extensive government support. "My job is not to worry about those people," he said.
After the video posted late Monday afternoon on Mother Jones
magazine's website, Romney refused to take them back. He told reporters
that while his comments were "not elegantly stated," he stood by his
"Those who are reliant on government
are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of
government," Romney said in Costa Mesa, Calif., doubling down on his
were quick to take advantage of the fallout from the video that
reinforced accusations that Romney, born into privilege, cannot
understand the struggles many Americans face. A pro-Obama super political action committee quickly pushed up the air date for a new television advertisement in response.
The ad, from Priorities USA Action,
was previously shown online and never mentions the Romney video because
it was produced before it became public. But the super PAC says it
believes the ad's message serves as a counter to the Republican
nominee's words and bought time to begin airing it as early as Tuesday
on stations in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.
"Doesn't Mitt Romney understand we
can't rebuild America by tearing down the middle class?" the narrator
says. The group also is likely to start running new ads using Romney's
words from the fundraising video.
Obama was told about the video Monday
afternoon by staff traveling with him on a campaign trip to Ohio. The
president has not publicly commented on the video, but could do so
Tuesday when he tapes an interview with David Letterman and delivers
remarks at a fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. After that, Obama
was set to collect nearly $4 million at a $40,000-a-ticket fundraiser at
a Manhattan nightclub with husband and wife musicians Jay-Z and
Romney had no public appearances
scheduled Tuesday and planned to raise money in Salt Lake City and in
Dallas with former first lady Laura Bush at the Bushes' Texas home.
Looking to change the subject,
Romney's campaign rolled out a new television ad featuring a mother and
infant, aimed at cutting into Obama's advantage with female voters. It
argued that Obama's economic policies would make women's lives harder.
Romney faced growing complaints that
his campaign fumbled opportunities at the Republican convention in
August on foreign unrest and, most crucially, on the U.S. economy, which
is seen as Obama's weakest point. GOP
activists and consultants have fretted as opinion polls suggest Obama
has opened a small lead over Romney since the parties' late-summer
The unexpected video, recorded in May and released Monday, sent Romney's aides scrambling yet again.
Romney surrogate Donald Trump said: "I think he has to not apologize. ... What he said is probably what he thinks."
"The problem they have is, they are
not being tough enough," Trump said in a telephone interview Tuesday on
NBC's "Today" show. "I'm not saying down and dirty, but that's exactly
what President Obama is doing with them. They have to get tougher or they're going to lose this campaign."
Romney refused to take back his
remarks and senior adviser Bay Buchanan told CNN on Tuesday that, "as a
candidate he can't worry about those he can't get."
The Obama campaign e-mailed donors asking for contributions in response.
"The man who spoke these words — who
demonstrates such disgust and disdain for half of our fellow Americans —
is the other side's choice for president of the United States," wrote
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. "He wants to lead our country. If we
don't come through for President Obama right now, this will be the guy
making big decisions that affect us and our families every single day."
In the video, Romney said 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax.
About 46 percent of Americans owed no
federal income tax in 2011, although many of them paid other forms of
taxes. More than 16 million elderly Americans avoid federal income taxes solely because of tax breaks that apply only to seniors, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.
In the clip released by Mother Jones,
Romney also is asked about the "Palestinian problem." He gives a
rambling response, then says "the Palestinians have no interest
whatsoever in establishing peace" and "the pathway to peace is almost
unthinkable to accomplish."