Some Minnesota Republicans see silver lining in Romney video

REUTERS/Jim Young
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaking to reporters in Los Angeles, Calif., on Monday evening.

Some Minnesota Republicans are defending Mitt Romney’s comments secretly recorded at a fundraiser in May, saying they hope he does not back away from his statement that 47 percent of Americans pay no taxes and are dependent on government

“He spoke the truth about the dependency rate,” said St. Paul Republican activist John Gilmore. “That number 47 percent, that comes as news to people and that’s what they are talking about.”

According to the Tax Policy Center,  46.4 percent of American households pay no federal income tax, although most pay other taxes, including payroll taxes.  

At a fundraising event in Boca Raton, Fla., Romney referred to the base of voters who support President Obama as “dependent upon the government, who believe 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.” Romney has defended the remarks since the release of the video.

For Kelly Fenton, deputy chair of the Minnesota Republican party, that description serves as a clearly worded differentiation of goals of the two candidates.

“Romney was pointing out the difference between his and Obama’s policies,” she said.  “We’ve seen as Obama’s solutions – more government.  Romney’s solution is less dependence on government, more focus on personal responsibility and freedom to purse the American dream.”

In the 7th congressional district, Lee Byberg, Collin Peterson’s GOP challenger, has also endorsed Romney’s comments, saying “Romney was merely stating the obvious.”

Still, other Republicans – including GOP Senate candidates Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Linda McMahon of Connecticut – have distanced themselves from the comments and worry that it reinforces an image promoted by Democrats that Romney is out of touch with middle-class Americans.

Timing questioned

Fenton and others question the timing of the release of the video. By news standards, comments made five months ago, if they were not furtively taped, would be moldering today in an archive folder. “The timing is interesting because it shifted the discussion over [events in] the Middle East,” she said. “It’s a great distraction away from issues in terms of how Obama is handling the Middle East uprising and the embassy attacks.” 

Gilmore called the video a non-event. “Secret video? There’s nothing secret. Anyone inside or outside that tent would have heard the whole thing,” he said

Romney’s own comments on the Middle East, meanwhile, have also been the focus of attention. In the video, he says:

“The Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace… And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and I say, ‘there’s just no way,’ and so what you do is you move things along the best way you can.”

According to Gilmore, this is not news. “If it comes as news to someone that the Palestinians don’t want peace, they have not been paying attention,” he said. 

News coverage of Romney’s video comments will likely decline in the coming days. But Republicans say they believe his comments have had an unintended silver lining: They resonated with Romney’s supporters.

Gilmore, for one, wants the comments to be repeated.  “I wish he were this fired up on the stump.”

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Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 09/19/2012 - 09:58 am.

    Probably true

    “…Republicans say they believe his comments have had an unintended silver lining: They resonated with Romney’s supporters.”

    Sadly, that’s probably true, and it doesn’t reflect well on Mr. Romney’s supporters.

  2. Submitted by Kenneth Kjer on 09/19/2012 - 11:09 am.

    Romney is starting to sound like a 3rd world dictator.

  3. Submitted by David Frenkel on 09/19/2012 - 11:21 am.

    Government contractors

    I wonder of this 47% included the hundreds of thousands of people that work for government contractors at federal, state, county and local levels. The defense industry alone has doubled in the past 10 years. The majority of these contractors jobs are good paying and have a huge economic effect in many communities. The defense industry and US military are historically Republican, is this what Mitt is referring to as part of his 47%. Making broad sweeping generalities often leads to trouble. I would agree that Mitt was speaking to his supporters that would support his comments.

  4. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 09/19/2012 - 11:28 am.

    There are so many articles related to how the 47% are working-poor, elderly, retired, etc, etc. And surprisingly enough, many of those “victims” vote Republican and live in red states. Let’s run right past that which shows a very poor grasp of Republican demographics on part of the Romney campaign.

    And for all of the talk of Democrats whipping up “class warfare”, Romney clearly shows that he regards it as a battle between the wealthy tax minimizers that he was talking to and the non-tax payers he was maligning.

    As for moving the focus off of the ME. hadn’t Romney kind of stepped in it with his off-the-cuff remark?. Many people do not want to enter a new war-without-end path in the ME. And certainly his statements at the same meeting show that he intends to do exactly nothing to try to move the ME peace process forward.

    It’s a good question, though. What is Romney’s plan for the ME? Serve as Israel’s poodle? Bomb populations where elements of that population attacked US interests or seem to threaten them? If the past decade hasn’t provided sufficient proof of the US’s ability to kill, wound, and displace entire populations in the ME in the search for “security”, what would? Another step up in force? Tanks, planes, bombers, nukes?? Total warfare??

    Tough talk from a man who really has no plan.

  5. Submitted by jerry wimmers on 09/19/2012 - 11:34 am.

    Romney – Silver lining

    United States is the land of opportunity…..If you want to be rich, you can….If you want a good job and care for your family – you can….If you do not have the ability to make as much money as others for some reason or another and you are happy with your living style, you can do this also……..There are benefits for all levels of income……BUT TO RECIEVE TAX DOLLARS AND NOT EXPECT TO WORK (providing a person is physically, mentally, etc. are able) THIS ATTITUDE IS OVER……Face the tough statements instead of the blind truth that Obama is sending……Everyone one should ask, in four years how am I better off and how much better off will I be in the next…….

    If the governement wants more taxes…….GET PEOPLE BACK TO WORK AND STOP SENDING AID TO FORIEGN COUNTRIES……””””” NOW”””””

    Romney says he will generate 12,000,000 jobs…….COME ON MR. PRESIDENT TOP THIS, IF NOT THEN GET OUT OF THE WAY……

    ROMNEY — DON’T BACK OFF — AND GET RID OF OBAMACARE – i can’t believe you have two systems of health (Medicare & medicade) and both systems not healthy…..How can anyone think that what Obama did – TOOK OVER $700 BILLION FROM A PLAN THAT PEOPLE PAID INTO ONLY TO START UP ANOTHER HEALTH SYSTEM AND THEN SAY MEDICARE/MEDICADE SHOULD GO BROKE.””””” WE DON’T NEED ANOTHER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM — FIX THE ONES WE HAVE OR LET TAXPAYERS STOP PAYING INTO PLAN AND GET THEIR OWN…….”””’wHERE IS THE COMMON SENSE”””””””””””””

    MY KIDS SHOULD NOT HAVE TO PAY INTO MEDICARE/MEDICAD WITH THIS ABUSE FOR THE OBAMACARE…….””’GET RID OF IT AND FIX WHAT WE HAVE……”””””””””””””””

    President Obama – “STOP WASTING MY TAX DOLLARS” and “TEACHERS SHOULD TOO”

    TEACHERS NEED TO UNDERSTAND IT THE PEOPLES TAX DOLLARS THAT PAY THEIR SALARIES —–they should not be allowed to go on strike, tell the public that they want more and not be held accountable, and they should be able to be fired……if i get fired I don’t get paid…..they can’t get fired and taxes pay for them….”END THIS NOW”

    ABOVE IS THE OPINION OF A FRUSTRATED TAX PAYER…….

    • Submitted by Jackson Cage on 09/19/2012 - 12:17 pm.

      Your typical Sam’s Club Republican..

      ..people like Mr. Wimmer’s fail to see the obvious that they are much closer to becoming a member of the 47% than they are the 1% and, unless he joins the latter, Mitt won’t tolerate his kind.

    • Submitted by Tim Walker on 09/19/2012 - 12:48 pm.

      My name is Tim Walker

      And I am running for president of United States as a write-in candidate.

      And furthermore, I promise to create 13 million new jobs in my first four years as president.

      So clearly, now, both Mr. Romney and Pres. Obama should step out of my way.

      Because I promise THIRTEEN MILLION new jobs.

      Oh, you want details?

      What’s the matter, don’t you trust me?

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 09/19/2012 - 05:40 pm.

      Frustrated taxpayer

      I, too, am a frustrated taxpayer. I see that I pay income tax, payroll tax, sales tax, etc. etc. and on down the line. I see that I pay several percentage points more of my hard earned income–money that I didn’t inherit or skim off the top as I passed money from one hand to another–than rich Mr. Romney (who we can’t even be sure paid income tax, himself). I see that both my grandfathers, whose main incomes are a combination of Social Security (which they paid into) and military benefits, are considered moochers by Mr. Romney because they weren’t born with silver spoons in their mouths, regardless of the fact that it was THEY who served their country rather than expecting their country to serve them. I am frustrated that these two retired military members, who worked their entire lives to scrape together a living, are considered moochers while Mr. Romney, who never worried about money because he inherited so much can claim that, because they don’t pay federal income tax NOW, they must be worthless moochers.

      I am also frustrated that there are people who believe the “Obama stole $700 billion from Medicare” without expending any energy to find out that it’s not true.

      I am frustrated with a lot of things about being a taxpayer and constantly spending time researching the “Obamacare is evil” and “teachers are evil” tripe in order to try to educate those who have not spent any time researching on their own.

      The sad fact is that Romney probably has no clue “how the other half lives” because he believes that all people who get assistance from the government are not working. That’s not true. Not even close. And what about those people who live off of the government because they’re in the military? How is that not dependence on the government? Are they moochers? Surely not! Yet my elderly grandfathers who served in the past and worked their whole lives are in the 47% that Romney admits he doesn’t care about? Did Mr. Romney ever get government assistance–I bet he did! In fact, his own parents might have been destitute or still in Mexico if the government hadn’t just handed money to their family when they fled to the US.

      My biggest frustration as a taxpayer is that there are so many people that are in that 47% who believe that they’re not. If you worked and did not pay federal income tax, Romney believes you are a moocher. Considering that nearly HALF of all Americans are in the group he considers moochers, I can guarantee you that at least someone you know and love is a worthless moocher. After all, Romney believes that even food and housing are luxuries.

  6. Submitted by Jeremy Powers on 09/19/2012 - 11:55 am.

    What I find odd is

    Many of those people not paying taxes still feel put-upon and vote Republican. It’s ridiculous to think that people who don’t pay taxes are Democrats.

    I know people on Social Security without another dime to their name who are staunch Republicans and feel it’s the remaining 46.399999 people who are getting more than their share, but somehow they are paying too much. And they’re probably right, because as average income drops, the percentage of income going to the state and local organizations, such as cities and schools, has gone up.

    And of those 46.4 percent who don’t pay federal taxes, 60 percent of them were paying payroll taxes. What that tells me is they are working but are paid so poorly that because of the economy and their own limitations, our US tax codes, which have had input from both Republicans and Democrats, sees them as too poor to be taxed. That’s the real crime here: people who work hard and can’t make enough to be taxed.

    • Submitted by Dale Hoogeveen on 09/19/2012 - 09:23 pm.

      “And of those 46.4 percent who don’t pay federal taxes, 60 percent of them were paying payroll taxes. What that tells me is they are working but are paid so poorly that because of the economy and their own limitations, our US tax codes, which have had input from both Republicans and Democrats, sees them as too poor to be taxed. That’s the real crime here: people who work hard and can’t make enough to be taxed.”

      That says a whole lot that needs to be said over and over. Something is very wrong if people who work hard aren’t able to make enough to pay income taxes. And then to have themselves labeled as moochers is just rubbing salt into the wounds.

  7. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 09/19/2012 - 02:31 pm.

    Ever since I saw and heard that clip from the expensive fundraiser in Boca, I’ve been wondering if for most of the past ten years Mr. Romney himself hasn’t been among the 47% of Americans who pay no federal income taxes. He’s revealed two years’ tax returns, but holds back all the rest from the time since he ostensibly left Bain Capital, in 2000 or 2001.

    I really, really think that Romney’s remarks demand that he reveal all his tax returns from 2000 forward.

  8. Submitted by Dennis Wagner on 09/19/2012 - 04:44 pm.

    Lets state the obvious

    Entitlements:
    Oil companies, Coal, Energy, Electrical, Telecommunications, Pharmaceuticals, farmers, General Electric, Defense Contractors, etc. etc. get special benefits, deductions, insurance, etc. etc. Now are you going to argue that those multimillion dollar a year Oil Executives “That Lobbied DC” don’t feel “ENTITLED” to those government funded programs? Those programs have been around longer than food stamps! Lets look at the “I am entitled not to pay or get special treatment the smae way we look at everything else.
    Some of you folks need to get real! You don’t think rich folks like Romney don’t think they are “ENTITLED” to their wealth and stature, as well as paying less than 1/2 the tax rate that
    I pay, and they have greater than 100 times the income?

  9. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 09/19/2012 - 09:26 pm.

    People are angry with Romney’s 47% statement because of what it says about how the elite thinks about the rest of America. People were angry with Obama’s “cling to their guns and religion” statement for much the same reason. The danger in the US is not so much that we’re divided between Republicans and Democrats; that’s just politics. The danger is that the elite in each party are so desperately out of touch with the general populace. The problem with politics in America is the difference between what candidates say and do to placate their donors and what they then say to the public. That gap is growing, and politicians are finding it hard to bridge it while maintaining any credibility or legitimacy.

  10. Submitted by John Ellenbecker on 09/19/2012 - 10:06 pm.

    The 47% was an anomaly

    Come on Cindy – do your research. The 47% was an anomaly for 2009 due to the impact of the great recession. In 2007 the figure was 40%..

    And please, please, please relate the number to federal income taxes – not all federal taxes. Federal income taxes consitute only about 50% of federal revenues.

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