Romney Explains His 'Mistake' in 47% Remarks

He directed them in response to one ranting supporter, forgetting the bigger picture
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 30, 2014 12:48 PM CDT
Romney Explains His 'Mistake' in 47% Remarks
Mitt Romney walks on stage during an event celebrating the 52nd birthday of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Sept. 10, 2014, in East Brunkswick, N.J.   (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The day's buzziest political story is one from next week's New York Times' Sunday Magazine with the provocative headline, "Mitt Isn't Ready to Call It Quits." The story by Mark Leibovich doesn't drop any 2016 bombshells, but it observes that Romney is "noticeably playing along" with the chatter that he might run again. Instead of definitively killing such speculation, he keeps it alive by saying that while he's not planning to run, "circumstances can change." Romney also elaborates on his now-notorious observation that 47% of the electorate was a lost cause for him because they are "dependent on government" and will vote for President Obama "no matter what." Romney tells Leibovich that he erred in directing his remarks toward a supporter who had gone on a rant depicting Obama voters as deadbeats:

  • “My mistake was that I was speaking in a way that reflected back to the man. If I had been able to see the camera, I would have remembered that I was talking to the whole world, not just the man.”

Interesting, writes Ed Kilgore at Washington Monthly, who thinks the explanation captures the entirety of Romney's 2012 run. "Throughout the primaries he was always in effect talking to some angry if not entirely coherent Republican voter or donor or media opinion-leader, and trying to 'reflect back' to their POV, which Mitt did not entirely share but had to take very, very seriously," writes Kilgore. "It’s an almost impossible habit to break, and at a crucial moment, he couldn’t." At the Washington Post, Sean Sullivan sees Romney's lesson as one that all modern candidates must absorb. "All they have to do is look at how much destruction (it) caused his campaign and simply assume the camera is on at all times when they are speaking." (Former running mate Paul Ryan, meanwhile, told Charlie Rose on PBS yesterday that the "47%" comments were "wrong," reports Business Insider.)

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