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Entries in Leaked Video (6)

Wednesday
Sep192012

Romney Vows to Be President for 'the 100 Percent'

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(MIAMI) -- Mitt Romney said three times in the opening 10 minutes of Wednesday night's Univision "Meet the Candidate" forum that his campaign is "about the 100 percent," a clear message to voters who have been swamped with sound bites and video clips that show the candidate suggesting he wasn't concerned about the nearly half of the country unlikely to vote for him.

"My campaign is about the 100 percent of America," Romney said to the University of Miami crowd. "And I'm concerned about them. Life has become harder for Americans. I know I'm not going to get 100 percent of the vote. And my campaign will focus on the ones who will vote for me. ... I'm convinced that if we take a different course, you'll see incomes rising. I have a record, I've demonstrated my capacity to help the 100 percent."

Faced with some tough questions about immigration, Romney repeated his stance that the best path forward was a wholesale overhaul of the system that would encourage people in the country illegally now to "self-deport" and try to enter again under new laws.

"Do you think you're going to self-deport 11 million immigrants?" Univision anchor Jorge Campos asked pointedly.

"I believe that people make their own choices as to whether they want to go home and that's what I mean by self-deportation," Romney replied, appearing to soften his message from the primary debates, in which self-deportation was forefront in his immigration plan. "People decide whether they want to go back to their country of origin and get in line legally to come to this country. Look, legal immigration is critical to this country. I love legal immigration."

When pressed further on the Arizona law that would require legal immigrants to provide papers in case they're arrested or stopped by police for any reason, Romney declined to take a firm position. At the time of the Supreme Court decision upholding most of the law, Romney would only say that President Obama "has failed to provide any leadership on immigration" and that states deserve the right to craft their own immigration laws when the federal government fails to do so. He said about the same on Wednesday night.

The Republican also answered questions about his plan to repeal Obama's health care law. When asked how he felt about the president and other Democrats calling him "the grandfather" of the new "Affordable Care Act," Romney laughed.

"I don't think they meant it as a compliment," he said, "but I'll take it. This was during my primary, we thought it might not be helpful."

Democrats have seized on the fact that Romney included an individual mandate -- similar to that in President Obama's law -- in his health care plan during his time as Bay State governor.

Romney also stuck by opposition to same-sex marriage. When asked whether he would react differently if one of his five sons were gay, the candidate said, "My kids are all married, so I'd be surprised."

The appearance on Univision, which will host President Obama in a similar setting Thursday afternoon, marks the beginning of a larger effort to connect with Latino voters, a core group Romney has had trouble swaying in the polls. He spoke at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Monday and will campaign across Florida in the coming days.

Romney acknowledged the problem with a quick joke at the beginning of Wednesday night's forum and, of course, during the now-infamous, secretly taped fundraiser in Florida.

Had his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, been born Mexican rather than having just grown up there with expat U.S. parents, "I'd have a better shot at winning this," Romney quipped to a group of supporters in May. "I mean, I say that jokingly. But it would be helpful to be Latino."

One popular Hispanic politician who will not be at his side is New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, who is not, at this point, scheduled to make any joint appearances with Romney.

Gov. Martinez, honorary chair of the campaign's Hispanic outreach group, has been critical of Romney's comments dismissing 47 percent of the American electorate as freeloaders who would never vote against President Obama.

"We have a lot of people that are at the poverty level in New Mexico, but they count just as much as anybody else," Martinez said during a press conference Tuesday.

She also defended her state's social welfare programs.

"There is a net that does allow them to be caught and taken care of," she said, "whether it be through medical services, whether it be food services, whether it be with funding for apartments, for housing."

On Tuesday, super PACs pushing for the president's re-election revealed they'd purchased television time to run ads in six key swing states to put even more focus on the Romney tapes.

Weaving in Romney's more damaging rhetorical flights with images of "middle-class" families and workers, the Priorities USA spot, "Doors," opens with a shot of the lavish Florida mansion that hosted the May 17 fundraiser.

"Behind these doors Mitt Romney calls half the American people 'dependent on government, who believe they are victims," the narrator intones. Then, cutting to an image of a more modest, suburban home, a warning is delivered: "Behind these doors, middle-class families struggle and Romney will make things even tougher."

Romney responded to the criticism in a USA Today op-ed published Wednesday morning. There, he appeared to back off his harsh characterization of the "47 percent" of Americans he said don't pay income taxes but continue drawing money from entitlement programs.

"Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency," Romney wrote. "My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility. Government has a role to play here. Right now, our nation's citizens do need help from government. But it is a very different kind of help than what President Obama wants to provide."

The Republican also assailed what he calls the "web of dependency" being sewn by the administration, promising to "pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty."

The promises come in tandem with a revived effort -- Sen. John McCain tried a similar tactic in 2008 -- to paint President Obama as a closet socialist bent on "redistributing" American wealth.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep192012

Marco Rubio Calls Romney’s I-Wish-I-Were-Latino Comment ‘a Joke’

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In a conference call with reporters Wednesday, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio called Mitt Romney’s I-wish-I-were-Latino comment, which came to light in a leaked videotape this week, a “joke.”

“I think he meant it as a joke,” Rubio said on a conference call organized by the Republican National Committee, adding that’s “how most reasonable people would take it.”

Romney was shown on a hidden-camera video clip posted by Mother Jones magazine telling his audience at a May 17 fundraiser in Florida about his father’s background.

“My dad, you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company,” Romney said. “But he was born in Mexico, and had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. And, I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino.”

As it turns out, Romney made a similar reference -- publicly -- in January in an interview with Univision’s Jorge Ramos.

Although Romney’s week has been dominated by coverage of the leaked video, he has also been spending time courting Latino voters. The GOP nominee is campaigning in Florida on Wednesday and Thursday, and his campaign has deployed Rubio in a new television ad airing in Florida focused on Medicare.

When asked whether the Romney-Ryan ticket was on the right course to win on Nov. 6, Rubio said, “I just feel confident about the message we’re putting out there.”

Rubio also said he sensed “increasing enthusiasm as we get closer to Election Day” and drew a contrast -- the same one that Romney campaign officials are seeking to make this week -- between what Rubio called the prevailing view of the state of the race inside “the political universe” vs. “out in the rest of the world.”

In the “rest of the world,” Rubio said, people are “increasingly realizing we can turn this thing around pretty quickly” if we “do a few simple but important things.”

“That realization is going to turn into enthusiasm and that enthusiasm is going to turn into turnout that’s going to help us get over the top.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep182012

Who Recorded Mitt Romney '47 Percent' Tape?

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Before a May 17 fundraising dinner at a Florida mansion, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told the reporters who'd been tailing him on the campaign trail that he was sorry they couldn't follow him inside.

"Too bad you can't come to the fundraisers," Romney told reporters.

While the journalists were left outside, however, someone inside the lavishly catered dinner decided to do a little freelance reporting, creating the latest viral recording to jar a national political campaign.

A camera secretly recorded Romney from a serving table at the edge of the room as he addressed an audience of 40 or 50 at the $50,000-a-plate event, delivering remarks that would make headlines four months later. Romney dismissed Obama supporters as entitled "victims."

"There are 47 percent who are with him," said Romney, "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."

Romney also joked that he'd have an easier path to victory if his father, who was born in Mexico, was actually Latino. "Had he been born of Mexican parents, I would have a better shot of winning this thing."

The camera rolled for 49 and a half minutes. Whoever recorded Romney's remarks then provided the tape to Mother Jones magazine, which published the full video on its website Tuesday.

Monika Bauerlein, co-editor of Mother Jones, told ABC News she would not disclose the identity of the magazine's source.

"This is somebody that, as people would be, was excited about being in the room with a presidential candidate," said Bauerlein. She said the tape "did not come from opposition researchers or a political campaign."

James Carter IV, grandson of the former president and a political researcher, found the first posted snippet of the video on the Internet and put Mother Jones in touch with the video's source. Carter told MSNBC Tuesday that "it would be fair to assume" that the videographer was not one of the wealthy donors who'd paid $50,000 to eat dinner with Mitt Romney.

The video is shot across the top of a marble-topped table that is apparently being used to serve wine and ice, with a clear view in between various pitchers and decanters. A short stack of bar napkins is visible to the left. About four minutes into the tape, the camera angle is adjusted, and a pitcher on the right is moved out of the way. Later, a wine decanter on the right is maneuvered out of the shot.

At one point, a waitress can be heard placing an order with the bartender, saying, "Four martini glasses, please." The back story of how and why the tapes were made and worked their way to the mainstream media provides a rare look at an increasingly common political tactic, according to Democratic strategist Doug Thornell.

"I think one of the most influential, important developments in campaigns over the last ten years is the viral video that catches a candidate," said Democratic consultant Doug Thornell.

The Romney tapes were first posted on line on YouTube on May 31, two weeks after the speech, by a new user with and account called "Romney Exposed."

But the clip including Romney's comment about the 47 percent was not among the first posted and it wasn't until last month that an excerpt about Chinese labor conditions and Bain began to get limited notice. In the clip, Romney recounts going to China "to buy a factory there."

Democratic party operatives began to take notice in August, including those who work in Washington at American Bridge, a super PAC with the mission of recording virtually every word Romney or Ryan says, looking for a possible slip-up.

According to Rodell Mollineau, president of American Bridge, "It just needs to be uploaded to YouTube, one person sees it, sends it to four or five other people, it gets Tweeted out and the next thing you know you've got millions of people seeing this."

But then late in August Mother Jones magazine was put in touch with the videographer by James Carter. The magazine's editors realized the potential impact of the now-infamous 47 percent clip, which had previously gone unnoticed.

"Once we had the full tape, which was several weeks ago, it jumped out at us immediately," said Bauerlein. "But [we] needed to take some time to really make sure we had a story that was completely solid. You know, verify it, fact check, do additional reporting."

Romney is hardly the first politician to be tripped up by remarks not intended to be public.

Republicans scored a similar coup four years ago when a blogger caught Obama on tape at a private fundraising event, talking about the members of the conservative right.

Obama told his audience in San Francisco that "it's not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations."

Under Florida law it is a crime, a felony, to secretly record someone who has a reasonable expectation they are not being recorded. But many say anyone running for president should always expect that they may be recorded by someone, somehow.

"The thing that candidates have to worry about is that every event that they're at, there's no such thing as off the record anymore," said Doug Thornell. "These are moments that campaigns live for. And certainly in this instance, Mitt Romney provided Democrats with a gold mine of rhetoric."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep182012

Romney Hits Obama for ‘Redistribution’ Remark in 1998 Recording

Saul Loeb/AFP/J.D. Pooley/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- Hoping to help Mitt Romney reframe the debate sparked by his comments on social class and taxes, Republicans are pointing to a newly resurfaced 14-year-old audio recording of Barack Obama appearing to endorse the redistribution of wealth.

“There is a tape that just came out today where the President is saying he likes redistribution. I disagree,” Romney said in an afternoon interview with Fox News.

The audio, posted to YouTube by an unidentified user and dated Oct. 19, 1998, appears to be of remarks by then-Illinois State Sen. Obama at a conference at Loyola University in Chicago.

“Let me just close by saying, as we think about the policy research surrounding the issues that I just named -- policy research for the working poor, broadly defined -- I think that what we’re going to have to do is resuscitate the notion that government action can be effective at all,” he says.

“There has been a systematic -- I don’t think it’s too strong to call it a ‘propaganda campaign’ against the possibility of government action and its efficacy. And I think some of it has been deserved. The Chicago Housing Authority has not been a model of good policy making, and neither necessarily has been the Chicago Public Schools. What that means then is that as we try to resuscitate this notion that we’re all in this thing together, leave nobody behind, we do have to be innovative in thinking what are the delivery systems that are effective and meet people where they live."

“And my suggestion, I guess, would be that the trick -- and this is one of the few areas where I think there are technical issues that have to be dealt with as opposed to just political issues -- I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution,” he said, “because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure everybody’s got a shot.”

The Romney campaign signaled that it plans to make the comments a focal point of its messaging in the coming days. It appeared to be an attempt in part to try and deflect criticism from Democrats over Romney’s surreptitiously-recorded comments referring to Obama supporters as people who are “dependent on the government” and feeling “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”

“I think a society based upon a government-centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role, redistributes money, that’s the wrong course for America,” Romney told Fox. “We believe in free people and free enterprise, not redistribution. The right course for America is to create growth, create wealth, not to redistribute wealth.”

Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said Romney’s attack on comments Obama made 14 years ago is a sign the Republican nominee is “so desperate to change the subject.”

“Fourteen years ago, then-Senator Obama was making an argument for a more efficient, more effective government -- specifically citing city government agencies that he didn’t think were working effectively,” LaBolt said.  "He believed then, and believes now, that there are steps we can take to promote opportunity and ensure that all Americans have a fair shot if they work hard.  Unlike Governor Romney, he doesn’t believe that if you’re a student who applies for a loan you’re looking for a handout.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep182012

Obama to Letterman on Romney’s 47 Percent: Not Many ‘Think They’re Victims’

Jeffrey R. Staab/CBS via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In his first response to Mitt Romney’s comments that 47 percent of voters believe “they are victims” and would cast their ballots for the president “no matter what,” President Obama told David Letterman Tuesday night, “If you want to be president you’ve got to work for everybody, not just for some.”

“I don’t know what he was referring to,” the president said during an appearance on CBS' Late Show. “But I can tell you this. When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain.  They didn’t vote for me. What I said on election night was even though you didn’t vote for me, I hear your voices and I’m going as work as hard as I can to be your president.”

“One of the things I’ve learned as president is you represent the entire country.  And when I meet Republicans as I’m traveling around the country, they are hardworking family people who care deeply about this country.  And my expectation is if you want to be president you’ve got to work for everybody, not just for some.”

Speaking to donors at a private fundraiser that was secretly videotaped and later made public by Mother Jones magazine, Romney said, “All right, there are 47 percent who are with him [Obama], 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.”

“My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney added. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The president adamantly denied Romney’s assertion. “There are not a lot of people out there who think they’re victims,” he told Letterman. “There are not a lot of people who think they’re entitled to something.”

“What I think people want to make sure of, though, is you’re not writing off a big chunk of the country,” the president said. “This is a big country....And people disagree a lot, but one thing I’ve never tried to do, and I think none of us can do in public office, is suggest that because someone doesn’t agree with me that they’re victims or they’re unpatriotic.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Sep182012

GOP Senate Candidates Denounce Romney’s Comments

Scott J. Ferrell/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Democrats aren’t the only ones taking issue with the now-famous fundraiser video of Mitt Romney characterizing the 47 percent of voters who will vote for Obama as “dependent on government.” Some Republicans have also denounced his comments.

Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, a Republican who supports Romney, issued a statement distancing himself from what Romney was seen saying.

"That’s not the way I view the world,” Brown said in a statement on Tuesday.  ”I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs.”

Polling in Massachusetts has consistently shown Obama with a strong lead over Romney, and strategists there agree that Brown needs to court crossover voters -- people who favor Obama -- in order to keep his seat in the fall.

Connecticut’s Republican Senate candidate, Linda McMahon, also posted a statement Tuesday.

“I disagree with Governor Romney’s insinuation that 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care,” McMahon said in the statement. “I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be. People today are struggling because the government has failed to keep America competitive, failed to support job creators, and failed to get our economy back on track.”

McMahon, who is probably best known as the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, is in a similar position to Senator Brown. Running in a traditionally blue state, McMahon will also need to court crossover voters in order to win her race.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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