Romney Criticized for "47%" Comment

Mitt Romney was caught off guard when Mother Jones leaked a video of him responding to a question about his strategy to win the election:

"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."

To explain his comments, Romney positioned them in terms of his campaign strategy:

"This is a campaign, fundamentally, about how to help the middle-class in America, and how to help people in poverty get into the middle class."

VP candidate Paul Ryan also tried to position the comment into the larger perspective of the Republican campaign:

"Oh I think he would have said it differently, that's for sure," Ryan said. "But the point still stands, we have too many people becoming too dependent on government because of the poor economic policies of the Obama administration."

But Ryan didn't mince words when criticizing Romney's phrasing: 


"He was obviously inarticulate in making this point. And the point we're trying to make here is, under the Obama economy government dependency is up and economic stagnation is up. And what we're trying to achieve is getting people off of government dependency and back to a job that pays well and gets them on the path to prosperity."

Discussion Starters:

  • What's your view of Romney's initial comments? How could he have phrased his perspective instead?
  • In the second video here, is Romney effective in repositioning his 47% comment?