Op-Ed: Romney Disparages 47 Percent of Americans in Secret Video

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By: Christine Nicco/TRT Columnist– UPDATED

[Full Video & Transcript]

Mitt Romney has done it again. According to the website MotherJones.com, he was caught secretly holding a millionaire donor fundraiser in which he told attendees what “this Romney” holds to be the truth about how he feels regarding those he refers to as “the 47 percent of President Obama’s voters.” You can even watch the video here.

In the video he practically calls the 47 percent of the voters (or 150 million Americans, according to MSNBC ) who back President Obama freeloaders who want to live from government-funded programs, such as health care (the seniors?), food stamps (poor white families and minority groups?), housing, etc. This 47 percent Romney refers to as “victims,” he adds via Mother Jones, are people who will vote for the President “no matter what.” He goes on disparaging these percentage of Americans by further proclaiming that they “don’t pay income tax.” Lastly, he closes his door to the 47 percent of Americans with needs by saying that his “job is not to worry about” them, because he’ll never “convince them [that] they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.” Instead, he says he has to focus on the independent voters.

Perhaps the independent voters are part of the 47 percent in some manner. Some may have parents, friends, family or acquaintances who do need some sort of assistance, but do pay income taxes. To demean 47 percent of the American people equates to saying that he does not care for them. What message does that send to them? To us? Romney and his ticket is not about middle class America, as he claims to be in middle-class attended rallies. He is for the rich, as this video clearly depicts. How can a man who has never struggled financially and hides from releasing what he did in his income taxes be the right choice for America? How can a candidate that demeans 47 percent of the U.S. voting population through false claims be right for our country? Simply put, he cannot.

Shortly after realizing the footage had gone viral and that the American people knew about the secret video and damaging words, Romney decided to defend his stance via a press conference, not by acknowledging his insulting and demeaning words to 47 percent of middle class Americans he could have potentially been the president of, but by focusing on something totally irrelevant and making it about politics again. His response, as it seems to be his pattern, lacked honesty and conviction. After all, he made it very clear that he was not seeking the vote of that 47 percent of the freeloaders. The 47 percent of these Americans, many of us included in this speech of his, are people he cannot change, so he opted to erase them and us from the equation.

Immediately after the secret footage flooded the web, members of the Democratic Party issued statements denouncing and condemning the former Massachusetts’ governor “secret” remarks to financially stable donors he needed to convince at this fundraising event. Mr. Romney certainly seems to dance to a different tune — any convenient tune — based on his campaign’s financial needs and those he seeks votes and support from.

There is more to this story. The full footage of Romney’s video has been released and it is equally divisive. CNN reports that the video was leaked with former President Carter grandson’s help. In the complete video, Romney talks to his audience about how Pres. Obama divides America (the elderly, the poor, the unemployed, etc.), while he openly divides Americans in percentages applying value to humans based on finances — 47 percent to 53 percent. The 47 percent he does not want and the 53 percent he wishes to have to win the election, yet claims to have all of Americans’ interest at heart. But, the problem is that, as Think Progress reports, the 47 percent he referred to “are either too poor to qualify for even the lowest tax bracket (but still pay federal payroll tax, and state or local sales taxes, gas taxes, and excise taxes), or they benefit from tax credits for the working poor, the elderly, or students, as these charts from the Tax Policy Center show. Furthermore, only 7 percent of the country is non-elderly and has no federal tax liability, and most of them make less than $20,000.”

So, Romney selectively and consciously picked one half of the country and divided them as victims and parasites, all while reinforcing the segregation of his unwisely chosen words at the press conference and via other media outlets. Again, he did not apologize for the remarks. He stood by them and continued to run his campaign as if he had not insulted and separated human beings like cattle. And yet, according to AC 360, the people who do not pay taxes are largely from many states in the deep south and Midwest that have consistently voted Republican (Alabama, Iowa, etc.). In contrast, the states that support President Obama, mostly in the northeast, New England and West coast are, indeed, paying their income taxes. Therefore, Romney’s assessment is grossly inaccurate, which is not surprising at all.

In a CNN report after Romney’s press conference addressing his volatile remarks, “spokesman Rick Gorka said the campaign will allow pool reporters to film fund-raisers in private homes beginning Tuesday. Previously, reporters were allowed into some of the events but were not permitted to use cameras.” But, of course the Romney campaign will do that now. It is called saving face and Romney is a political opportunist without any remorse. Mr. Romney, this is the case of too little too late. If you were an honest candidate you would not have verbally attacked 47 percent of American citizens, whether they were going to vote for you or not.

Who is this man and what does he stand for? I know it’s not for the 150 million, working-class Americans, some of whom pay their income taxes and others who may need government assistance. Both groups are equally worthy and their vote will equally count come November. Those referred to as the 47 percent of Americans are not victims or casualties. But, you Mr. Romney can become one — a political casualty in the making.


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