President Barack Obama slammed Mitt Romney on Tuesday for “writing off a big chunk of the country” after a secretly made video showed the Republican presidential nominee dismissing Obama supporters as victims who are dependent on the government.
“One of the things I’ve learned as president is you represent the entire country,” Obama said on CBS’s “Late Show with David Letterman.”
The president’s remarks came after a secretly taped and newly released video showed the Republican presidential nominee describing “47 percent of the people” as Obama supporters who depend on government and believe they are victims.
“There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the governmenthas a responsibility to care for them,” Romney said in a hidden-camera video of his remarks at a private fundraiser earlier this year.
“My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents,” Romney said in remarks convincing donors to write checks for his campaign.
“My expectation is that if you want to be president, you have to work for everyone, not just for some,” Obama said in a taping of the “Late Show” with David Letterman.
According to The Huff Post, it was Obama’s first response to the Romney video, which roiled Romney’s campaign and put him on the defensive about his views about nearly half the nation. The president appeared on the TV show before a night of fundraising in New York City.
Obama, who as a candidate in 2008 made a damaging gaffe of his own that white rural voters clung to guns or religion, indicated he thought Romney should admit his remarks were a mistake, writes Reuters.
“When you run for president, you are under a microscope all the time. All of us make mistakes. That incident in 2008, I immediately said, ‘I regret this,'” Obama said. “What I think people want to make sure of is you’re not writing off a big chunk of the country.”
However, despite the focus on the video that was shaking up the presidential campaign, the president’s appearance was not wholly serious in tone.
Obama and Letterman also bantered over lighter subjects, with Obama joking about the Florida pizza restaurant owner who lifted him off the ground in a bear hug last week. `’I think he fixed something in my back,” Obama said.
The two men also exchanged compliments on their appearances.
“You look good,” Obama said.
“You haven’t seen me naked,” Letterman said.
Obama replied: “We’re going to keep it that way.”
Letterman opened his show, which airs later on Tuesday, by poking fun at an incident at the Republican National Convention in which film star Clint Eastwood delivered a diatribe addressed to an imaginary Obama in an empty chair.
“I want to know before we get started if you want to say something to the empty chair,” Letterman said. Obama smiled.
Barack Obama ended the night at a fundraiser hosted by pop star Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z at the rap mogul’s 40/40 Club.
He praised “Jay” and “B” and said first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia were upset with him because they were unable to go on the trip. Normally they are just as happy to skip campaign events, he said.
The president noted that he and Jay-Z share a special bond, beyond interest in basketball: “We both have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are.”