Elections 2012: Republicans Signal Concern On Mitt Romney Video Comments

Two Republican U.S. Senate candidates in close races disowned Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” comments on Tuesday, signaling concern about the impact of his words on Republican fortunes beyond the presidential race.

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney isn’t backing down from a hidden-camera video that shows him disparaging nearly half the nation’s voters. Photo: MittRomney.com

Linda McMahon, Republican Senate candidate in Connecticut, was worried enough to issue a statement criticizing Romney.

“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. I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be,” her statement said.

According to The Huff Post, Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, running a tight race against Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren to retain his seat in a traditionally Democratic state, sounded a similar theme.

In statement to The Hill he said of Romney’s views: “That’s not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, 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.”

In a video that was posted online this week, Romney dismissed supporters of President Barack Obama – almost half of U.S. voters – as people who live off government handouts and do not “care for their lives.”

“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,” Romney said in a hidden-cameravideo 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.

Meanwhile, points out Reuters, to win the November 6 election, Romney will need the backing of many of those “takers,” as his vice presidential running mate, Paul Ryan, has called them.

The “47 percent” consist not only of just low-income city dwellers who rely on food stamps, housing support and other programs that traditionally have been championed by Democrats.

Many of them are retirees and working-class white voters who are wary of government’s role in their lives and who have tended to vote for Republicans in recent years, even as they take advantage of tax credits and government assistance.

In addition, In the video, Romney accused supporters of Democratic President Barack Obama of paying no income tax. “These are people who pay no income tax,” he said. “Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.”

In fact, about 46 percent of U.S. households paid no federal income tax in 2011, according to the Tax Policy Center, a centrist think tank in Washington, D.C.

At the same time, almost two-thirds of those who paid no income tax did pay employment tax to support the Social Security pension program and the Medicare healthcare program, the center said.

“There’s a feeling of almost that this thing’s in free fall,” a Republican consultant with deep experience on Capitol Hill and extensive contacts in the Romney campaign told The Huff Post.

“When campaigns spend an enormous amount of time trying to figure out why they’re broken, I don’t know if they ever come back,” said this Republican, who like others who spoke about their frustration, did not want to be identified.

Meanwhile, in an interview with Fox News’s Neil Cavuto on Tuesday, Romney continued to stand by his statements in the secretly recorded donor video.

“We were of course talking about a campaign and about how he’s going to get half the vote,” Romney said. “And frankly we have two very different views of America. Those that are dependent on government and those that think government’s job is to redistribute — I’m not going to get them,” he said later.

“I do believe we should have enough jobs and enough take-home pay to allow people to pay taxes,” Romney said. “I think people would like to be paying taxes.”

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