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Mitt Romney shrugged off the controversy over secretly-filmed videos as he visited Utah for fundraising events yesterday. Rick Bowmer/AP
US 2012

Redistribution of wealth 'a foreign concept', says Mitt Romney

The Republican candidate for US president says seeking the spread of wealth has made government become too big and too expensive.

REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL candidate Mitt Romney has said his Democratic opponent Barack Obama believes government should “take from some to give to the others”, in a defence of his remarks characterising welfare recipients as “victims” who believe in an automatic entitlement to government assistance.

In an interview with Fox News, Romney said he viewed the automatic redistribution of wealth as a “foreign concept” and that there is a “great divide” among Americans on the subject – adding that a growing federal government, driven in part by people who demand its support, had jeopardised the country.

“It’s a pathway that looks more European than American in my view. And it’s a pathway some Americans are drawn to,” Romney said. He said people who pay no income taxes would be unlikely to support his campaign because his plan to cut those taxes across the board wouldn’t help them.

The Republican presidential candidate was reinforcing remarks he made at a $50,000-a-plate fundraiser in May, which was secretly filmed with footage published by US news website Mother Jones this week.

Romney’s campaign spent part of Monday trying to mitigate fallout from the video, in which he tells donors that 47 per cent of Americans “believe they are victims” and that his job as president wouldn’t be to “worry about those people.”

‘Off the cuff’

The former Massachusetts governor offered no apologies for his remarks in a news conference on Monday night, merely saying his feelings were not “elegantly stated” and were spoken “off the cuff.”

He said the remarks showed a contrast between Obama’s “government-centered society” and his belief in a “free-market approach”. ”Of course, I want to help all Americans, all Americans, have a bright and prosperous future,” Romney told reporters.

The video’s emergence came as Romney advisers tried to reassure party leaders and donors about Romney’s strategy amid concerns that the race could be slipping away.

A second video, published yesterday, saw Romney argue that Palestinians “have no interest” in peace with Israel.

Responding with an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman, Obama said the one thing he had learned in office “is that you represent the entire country” – adding: “There are not a lot of people out there who think they are victims.”

At the same time, Obama’s campaign released a new ad saying that a prospective President Romney might seek the elimination of a series of tax breaks used by millions of middle-class Americans.

“Mitt Romney, he’s so focused on big business and tax cuts for the wealthy, it seems like his answers to middle class America are just tough luck,” says a woman in the commercial.

Read: Romney stands over comments that Obama voters are ‘dependants’

More: Romney caught on tape… who else has fallen foul of hidden recordings?

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