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Romney stands over comments that Obama voters are 'dependants'

In a secretly-filmed video, Mitt Romney criticises an entitlement culture among those who did not pay federal income taxes.

Image: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

US PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE Mitt Romney has stood by comments made in a secretly-filmed video in which the Republican candidate writes off his hopes of winning the votes of 47 per cent of US voters – as his campaign does not cater to their sense of entitlement.

Speaking at a behind-closed-doors fundraising event – footage of which was provided to US website Mother Jones – Romney said his job was “not to worry about” those voters, as they did not pay federal income tax and could not be swayed by promises of tax cuts.

Attacking a culture of dependency among people who did not pay income tax, but who still expected to be provided with food, housing and healthcare, Romney said 47 per cent of voters were…

…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. And they will vote for this president no matter what.

I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

Instead, he said, his campaign would have to focus on the 10 per cent of voters who paid modest levels of federal income tax in addition to state taxes.

(YouTube: )

In a short-notice press conference in Los Angeles called after details of the video went public, Romney said his overall goal was to help “all Americans” – and said this had been the true message of his comments, though they had not been well articulated.

“It’s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I’m sure I could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that,” Romney said.

“Of course I want to help all Americans. All Americans have a bright and prosperous future.”

“The president has his group, I have my group. I want to keep my team strong and motivated and I want to get those people in the middle,” the Daily Telegraph quoted him as saying in his defence.

“That’s something which fundraising people who are parting with their monies are very interested in knowing – can you win or not? – and that’s what this was addressing.”

Barack Obama’s campaign described the video, released 50 days ahead of the election, as “shocking”.

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Gavan Reilly

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