At an open-press fundraiser in Atlanta on Wednesday, Mitt Romney defended himself against Democratic attacks by saying that both he and President Obama care about poor and middle-class Americans. What matters, he argued, is how each of them plans to help those people.
"The question of this campaign is not who cares about the poor and the middle class. I do. He does," the Republican presidential candidate said, according to a pool report. Democrats have pointed to a leaked video of a May fundraiser, at which Romney said 47 percent of voters are "dependent on government" and will vote for Obama, as evidence that the Republican nominee doesn't empathize with struggling Americans. "The question is, Who can help the poor and the middle class? I can! He can’t!"
Obama's policies, Romney said, were hurting those people already: "The people who get crushed by bad economic policies like the ones we’re seeing unfolded before us in Washington, the people who get crushed are the middle class. Under this president, a record number of people have fallen into poverty.”
An NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll released Wednesday found that 53 percent of voters think Obama is looking out for the middle class, compared with 34 percent for Romney.
Romney also continued to highlight a 1998 audio clip in which Obama said government systems should become more efficient so that they can "facilitate some redistribution," arguing that the quote illustrated their different economic philosophies.
"There’s a tape that came out just a couple of days ago where the president said, yes, he believes in redistribution," Romney said. "I don’t. I believe the way to lift people and help people have higher incomes is not to take from some and give to others but to create wealth for all."