Romney said 47 percent of the public “are 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 if that weren’t bad enough, he said: “These are people who pay no income tax…. My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Exclusive clips of the video were published online by Mother Jones magazine. Here’s the full clip. You should watch it.
And for the folks who say Romney was quoted out of context, Mother Jones has the entire 49-minute video. “The complete video demonstrates that Romney was not snippetized and that he was captured raw and uncut,” wrote David Corn, who broke the story with the video and is Mother Jones’ Washington bureau chief.
There was so much that was disturbing about what Romney said. But let’s start with the facts. The Washington Post created a reality check graphic that highlights the candidate’s misconceptions.
Glenn Kessler, who writes the Fact Checker column for The Post, said it’s true that last year about 46 percent of American households paid no income taxes. “But this is one of these ‘facts’ that is not very informative,” he wrote recently. “ ‘Income taxes’ are just one type of tax that people pay, and for most working Americans — about three-quarters — payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare far exceed what they pay in income taxes.”
More specifically, noted by Ezra Klein in The Post’s Wonk Blog, the majority of Americans who paid no federal income taxes “have jobs, and, when you account for both sides of the payroll tax, they paid 15.3 percent of their income in taxes, which is higher than the 13.9 percent that Romney paid. Another 22 percent were elderly.”
As often happens with these issues, the opinion writers are taking sides. Here’s a roundup of what the pundits have said about Romney’s candid camera moment:
-- From The Washington Post’s editorial board: “Mr. Romney’s condescension toward half the country oddly mirrors the liberal disparagement of working-class Republicans that conservatives have long (and rightly) found offensive. The liberal misconception has been that anyone in the 47 percent who votes Republican is acting against economic self-interest and therefore must be stupid or duped by political ads — as if such voters cannot have principles on abortion, say, or economics that trump self-interest, even if you accept the Democratic definition of the latter.”