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Mitt Romney’s fundraising comments: Would mom approve?

Comments in a decades-old interview with Mitt Romney's mother appear particularly relevant in the present, given widely-publicized remarks the Republican presidential nominee offered to donors in private about roughly one-half of the country feeling entitled to government support for basic needs. That's because she notes that Romney's father once relied on government assistance. 

In a video posted to YouTube on Sept. 7, Romney’s late mother Lenore Romney participates in an interview that appeared to take place in the lead up to Romney’s father’s run for governor of Michigan in 1962. She was asked to respond to people who said that since George Romney is a man of considerable means, he does not care about people.

“He was on welfare relief for the first years of his life. But this great country gave him opportunities,” Lenore Romney says in the video, upon which the logo of the Web site Buzzfeed is superimposed.

George Romney was born to American parents in living in Mexico. His family fled to the United States from their Mormon colony when he was a child during the Mexican revolution. His family benefited from a refugee fund established by Congress. (Lenore Romney calls him “a refugee from Mexico” in the interview.)

In his now widely-covered remarks at a private fundraiser in May, Mitt Romney said: “There are 47 percent of people. ... who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it. That it's an entitlement, and government should give it to them."

Based on what he has said in the campaign, it's pretty clear that Romney champions the kind of rise his father made, from being on welfare relief to becoming a successful businessman. Still, viewing Romney's fundraising remarks alongside his mother's interview makes for an interesting juxtaposition. Based on what Romney's mother says in the interview, hie father would have technically been among the 47 percent who Romney complained were "dependent upon government."

The Romney campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the interview. 

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.



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Sean Sullivan · September 18, 2012

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