Chris Murphy, McMahon’s Democratic opponent, said her comments were the “latest desperate attempt to distance herself from the right-wing agenda and Republican party she strongly supports.”
Joe Scarborough, a former Republican congressman from Florida, whose MSNBC program “Morning Joe” is a favorite of Beltway insiders, spent most of his program Tuesday pillorying Romney’s misstep.
“Those words would never cross the lips of Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Paul Ryan,” Scarborough told his co-hosts. “They would never say that in a million years. This guy is seeming — he just seems too insulated by wealth and by life experience.”
Later, on NBC’s “Today,” Scarborough said Romney was reeling from “one of the worst weeks for any presidential candidate in a general election that any of us can remember.”
“This is dangerous – not because he’s going to lose that 47 percent of the vote – but because you’re going to start seeing suburban voters, swing voters, storm away from the campaign as quickly as possible unless he fixes it,” Scarborough added.
Appearing on the same NBC program, businessman and Romney supporter Donald Trump said Romney shouldn’t apologize for his comment.
“We’ve seen enough apologizing already,” Trump said. “He cannot apologize. What he said is probably what he means, and he did say [it was] inartfully stated. The fact is he cannot apologize, he is going for those independents, but he won’t get the votes of a lot of people he’s discussing, and if you’re not going to get their votes, let’s go on with it, but do not apologize.”
Trump also lamented that Republicans generally “are not being tough enough. They’re not – I can’t say down and dirty – but that’s exactly what President Obama is doing with them. They have to fight fire with fire, the Republicans have to get tougher or they’re going to lose this campaign.”
But Rick Davis, who advised Sen. John McCain’s failed 2008 presidential bid, attempted to put the Romney comments in context and urged the GOP candidate to use the moment to recast his campaign.
Noting that “everybody has their YouTube moment in American politics,” Davis told “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday that Romney’s response to the videos in the coming days is “critical.”
“This is a character-building moment,” Davis said. “The American public looks in at various times during a campaign and I promise you they’ll be looking in this week. And it may be a fresh candidate for Mitt Romney the candidate to try to connect with voters.”
But conservative radio talk show host and commentator Laura Ingraham said Romney was merely expressing a viewpoint shared by many political pundits – that the nation is closely divided and that Romney and Obama are fighting to convince just a small slice of the electorate.
“The percentage might be off by 1 or 2 percentage points depending on how you formulate it,” Ingraham told Fox News. “The bottom line is Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser about the challenges a Republican faces in this presidential race – not all that unlike what political pundits, many of them hyperventilating today, have said. That there is a small slice of the electorate that is undecided. That’s basically what he said there.”
“The idea that you’re declaring, ‘Well, the race is over. Mitt Romney doesn’t care about people.’ Meanwhile, you have a president whose policies have undermined the 47 percent.”
Ingraham added that the political press should focus more on Obama’s plans to spend most of Tuesday raising money from celebrities — including musicians Jay-Z and Beyonce – after appearing tonight on CBS’s “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
She did not mention that a taped interview with Romney is slated to air on the popular daytime television program “Live with Kelly and Michael.”