“I was behind this whole thing,” Prouty, who now lives in Florida, said as he revealed on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” on Wednesday night that he had secretly filmed Romney’s comments while tending bar at the $50,000-per-plate event.
Prouty’s unveiling, if nothing else, exposed him to the scrutiny that comes with being one of the most influential, if unknown, figures in the presidential campaign that gave Obama a second term. Speaking in firm, declarative tones with a slight Boston accent, Prouty presented himself as someone not motivated by politics, saying he is a “registered independent” who tends to vote Democratic but “didn’t go there with a grudge against Romney.”
Yet voter-registration records show that Prouty registered as a Democrat in 2002, and election officials said he has maintained that party affiliation. His former Twitter account is full of populist and political messages, including several criticizing Romney or former GOP vice-presidential candidate Paul Ryan and another blasting National Rifle Association chief executive Wayne LaPierre as “an evil man.” Prouty attended Obama’s second inauguration and also told MSNBC’s Ed Schultz he was “proud to call him my president.”
In Prouty’s native Massachusetts, where he grew up in the working-class community of Braintree and attended Northeastern University, his father, Kenneth Prouty, declared he was “very proud of my son.’’
“Everything he said pretty much rings true,’’ the senior Prouty said in a brief telephone interview. “Mitt Romney made his bed. It wasn’t really Scott doing it; it was Mitt Romney doing it. It kind of showed his true colors.’’
He said his son “was kind of sticking up for the American public as far as I’m concerned. The average person who couldn’t be there to hear what was going on.’’
At the time, Romney’s remarks — made at a May 17 fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla., at the home of private-equity manager Marc Leder — riveted the political world. Obama backers will vote for the president “no matter what,’’ the Republican candidate said in a video that Prouty leaked to Mother Jones magazine’s Washington bureau chief David Corn, adding that he does not “worry about those people.”
In a recent interview with “Fox News Sunday’s” Chris Wallace, the former Massachusetts governor admitted that the comments’ damage was severe. “That hurt. There’s no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign,” Romney said.