The Washington Post

Romney stands by his remarks in leaked video

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney did not back down from comments published Monday in Mother Jones magazine, in which he dismissed supporters of President Obama as a “victims” who take no responsibility for their livelihoods and who think they are entitled to government handouts.

"It's not elegantly stated...I'm speaking off the cuff in response to a question," Romney told reporters Monday night in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Asked what assurances he could give to voters that he doesn't say different things behind closed doors to his donors than he does at his public rallies, Romney said he gives "the same message" to all audiences.

"We have a very different approach, the president and I, between a government dominated society and a society driven by free people pursuing their dreams," Romney said.

In the video, he said, he was "talking about the process of campaigns."

"Typically I don't talk about process in speeches because I think candidates are wiser to talk about policy and their vision than to talk about how they're going to win a election," Romney said. "At a fundraiser you have people say. 'Governor how are you going to win this?' And so I respond, 'Well, the president has his group I have my group. I want to keep my team strong and motivated and I want to get those people in the middle.' That’s something which fundraising people who are parting with their monies are very interested in knowing can you win or not and that’s what this was addressing."

When a reporter asked what Romney meant by the words "victims" and "personal responsibility," Romney said that he was "talking about the political process of drawing people into my own campaign."

"Of course individuals are going to take responsibility for their lives," Romney said. "My campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again, particularly those who don't have work. This whole campaign is based on getting people jobs again, putting people back to work," he said. "This is ultimately a question about direction for the country. Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits or do you believe instead in a free enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams?"

Watch the video:

 

Read more from PostPolitics

Read excerpts from the leaked Romney fundraiser videos

Romney talks bluntly about Obama supporters in leaked videos

Wonkblog: Romney's '47 percent' doesn't add up

The Fix: Romney's rock and a hard place moment

The Take: How Mitt Romney can bounce back

 

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debate tonight. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
He says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything in the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.