President Obama’s closing remarks at the debate last night were pitch perfect. He made the case for another four years after a debate full of specific policies versus Romney’s anecdotal avoidance tactics. The President also got in a poignant and not cheap shot at Romney’s 47% comments. Obama said, “But I also believe that when he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims, who refused personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about… I want to fight for them.”
The President’s closing: “I believe Governor Romney is a good man. Loves his family, cares about his faith. But I also believe that when he said behind closed doors that 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims, who refused personal responsibility, think about who he was talking about. Folks on Social Security who have worked all their lives, veterans who have sacrificed for this country, students who are out there trying to hopefully advance their own dreams but also this country’s dreams, soldiers who are overseas fighting for us right now. People who are working hard every day, paying payroll tax, gas taxes, but don’t make enough income, and I want to fight for them. That’s what I’ve been doing for the last four years because if they succeed, I believe the country succeeds. And when my grandfather fought in World War II and he came back and he got a GI bill and that allowed him to go to college, that wasn’t a handout. That was something that advanced the entire country. And I want to make sure that the next generation has those same opportunities. That’s why I’m asking for your vote and that’s why I’m asking for another four years.”
Romney’s 47% comment were taped without his knowledge at a $50,000 a plate fundraiser. The exchange:
MALE VOICE: For the past three years, all everybody’s been told is, ‘Don’t worry. We’ll take care of it.’ How are we gonna do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you’ve gotta take care of yourself?
ROMNEY: Well, there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right? There are 47% who are with him. Who are dependent upon government, who believe that– that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they’re entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it. But that’s– it’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. And– and– I mean the president starts off with 48%, 49%, 40– or he– he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. 47% of Americans pay no income taxes. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every– every four years. And– and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for for their lives. [Romney Fundraiser, Boca Raton, FL, 5/17/12]
Before he took it back later, Romney doubled down on his disdain for half of the country, saying his comments were a message he was carrying:
Mitt Romney said in an interview Tuesday that remarks he made at a fund-raiser in May casting supporters of President Barack Obama as dependent on government were an honest reflection of his campaign’s message.
“This is a message I’m carrying day and day out and will carry over the coming months,” Romney said on Fox News. “This is a decision about the course of America, where we’re going to head. We’ve seen the president’s policies play out over the last four years.”
It’s high time Romney was called to task for his outrageous remarks about half the country. Even Bill Kristol noted that his comments indicated that he had contempt for his own supporters, “It’s worth recalling that a good chunk of the 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes are Romney supporters—especially of course seniors (who might well ‘believe they are entitled to heath care,’ a position Romney agrees with), as well as many lower-income Americans (including men and women serving in the military) who think conservative policies are better for the country even if they’re not getting a tax cut under the Romney plan. So Romney seems to have contempt not just for the Democrats who oppose him, but for tens of millions who intend to vote for him.”
“I want to fight for them” was Obama’s Commander in Chief closing, after Romney already got skewered on Libya and gave bad answers on George W Bush, equal pay for women, taxes and guns. Using the 47% on top of Romney’s total foreign policy and fact fail on Libya when there was no chance for a rebuttal was brutal but necessary. They were Romney’s words, after all.