Romney: fundraiser comments were 'off the cuff' - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Magazine releases entire video of Romney's comments

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a press conference Monday evening, defending his candid remarks made during a private fundraising event. (Source: CNN) Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney held a press conference Monday evening, defending his candid remarks made during a private fundraising event. (Source: CNN)

(RNN) - The left-leaning magazine Mother Jones has released the full video of Mitt Romney's remarks at a private fundraiser where he claimed 47 percent of President Barack Obama's supporters are dependent on government and that peace in the Middle East is not possible.

With fewer than 50 days before Election day, both campaigns took the opportunity to fire barbs at each other over in an attempt to control the spin of the story.

Many Romney campaign advisers appeared on Monday morning news shows to say that although the Republican presidential nominee's comments were inelegant, the campaign stands behind the meaning of the speech.

During a news conference, Romney asked the magazine to release the video in its entirety, which Mother Jones did Tuesday afternoon.

In another campaign twist, the Associated Press is reporting James Carter IV, the grandson of the former president, is the one who persuaded the person who took the video to release it to Mother Jones.

The video shows Romney answering a donor question about how he could beat Obama in November, and he disclosing his views on the Obama voter base.

"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on upon the government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it," said Romney at the event. "That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. These are people who pay no income tax.

"And so my job is not to worry about these people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives," added Romney.

Romney wrapped up his response by explaining how he needs to convince independent voters in order to win the election, who he believes account for 5 to 10 percent of registered voters.

Also in the video, Romney says that Palestinians have "no interest" in negotiating peace with Israel.

The video release came amidst claims that Obama is leading Romney in some crucial swing states, including Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire and Florida.

The Romney campaign promptly called a press conference during a campaign swing in California late Monday in response to the Mother Jones story.

While addressing the press corps, Romney defended the message behind his comments without denying the authenticity of the tape, but conceded that his rhetoric was "off the cuff" and "not elegantly stated."

"This is really a discussion about the political process of winning the election. And of course I want to help all Americans have a bright and prosperous future," Romney said. "And I'm convinced that the President's approach has not done that and will not do that."

However, Romney stood by his sentiment that he will not be as successful with the 47 percent of Americans that "pay no tax" since his plan involves lowering current taxes.

"That's not as attractive to those who don't play income taxes as it is to those who do," added Romney. "And likewise, those who are reliant on government are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of government."

President Obama experienced similar criticism when campaigning in 2008. While addressing the crowd at a fundraising event, Obama was caught on tape saying people in rural America cling to their guns and religion.

Republican vice presidential running mate Paul Ryan reminded voters about Obama's comment during a Romney campaign event in Des Moines, IA on Monday, saying he pridefully holds the views Obama criticized.   

"I remember that one time he was talking to a bunch of donors in San Francisco and he said people like us, people from the Midwest, like to cling to their guns and religion," Ryan said. "I've got to tell you, this Catholic deer hunter is guilty as charged and proud to say so."

The Romney videos released by Mother Jones also appeared on the Huffington Post website Monday evening. Both are left-leaning news organizations.

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