How can we miss you if you won't go away?
In an interview with the Dan Balz of the Washington Post, former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was actually still trying to figure out a way to rewrite what he said about 47% of Americans, apparently in an effort to pick up votes from late returns and turn the election around to him.
He explains that what he was merely talking about was swing voters. "[I]t was saying, 'Look, the Democrats have 47 percent, we've got 45 percent, my job is to get the people in the middle, and I've got to get the people in the middle,'" he said. "They’ve got a bloc of voters, we've got a bloc of voters, I've got to get the ones in the middle. And I thought that that would be how it would be perceived -- as a candidate talking about the process of focusing on the people in the middle who can either vote Republican or Democrat."
To a certain degree, Mr. Romney is semi-partially-correct. He wasn't precisely saying that he doesn't care about 47% of Americans, which was the perception, he was talking about voters who simply won't be voting for him. (Mind you, just because he didn't say that doesn't mean he wasn't thinking it. But who can know what's in a man's heart?)
The thing is, what the former GOP standard bearer seems to ignore is that he was actually caught on tape saying what what he said, and Americans watched it over and over and over and over. And also over and over. And -- and this is the remarkable part -- the tape actually still exists!
This is what Mitt Romney actually said, word-for-word. Fred, go to the tape --
"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 their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what it looks like."
You see, that was the real problem. Not solely "who" he was talking about. But that in ignoring them he was saying that all these people -- 47% of the country -- don't "take personal responsibility and care for their lives." That the other people, the good folks, they are "thoughtful."
That was the huge problem. That he was saying that solid Obama supporters, 47% of the country -- and wink, wink, y'know it's probably those black people, y'know on welfare and unemployment and stuff -- they just don't have any personal responsibility. They're just freeloading on all you good, rich white folks.
Mitt Romney can keep trying to twist this every possible way to make it seem like he wasn't arrogant and self-righteous and holier-than-thou, and keep hoping that people will have short memories. But there are two basic realities he's up against -- 1) we have the tape, and 2) he lost.
In the meanwhile, we're still waiting to see his tax returns...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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