NEW YORK TIMES, WASHINGTON POST, MOTHER JONES (US), FINANCIAL TIMES (UK)
Mitt Romney's campaign team hastily scrambled together a press conference late Monday night to respond to a leaked video, in which the Republican candidate labels 47% of Americans as "people who pay no income tax" and are "dependent upon government."
Romney said he stands by the comments made in the video, verifying the authenticity, although he admits they "were not elegantly stated" and that he was "speaking off the cuff."
The secretly filmed footage of Romney, speaking at a closed-door fundraising dinner earlier this year, was first released on Monday by liberal magazine Mother Jones.
In the video, Romney speaks of the 47% of Americans who he believes will vote for Obama in November "no matter what." Answering a question on taxes, he remarked that Republican policies do not connect with this section of the electorate: “My job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
The video's release was yet another blow for Romney's presidential campaign, after a summer marked by political blunders, prompting the Washington Post to label the affair "Mitt Romney's darkest hour."
Mitt Romney, the guy who pays no taxes on millions of dollars thinks you're a welfare freeloader. God Bless 47% of America! #RomneyEncore— Chris Rock (@chrisrockoz) September 18, 2012
Of course, Romney insulting half the electorate might not do any damage - everybody will think he's a talking about somebody else.— Tom Phillips (@flashboy) September 18, 2012
If Romney is such a business genius, why is it every time he says a number, he gets it wrong?— GailSimone (@GailSimone) September 18, 2012
Edward Luce, writing in the Financial Times, similarly observed that there might have been one too many gaffes for Romney to appeal to voters: "If the 2012 election were an Aaron Sorkin drama, the producer would be accused of caricaturing the plutocrat in the race...There are now fewer than fifty old-fashioned 24-hour news cycles before polling day, which is vanishingly few for Mr. Romney to retrieve his fraying public persona."