Harrisonburg (Virginia), Oct. 5 (Reuters): Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said today his comment on a secretly-taped video in which he disparaged 47 per cent of voters as dependent on government “was just completely wrong”, as he attempted to repair the damage from the controversy.
Romney’s interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity was the first time he completely disavowed remarks he made at a private fundraiser in May and which have emerged as a major stumbling block in his campaign against Democratic President Barack Obama.
The “47 per cent” videotape did not come up in his Wednesday night debate with Obama, although the Obama campaign has used his remarks in a television ad.
Asked what he would have said if the issue had come up in the Denver debate, Romney said he would have said that after thousands of speeches as a presidential candidate, “now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right”.
“In this case, I said something that was just completely wrong,” he said.
“I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 per cent. And that’s been demonstrated throughout my life. This whole campaign is about the 100 per cent. When I become President, it will be about helping the 100 per cent,” he added.
Romney said at the Florida fundraiser that 47 per cent of voters were dependent on government and unlikely to support him in the November 6 election. When the video was disclosed on September 17 by liberal magazine Mother Jones, Romney said his comments had been “not elegantly stated” but that he stood by them.
Obama has been second-guessed by some of his supporters for not bringing up the 47 per cent video at the Denver debate. The President has been widely declared as the loser in that encounter, with two more presidential debates to come this month.
A day after the debate, a feisty Obama told a rally of some 12,000 people that the former Massachusetts governor was untruthful during the debate. “When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney,” Obama said.
“But it couldn’t have been Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favour the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.”
Romney’s wife Ann will co-host top US breakfast TV show Good Morning America for one day next week, ABC News said yesterday.
Ann Romney, who will be guest co-host for an hour on October 10, is one of a number of celebrities to join George Stephanopoulos at the anchor desk while Robin Roberts is on medical leave. GMA producers said they were also in talks with First Lady Michelle Obama.