By Sonya Magett, EnStarz | Sep 18, 2012 11:19 AM EDT
Mitt Romney held a press conference on Monday, Sept. 17 to clean up his image after Mother Jones magazine posted a video of the Presidential candidate making politically offensive remarks seven weeks before the Presidential election.
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In the 67-second clip that was recorded at a political fundraiser in May, Romney told millionaire donors that 47 percent of Americans do not pay taxes and feel entitled to receive aid from the government. He also states that if he were Mexican he'd feel more confident about winning the election.
Romney states "there are 47% who are with (Obama); who are dependent upon 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."
"My job is not to worry about those people," he said.
"The President starts off with 48, 49 (percent), he starts with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn't connect. . ..And so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. There are 47% of the people who will vote for the President no matter what,"
In a bid to further convince his potential millionaire donors why they should support his campaign, Romney adds that he will focus solely on "the 5 to 10% in the center that are independents."
Romney later offends Latino voters when he states if he were Mexican he would "have a better shot at winning this."
"And had (my father) been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this," the candidate states. "But (my father) was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. . . . I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino."
Romney also admits he is having a hard time winning the Latino vote.
"If the Hispanic voting bloc becomes as committed to the Democrats as the African American voting block has in the past, why, we're in trouble as a party and, I think, as a nation."
Ironically, the video was exposed on the day Romney was in Florida addressing the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Part of hiscampaign strategy focuses on courting Latino small-business owners in battleground states such as Florida.
The tape is considered damaging to Romney's campaign so he swiftly held a press conference the evening of Monday, Sept.17.
The candidate made no apologies for the offensive remarks. Instead he focused on his opponent and said the President favors "a government-centered society" with people dependent on public support.
"This is ultimately a question about direction for the country," said Romney according to Associated Press. "Do you believe in a government-centered society that provides more and more benefits, or do you believe instead in a free-enterprise society where people are able to pursue their dreams?"
Romney admits his comments were "not elegantly stated" but he stood by his remarks.
"It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question," he said. "Of course I want to help all Americans. All Americans have a bright and prosperous future."
According to the Associated Press, 46 percent of Americans did not owe federal income tax in 2011, but a large percent of that group paid in other ways. The report adds that the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center revealed over 16 million elderly people do not pay any federal income taxes due to tax breaks available to seniors.
The controversial video clip sat idle on YouTube for months. It was uncovered by former President Jimmy Carter's grandson, James Carter 4th. Carter was credited as a researcher for the article for finding the clip and reaching out to the person who posted it on YouTube. Carter then put Mother Jones magazine in contact with the unidentified poster.
"I've been searching for clips on Republicans for a long time, almost every day. I just do it for fun," Carter told New York magazine.
Romney's statements are also considered damaging because it contradicts comments he made in February. Romney reportedly told CNN his campaign will focus on "the 90, 95% of Americans who right now are struggling."
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