In the secretly recorded comments, the Republican presidential nominee appeared to dismiss 47 percent of the country who do not pay taxes.
"That certainly was a political analysis at a fundraiser," Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said on NBC's "Meet the Press," "but it's not a governing philosophy. He absolutely has a vision for a 100 percent of America and that is very different from this president, really getting our economy moving. We have to look back at the policies of this president and where we are as an economy.
Ayotte said she sees what Romney sees. "I see 15 million more people on food stamps that don't want to be there. I see 47 million overall Americans on food stamps that want a good job. They ... don't want to be on unemployment," she said. "But where we are with the policies under this administration, the tax regulatory policies, the more government spending, we have (added) $5 trillion to the debt. Those opportunities aren't there for them and that's what this election is about."
But Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, said, "It's just shocking to me that a candidate could aspire to be president by turning his back on half the country. And ...that's what came through. ...I can tell you as someone who grew up on welfare, who spent some time on food stamps, my mother was just the kind of person that I think the senator is describing, who was aspiring to get to a better place ... And the notion that she or we or people like us would be belittled while we needed some help to be able to stand on our own two feet is exactly what I think Governor Romney is conveying and exactly what we should reject in this... election."