Romney: '47 percent' remarks 'wrong'

Updated Oct. 5, 2012 at 9:11 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 5 (UPI) -- The Obama campaign said it's no surprise Mitt Romney backed off from a remark that 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax and believe "they are victims."

During an interview on the Fox News Channel Thursday, Romney said his comment to campaign donors Florida in May -- secretly taped and disclosed in mid-September -- was "completely wrong."

"All right, there are 47 percent who are with [President Barack 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 healthcare, to food, to housing, to you-name-it -- that that's an entitlement -- and the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what," Romney said in the video.

Soon after the remarks became public, Romney said his comments were "inelegantly" stated.

"Well, clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then, you are going to say something that doesn't come out right," the Republican presidential nominee said Thursday on Fox News.

"In this case, I said something that was just completely wrong."

Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki estimated "99 percent of people paying attention know that Mitt made the comment about the 47 percent."

"We also know last night [Thursday] that he tried to back away from it, again showing that he's playing fast and loose with the facts this week about his record," Psaki said during a news briefing Friday.

Following the first presidential debate Wednesday, many critics questioned why Obama didn't bring up Romney's "47 percent" comments.

White House adviser David Plouffe said Thursday the "47 percent" comments were "baked into the cake" of the American voter, The Hill reported. He said bringing up the comments hadn't been ruled out completely before the debate, which most observers say Romney won.

"Sure, there might have been an exchange where that came up," Plouffe said.

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