Update (September 18, 3:00 p.m.)
Mother Jones has now released the entire tape of Mitt Romney speaking at the fundraiser at the home of Marc Leder--all 68 minutes of it.
Update (September 18, 8:15 a.m.)
Mother Jones has released more footage on Tuesday of Mitt Romney speaking at a May fundraiser in Boca Raton, potentially putting the Republican candidate in a tricky position regarding his foreign policy strategy.
In the clips released Monday, Romney took heat for a comment that nearly half of Americans--47 percent--are freeloaders that view themselves as victims.
"[M]y job is is not to worry about those people," Romney is heard saying on the video. "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
The clips released Tuesday morning are part of the same hour-long video, the authenticity of which the Romney campaign does not deny.
In the longest clip, Romney disparages attempts to establish peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
"I'm torn by two perspectives in this regard," he says. "One is the one which I've had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish."
He cites Israel's tough geography as the primary reason that it can't ever let down its guard with respect to its neighbors--a point on which Israel would likely agree with him.
Iran's determination to arm the West Bank with missiles and other weaponry, he says, would require Israel to take on the burden of patrolling of an additional border, and controlling who can land in a Palestinian airport.
And even if these additional pressures weren't too heavy, Romney dismisses the Palestinians as a real partner in the peace process.
"And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, "There's just no way," Romney says.
(Full quote below the videos)
For Conservatives, Romney's unequivocal support of Israel will be proof of his unshakeable resolve to be an ally to Israel, compared to President Obama, whom they see as weaker.
But there is concern that the U.S. is allowing Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to drive American foreign policy to Israel's benefit over that of the U.S., and that the hawkish Bibi is inserting himself into the presidential race for Israel's perceived benefits.
In separate clips, Romney can also be heard discussing a potential threat by an Iranian "crazed fanatic" threatening to let loose a dirty bomb in Chicago, and dismisses President Obama's foreign policy as naiveté driven by the belief that charisma alone will talk down dictators.
I'm torn by two perspectives in this regard. One is the one which I've had for some time, which is that the Palestinians have no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish. Now why do I say that? Some might say, well, let's let the Palestinians have the West Bank, and have security, and set up a separate nation for the Palestinians.
And then come a couple of thorny questions. And I don't have a map here to look at the geography, but the border between Israel and the West Bank is obviously right there, right next to Tel Aviv, which is the financial capital, the industrial capital of Israel, the center of Israel. It's—what the border would be? Maybe seven miles from Tel Aviv to what would be the West Bank…The other side of the West Bank, the other side of what would be this new Palestinian state would either be Syria at one point, or Jordan.
And of course the Iranians would want to do through the West Bank exactly what they did through Lebanon, what they did near Gaza. Which is that the Iranians would want to bring missiles and armament into the West Bank and potentially threaten Israel. So Israel of course would have to say, "That can't happen. We've got to keep the Iranians from bringing weaponry into the West Bank." Well, that means that—who? The Israelis are going to patrol the border between Jordan, Syria, and this new Palestinian nation? Well, the Palestinians would say, "Uh, no way! We're an independent country. You can't, you know, guard our border with other Arab nations."
And now how about the airport? How about flying into this Palestinian nation? Are we gonna allow military aircraft to come in and weaponry to come in? And if not, who's going to keep it from coming in? Well, the Israelis. Well, the Palestinians are gonna say, "We're not an independent nation if Israel is able to come in and tell us what can land in our airport." These are problems—these are very hard to solve, all right? And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say, "There's just no way."
And so what you do is you say, "You move things along the best way you can." You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem. We live with that in China and Taiwan. All right, we have a potentially volatile situation but we sort of live with it, and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it. We don't go to war to try and resolve it imminently.
On the other hand, I got a call from a former secretary of state. I won't mention which one it was, but this individual said to me, you know, I think there's a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis after the Palestinian elections. I said, "Really?" And, you know, his answer was, "Yes, I think there's some prospect." And I didn't delve into it.
Update: (10:50 p.m.)
Mitt Romney, at a last-minute news conference in Costa Mesa, Calif., spoke to reporters to respond to the firestorm caused by the leaked video.
"It was not elegantly stated, let me put it that way," Romney said, defending his remarks if not his wording. "This is a campaign, fundamentally, about how to help the middle class in America, and how to help people in poverty get into the middle class."
Romney also suggested that fuller context would shed a more positive light on his comments.
"I hope the person who has the video will put out the full material," Romney said.
David Corn said on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show that further clips will be published Tuesday.
He also reveals that the video was taken at a fundraiser at the home of Marc Leder, CEO of Sun Capital Fund, in Boca Raton, Fla., on May 17, 2012.
Original post follows video
A video that stormed onto the political punditsphere Monday afternoon is being treated as a revelatory moment in Mitt Romney's campaign for president.
Uncovered by Mother Jones, the video shows Romney at an intimate fundraiser (with his surroundings completely blurred), lamenting what he considers a disadvantaged starting point in the campaign:
There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, 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. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.
The video, which was released in full to David Corn by a source wishing to remain anonymous to protect against a lawsuit, includes clips not yet made public.
This makes twice in the past few days that Conservatives have given up large swaths of the population as lost to their cause. In his remarks to the Values Voter Summit on Saturday, Rick Santorum laid blame at the feet of a familiar target--the elite. But he took it a step further:
We will never have the media on our side, ever, in this country. We will never have the elite, smart people on our side, because they believe they should have the power to tell you what to do.
What, exactly, these candid moments reveal about the campaign is debatable, but it generally looks bad for the Republican candidate.
By some interpretations, they offer a blunt glimpse into a heretofore closely guarded element of Romney's political psychology. David Corn, who broke the story of the videos for Mother Jones, wrote that the videos show Romney telling "a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama." Michael D. Shear, writing for the New York Times Caucus blog, agrees, saying that the video "offers a rare glimpse into Mr. Romney’s personal views as the campaign enters its final 50 days," even as "the comments by Mr. Romney were more stark than usual."
Others are interpreting the videos as simply problematic for a coreless candidate trying to win over the undecided five to 10 percent of voters any way he can. At Bloomberg, Josh Barro predicts that this video marks the beginning of the end for a Romney campaign marred by trip ups and questionable moves.
"This is an utter disaster for Romney," Barro writes. "Romney already has trouble relating to the public and convincing people he cares about them."
"Romney is the most opaque presidential nominee since Nixon, and people have been reduced to guessing what his true feelings are. This video provides an answer: He feels that you're a loser. It's not an answer that wins elections."
President Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, released a statement calling the content "shocking."
"It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation," Messina said.
The Romney camp released a statement that defends the sentiments found in the videos, suggesting that, despite the uniquely harsh way he said it, Romney stands by his statements. "Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy. As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work," wrote Gail Gitcho, communications director for Romney.
The 47 percent figure cited by Romney is most likely a reference to the Tax Policy Center study showing 47 percent of Americans pay no income tax, although for most, only after deductions, because of an income below $20,000 or because they are elderly and dependent on social security. Most of these households still paid payroll taxes.
The TPC study sparked right-wing blogger Erick Erickson to launch a "We are the 53 Percent" Tumblr--for "those of us who pay for those of you who whine about all of that..."--in response to the "We are the 99 Percent" theme born of the Occupy movement (which, fittingly, celebrated its first anniversary Monday). Erickson's tumblr has 58 pages of contributed posts, while the 99 percenters' gathered 230.