How Are Independent Voters Responding to Romney's '47 Percent' Remarks?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mitt Romney Mitt Romney (Getty)

Late Monday, Mother Jones released video surreptitiously shot during a fundraiser for Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney in May. Romney’s response was swift, but he stood by those remarks. "Look, the president's approach is attractive to people who are not paying taxes because frankly my discussion about lowering taxes is not as attractive to them," he said.

In the video, Romney wrote off 47 percent of voters as those who will "vote for the president no matter what." He said that his aim is to appeal to the "5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents." But how does the 5 to 10 percent feel about these remarks? 

AJ Dellinger is a 22-year-old freelance writer in Wisconsin. He voted for a libertarian candidate in 2008, and is so far undecided about this election, but it seems Romney has not impressed him with these comments about the 47 percent. "When you're president, you're governing over the entire United States, not just the 50.1 percent that put you in office. It's really dismissive to the rest of the electorate."

Larry Reinsch, a state organizer for Independent Voters of Iowa, has another take on the situation. "I think we're becoming a nation where the president is owned by the money that puts him in power. But regardless of the money that puts him in power, they still all have to come back to the independent vote to get elected, and the independent vote is growing because people see both these parties, and both these candidates, as unacceptable." 

While a number of political pundits have assumed that this video leak would push people towards Obama, Reinsch thinks it might create even more independents by making people more cynical about the political system, and more suspicious of the two major parties.

"People will say, well, if you vote for somebody other than one of these two parties, you're wasting your vote, and I'd personally reverse that and say that if you vote for either one of these two parties, you're wasting your vote, because you're just perpetuating a system that is taking power away from we the people."

AJ Dellinger summarizes the situation aptly. "I guess what Romney is saying behind closed doors pretty much just confirms any cynicism about the system."


AJ Dellinger and Larry Reinsch

Produced by:

Maggie Penman and Mythili Rao

Comments [8]

Jason from California

I think that Maggie Penman sure does write a good good news piece. This is just top notch, grade-A stuff—I really mean it. I sure hope she keeps it up. :-)

Sep. 20 2012 02:19 AM
DS from NJ

Charles wrote:
'I was wondering if The Takeaway could give us some advance notice on how the "Romney video" will be covered on Thursday, and on Friday, and then on Monday-through-Friday of next week?'

On Friday, in conjunction with NPR's "Science Friday," The Takeaway will feature Ira Flatow discussing how the Romney video is affecting solar flares and sunspot activity.

Sep. 19 2012 07:30 PM
Bloomie from NYC

@ Larry Reinsch: Aw, c'mon... Since a candidate of one of the two major parties is sure to win the election, it's a little fanciful to say that "if you vote for either one of these two parties, you're wasting your vote" and advise voting for a different candidate.

Sep. 19 2012 04:05 PM
Jay Cowit

"And at the endo of the hour, see how stand-up comedians are taking on the Romney video.) "

Great idea Charles! Tomorrow we're having Seth Meyers of SNL talk about it, and many other things. And...I know you'll be listening anyway!

Jay Cowit
Technical Director, The Takeaway

Sep. 19 2012 03:22 PM

I was wondering if The Takeaway could give us some advance notice on how the "Romney video" will be covered on Thursday, and on Friday, and then on Monday-through-Friday of next week?

If you could do that, I could schedule my listening day, and perhaps I could read up on the related topics. (How does the Romney video affect the stock market? How does the Romney video feature in outer space exploration? Are there any new independent films being released about the Romney video? Is the Romney video showing up in any new rap or popular music releases? How do the feminist, minority and LGBT communities relate to the Romney video? And at the endo of the hour, see how stand-up comedians are taking on the Romney video.)

Sep. 19 2012 10:50 AM
Angel from Miami, FL

Romney's honesty is refreshing. Since the 1980s I've been hearing the same thing from die-hard conservatives, both wealthy and hoping-to-become-wealthy. They would describe it to me using images of [poor] black people and [Spanish] immigrants sitting on Barcaloungers watching TV while they collect a welfare check and food stamps. That's the image replaying in the heads of Romney and friends.

Romney got lucky when the creators of that Welfare to Work TV ad fought their urges and hired white workers instead of going with their kneejerk choice. A fringe group with self-restraint, imagine that! Makes you want to vote for Mitt right now, huh?

Sep. 19 2012 09:35 AM

The "not the President of all Americans" narrative and Nixon comparisons that the partisan media is desperately trying to peddle is rather galling considering our current President is constantly and proudly disregarding the duly elected Republican House by violating the US Constitution. The tone of the Obama campaign has brought political cynicism, division, and manipulation to greater depths and they are not done.

It seems the tactic for Democrats is classic projection where their worst behavior is superimposed onto to their opponents. The media plays their part by dutifully jettisoning their role as professional journalists to play the grotesque character of a carnival barker promoting whatever the latest distraction and deception is spoon fed to them by the DNC.
Rinse, dry and repeat until Election Day.

Sep. 19 2012 09:29 AM
Larry Fisher from Brooklyn, N.Y.

Romney has become a victim to his own statistics.

Ironically, people who are always willing to complain about what others are not doing are putting themselves in the victim mode.

Their view: "Because these other people are not doing things, I am suffering and am the victim and that's why my life is not as good as it should be... I would be in the one percent if it wasn't for these lazy people riding on my coat tails. I am the victim here."

Sep. 19 2012 09:26 AM

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