Mitt Romney admits 47% remark was 'completely wrong'

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reacts to his supporters cheering during campaign rally on October 4, 2012 in Fishersville, Virginia. Mr Romney had not retracted the remarks until now

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said his remark that 47% of Americans are government-dependent victims was "completely wrong".

He told Fox News he was committed to "helping the 100%".

His comments, secretly filmed at a fundraiser in May, were possibly his most damaging campaign moment.

Polls suggest he is back on track after a debate with President Barack Obama this week. Mr Obama has urged him to reveal the true cost of his policies.

Observers say the president is seeking to portray his rival as dishonest about how middle-class families will be taxed, while Mr Romney wants to distance himself from his earlier gaffe.

After the video emerged from the private donors dinner in May, Mr Romney said his remarks were "inelegantly stated" but did not retract them.

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There was a rare agreement over the debate - Mitt was a hit”

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However, he went further in his interview with Fox on Thursday.

"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," Mr Romney said.

"In this case I said something that's just completely wrong. I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100%... When I become president, it will be about helping the 100%."

Most observers agree that Mr Romney won the televised debate on Wednesday. A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Thursday suggested Mr Romney had a net positive rating for the first time in the presidential campaign.

Gaffes and blunders

  • Former British PM Gordon Brown was caught on microphone describing a voter as "that bigoted woman" before elections in 2010
  • India's Foreign Minister SM Krishna prompted calls for his resignation when he read.... Portugal's speech at the UN in 2011
  • In 2006, Hillary Clinton's staff admitted the then US senator may have "misspoke" when she said she dodged sniper fire on a 1996 visit to Bosnia as first lady
  • While French president in 2008, Nicolas Sarkozy was caught on camera rudely telling a farmer where to go
  • George W Bush's unguarded "Yo Blair!" chat, caught on tape, gave a revealing 2006 insight into relations between the US and British leaders
  • Avigdor Lieberman's critics were aghast when the Israeli foreign minister apparently flushed the toilet live on air during a discussion last year about Islamist group Hamas
  • And finally... Silvio Berlusconi's antics often caused Italians to wince. On one occasion, at a group shot of EU leaders in 2002, he raised his hand in a "cuckolded" gesture behind the Spanish foreign minister's head; it was never clear why

The poll said 51% of voters viewed him positively, with Mr Obama at 56%. The Republican moved ahead of his Democrat rival on which candidate voters trust to handle the economy, create jobs and manage the deficit.

Many of Mr Obama's supporters are puzzled he chose not to bring up the 47% comments in the debate, although his campaign has used the remarks in a television advert.

Tax questions

At a rally in Denver on Thursday, Mr Obama urged his rival to tell the truth about his own policies.

"The real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5tn in tax cuts that favour the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that," he said.

At a campaign rally in Virginia, Mr Romney did not respond directly to the president's criticism.

But he did argue that Mr Obama had failed during the debate to make his case for another term.

Race to the White House

During Wednesday night's head-to-head Mr Romney repeatedly denied the $5tn (£3tn) claim.

Fact-checkers have said that Mr Romney's proposal to lower taxes by 20%, abolish estate tax and the alternative minimum tax would reduce revenue by $5tn over a decade.

The Republican has said he would help offset that by eliminating tax loopholes; the non-partisan Tax Policy Center says the sums do not add up.

The candidates went head to head for 90 minutes on jobs, taxes and healthcare.

Opinion polls agreed that Mr Romney had the upper hand in the debate - the first of three between the White House rivals.

Various surveys gave Mr Romney a 46-67% margin, with Mr Obama trailing on 22-25%.

The president was criticised for appearing hesitant and subdued, while the former governor - who has been lagging in the race - seemed animated and assertive.

Vice-presidential candidates Joe Biden and Paul Ryan will meet in Danville, Kentucky on 11 October, before the second presidential debate on 16 October.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 62.

    He does seem to have a knack of saying one thing and then saying 'actually I didn't mean that I ment ..........'

  • rate this

    Comment number 61.

    @44 Tourman............

    No it cant be....?? Surely not...?? is that you, Tourman, the guy who worked at Fox news....that completely free thinking, un-biased and non politically motivated American news outlet?

    Tourman, get over it....!!! The BBC represents a quality you in America will never see because of the infiltration of political bias and motivation that has destroyed American freedom.

  • rate this

    Comment number 60.

    I have American friends who seem to think Romney is the bees knees. I cant see why at all.That said they are well off affluent middle Americans. I think America is about to fall into the same trap we a weak leader out and anyone will do to replace him. I hope they dont because like us,they will live to regret it.Romney is a loose cannon,4 years down the line we will be saying told ya so.

  • rate this

    Comment number 59.

    What is said cannot be unsaid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 58.

    Was this man made by god as the architypal "Flip Flopper".....

    .....too late Mitt for brains, the cat is already out of the bag....

    ....the only thing to be said for that remark is at least you were the only Rebulican candidate prepared to say in public what they all believe in private.....

    ....all be it this retraction spoils that.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 57.

    He has a very poor command of English. It's funny how he says " and then you are going to say something that doesn't come out right..." followed by " life has shown that I care about 100%... When I become president, it will be about helping the 100%." That hasn't come out right either has it? If you can't speak properly how do you expect people to understand what it is you want to do?

  • rate this

    Comment number 56.

    Doesn't really matter if he accepts it was wrong, or apologises, it's still what he thinks, and that's ultimately what matters.

    If he thinks half the population are scroungers just because they haven't been cut-throat exploitative businessmen like him screwing over everyone else to make his millions then he's still not someone you want as president.

  • rate this

    Comment number 55.

    The man is a liar, a thief and a charlatan.

    The only thing he as confirmed from his policy so far is the cutting of PBS's budget, which has now turn the public opinion to "Soft on Wall Street, Hard on Sesame Street".

    He is so unpopular that even if he had all the right policies to help the world, he would still loose the election.

    Big Bird has a better chance of being POTUS than Rmoney.

  • rate this

    Comment number 54.

    Laurie, you try to feed a family of 4 with both adults out of work & no inheritance to draw upon: then speak of the "anthropological significance" of being forced to choose between life-saving medicine you need / shoes for your kid to go to school in. It's the clueless detachment of condescending privilege that drives the seething rage of the bamboozled voters who got robbed by Wall St in 2007.

  • rate this

    Comment number 53.

    @Tourman 44. Romney has released the comment via Fox News! It's news! It's being reported by every news outlet. So please stop with your totally biased comments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 52.

    Put him on a plane. Ascend to 35000 feet and open his window.

  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    He'll say anything to get elected. This is a very dangerous person and world terrorism would likely increase with him in power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    The Chairman at the debate failed to keep order. Obama looked like he was giving Mitt enough rope to hang himself... but it didn't go as planned - Mitt has nicked Obama's ideas, changed his tune completely and wrong-footed Obama. Next time come out fighting Mr President....

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    The only advantage Romney had was the carisma and laughter like Reagan and he spoke of the small businesses. While Obama looked tired and that is a positive side of Romney, we need laughters at th egloomy times I thank you Firozali A.Mulla DBA

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    The '47%' fundraiser was in May, not September...

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Watching the debate, Obama appeared sincere and truthful, Romney was akin to a snake oil salesmen. Please America do not vote Romney into power, the influence of the USA is still felt around the world, and I know who I would feel safer with in charge of that. Go for substance not spin.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    I think he means completely wrong to get caught saying it..

    He's another out of touch rich boy who we can all do without.

    Average people are struggling to make ends meet given the going over they've had front the likes of Romney.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    And if the Yanks believe that then they deserve the smug get

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Yet more totally unbiased reporting from the Bolshevik Broadcasting Corporation. No chance of you admitting that Obama has not been a great success as President is there.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

    He might have been wrong to say it, as it doesn't help his campaign....
    ....but it was still true....


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