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 82.

    Obama, Obama, Obama!!!

    We really do not want another Bush do we now?

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    It was a calculatedly racist remark. If this is what religious tolerance gets you the UK should work harder at secularising our society and opening up the bigotry of religions to criticism and free speech.I can't see women, ethnic minorities, the poor -any rational person-could vote for Romney.The special relationship surely can't survive with a nation led by a man like this. Deeply scary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    Too little too late I feel as what is said in private or for that matter to the core devotees, is what the candidate is thinking, just take Gordon Browns gaff in the car when he forgot he had a microphone still on.

    Romney thinks this of the 47% and will never change his opinion, unless its in front of the worlds press to gain favour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    #70 - "proven liar" "90%" - unsubstantiated slurs thrown out there with no evidential support. If you want to assess "lies and the liars who tell them", why not read the various non-partisan fact-checkers on the debate. Whatever the style issues etc, the facts issuing from Mitt's mouth simply are not, on a large (too large) number of issues, true. But hey the Repubs aren't interested in the facts!

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    He would say that wouldn't he.......

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Obama is right to call him out on the taxation. The man clearly lied in the debate. Americans can only get their budget in balance by meeting their aspirations to remain "the world super power", et al, by the thing that Dwight D. did and commented as being a necessity, collecting taxes from all in society in a progressive manner! Same as here!

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    If Romney can get this wrong (it's could be construed as lying) then how many lies did he promulgate in the last presidential debate?
    We in Britain are currently suffering from the disingenuous behaviour of politicians during the Prime Ministerial debates in our last general election.
    It seems that if Romney's lips are moving then he may well be lying.
    America (and the rest of the world) beware!

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    71. Lemog
    If America votes this nasty right wing religious bigot in as President, it won`t just be Americans regretting it at a later date, the rest of the world will too. Obama has his faults but he is infinitely a far better person than Romney, in fact there is no comparison between them

    Why would there be a comparison, they oppose each other politically.


  • rate this

    Comment number 74.


    It would be just the same as Tory leader saying "We're never going to win 35% of the vote as they'll always vote Labour because of tradition and the fact they're being paid benefits and won't want to vote them away"

    It's why the parties squabble over the 10% in the middle. I'm sorry his comments were 'offensive', but this is just the facts of electioneering.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    61. Ganretti !!

    Is that you, the one that believes the BBC to lack bias. The BBC that carefully controls what we can comment on. All news has a bias, get over it or carry on reading the Guardian.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    A right wing mormon in charge of the White House. Stop the world, I want to get off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    If America votes this nasty right wing religious bigot in as President, it won`t just be Americans regretting it at a later date, the rest of the world will too. Obama has his faults but he is infinitely a far better person than Romney, in fact there is no comparison between them

  • Comment number 70.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    The Left completely took the 47% remarks out of context. They totally demagogued it for political gain. That's just the truth of the matter.

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    The remarkable thing is that some people seem to believe the 47% remark.


    When did anyone start to believe what any politician says?

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    The saddest thing is that many of those 47% will still vote for him because his party shares their ultraconservative love for guns, religion and discrimination.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    The Liberal and left wing press have seized on every mistake Romney made yet the remain silent on the the huge mistakes Obama has made, like not knowing the size of the US deficit on a talk show, something he is supposed to be fighting every day, destruction of 70 yrs of Western diplomacy in the ME and shoehorning in the Hostile Muslim Brother who and killed the Libyan ambassador.

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 63.

    It is always difficult when a society has become so dependent on Government employment, Government benefits, Government quangos. A cutting government is going to be massively unpopular and unelectable. Who says telling the truth will get you elected!!


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