Updated at 9:55 pm EDT
There are reasons that campaign fundraisers are often closed-door events.
Evidence of one reason surfaced today with the revealed remarks of Republican Mitt Romney at a private fundraising dinner earlier this year.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney is shown saying with a backdrop of clinking silverware for a sound track in a secretly recorded video from a fundraiser that was obtained by Mother Jones magazine from an unidentified person. It also was posted online by the Huffington Post.
“All right — there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them,” Romney says, adding that they “believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, you name it.”
“They will vote for this president no matter what. The president starts off with 48, 49… he starts off with a huge number…. These are people who pay no income taxes — 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes. Our message of lower taxes doesn’t connect,” Romney tells his audience. “What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful and look at voting one way or the other…”
Romney’s campaign didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Update: Gail Gitcho, the campaign’s communications director, later maintained that Romney wants to help “all Americans.” She said Romney “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.”
The video drew quick criticism from President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
“It’s shocking that a candidate for president of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement. “It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”
At the dinner, Mother Jones’ David Korn notes, “Romney often stuck to familiar talking points. But there were moments when he went beyond the familiar campaign lines.”
Describing his family background, he quipped about his father, who was born while the family lived in Mexico, “Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.”
Contending that he is a self-made millionaire who earned his own fortune, Romney insisted, “I have inherited nothing.. There is a perception, ‘Oh, we were born with a silver spoon, he never had to earn anything and so forth.’ Frankly, I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you can have: which is to get born in America.”
This is the video, as reported by Mother Jones: