Updated at 5:38 pm EDT
President Barack Obama may have missed an opportunity to hold Republican Mitt Romney to his fundraising comment about 47 percent of Americans being out of reach to him during their televised debate this week, but Romney is working on his own at an explanation.
Initially, Romney called it “inelegant” — his recently published comment from a May 17 fundraising dinner in Florida at which he said the 47 percent who pay no income taxes are “victims” of government dependency, sure to support Obama and unreachable by his campaign. Last night, on FOX News’ “Hannity,” Romney said it was simply “wrong.”
“Now and then, you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right,” Romney said. “In this case, I said something that was just completely wrong.”
Asked about Obama’s campaign-trail response to the debate — in which the president has been challenging the words of “the guy playing Mitt Romney” — the Republican nominee told Sean Hannity and FOX’s viewers: “Obviously, the president wasn’t happy with the response to our debate last night.”
If there was no talk of the 47 percent in the debate, there has been plenty of it in campaign ads that Obama and the super-PAC backing his campaign are airing.
“What the president’s been campaigning, and saying about me is very different than what I actually am, what I actually believe,” Romney said. “What the president’s been saying and the reality are pretty far apart.”
He accused Democrats of pursuing a “kill Romney” strategy all year, including “character assassination” which has “gone way too far” and “diminishes the White House.”
The Obama campaign has produced a Web video asking which statement Romney meant when: