President Obama accused Mitt Romney of “writing off” large portions of America in an appearance on “Late Show with David Letterman” taped Tuesday.
“One of the things I learned as president is you represent the entire country,” Obama told Letterman on Tuesday, according to pool reports. “If you want to be president, you have to work for everyone.”
The episode, which airs later in the evening, features the president’s first comments on a leaked video of Romney in which the Republican told donors that he had given up on winning the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income tax, saying they “are dependent upon government” and “believe that they are victims.”
“My job is is not to worry about those people,” Romney said in the video. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney has since reaffirmed his remarks, though he admitted they were “not elegantly stated.”
Obama said at the “Late Show” taping that Romney offered a stark contrast with his own philosophy as president.
”All of us make mistakes,” he said. “What people want to know though is you’re not writing off a big chunk of the country.”
He continued: “This is a big country. And people disagree a lot, but one thing I’ve never tried to do, and I think none of us can do in public office is suggest that because someone doesn’t agree with me that they’re victims or they’re unpatriotic.”
The president suggested Romney lacked a basic understanding of the average American’s value set.
“There are not a lot of people out there who think they’re victims,” he said. “There are not a lot of people who think they’re entitled to something.”
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.