Mitt Romney makes the case in a new USA Today op-ed that a weak economy is leaving more people reliant on government.
The short piece is a clear effort to reframe his leaked comments that 47 percent of Americans see themselves as “victims” who want the government to care for all their needs, but Romney never once mentions the hidden camera video or any quotes derived from it. Nor does he address the most maligned passages, like his claim that nearly half of Americans are unproductive freeloaders.
“Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency,” Romney writes. “My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility.”
As evidence, Romney notes that “47 million Americans are on food stamps,” and cites the nation’s 8.1 percent unemployment rate.
“My experience has taught me that government works best when it creates the space for individuals and families to pursue success and achieve great things,” Romney says. “Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in creating sustained prosperity and lifting people out of poverty.”
The op-ed doesn’t address the most explosive parts of his fundraiser remarks, in which he attributed government dependency not to a weak economy but to the character of 47 percent of Americans “who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.”
“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.”
(Photo Credit: Brett Marty Photography)
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.