What should have been Mitt Romney’s victory lap morphed into more recrimination on Thursday when the Republican presidential candidate appeared on Sean Hannity’s TV show and admitted that he was “completely wrong” about secretly-recorded comments he made disparaging those who received government assistance.
Fresh off an impressive debate performance over President Barack Obama the night before, Romney was asked about his famous “47 percent” comments he made at a Florida fundraiser in May. In the speech before big-money donors, the former Massachusetts governor derided the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal taxes as thinking themselves as victims who felt entitled to government largesse and failed to take personal responsibility for their lives.
Romney obviously expected the issue to arise during his debate with the president and had his answer ready when asked about it by Hannity.
“Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right,” Romney said. “In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.”
The response was a decided change-of-course for the Romney campaign, which had previously stood by the comments by trying to frame them in a bigger picture concerning the role of government. However, it revives the issue at a time when the Republican candidate finally had something to be cheerful about following his debate performance.
The political damage his words did to the campaign was unmistakable, however, and forced Romney’s move.
For his part, Romney acknowledged that he said something that “didn’t come out right, insisting that he will be a president for the “100 percent” and arguing that the gap between the rich and poor has expanded under the Obama administration.
Romney also addressed everything from the post-debate media reactions to Obama‘s performance.
Romney slammed the incumbent for engaging in blatant misrepresentation of his positions, and said he was glad to be able to set the record straight.
He laughed off Al Gore’s wild assertion that Denver’s high altitude may have had something to do with Obama’s lackluster performance the evening before. Romney said he was glad to have the opportunity to respond to the same claims Obama has been making about his policies for months.
Obama has since regained his stride, going on the offensive against Romney on the stump on Thursday, asserting that he repeatedly lied and misrepresented his positions during the debate.
Hannity told Romney he found it striking that the president never attacked his political rival over his controversial “47 percent” remarks.
One of several post-debate polls touting a resounding victory for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has become a viral outrage on Twitter. A CNN/ORC poll showing a 67 percent to 25 percent win for Romney over President Obama has come under fire thanks to a tweet by Keith Olberman wondering why the poll’s full results appear to show a polling sample composed entirely of Southern white people over age fifty. According to CNN Washington Bureau Chief Sam Feist, the poll did include a diverse sample, and the confusion is due to a misreading of the poll’s cross-tabs.
A CBS News post-debate poll showed 46 percent of those surveyed gave Romney the win, with 22 percent calling the debate for the President, and 32 percent calling it a tie. The CBS poll didn’t contain demographic information, though, and was a poll of undecided voters.