President Barack Obama used a late-night talk show appearance on Tuesday to take issue with Mitt Romney’s leaked comments that disparaged Obama supporters.
The president chided his Republican rival for his poor choice of words during the May 17 fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida before a room full of wealthy donors, saying that whoever wins the election will “have”you have to work for everyone, not just for some.”
Obama made the remarks while in New York City for a taping of the Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday night.
“One thing I’ve learned as president is that you represent the entire country,” he said.
Obama added by telling Letterman that he does not believe Americans are “victims” as Romney so infamously said.
It was Obama’s first public response to the video of Romney, which was secretly recorded in May and posted online Monday. In it, the Republican presidential candidate is recorded sharing a disdainful opinion of Obama supporters.
“There are 47 percent who are with him, 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. That that’s an entitlement,” he says in the leaked video clip.
The political fallout has been an added distraction to the Romney campaign, while further perpetuating the image of their candidate as an out-of-touch aristocrat who cares nothing for average people, CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood was quoted as saying on CTV’s Canada AM.
“Even if it doesn’t move a lot of votes … it takes time away from Mitt Romney, with just two weeks before the debate, in a time when he’s behind President Obama and needs to make up ground.”
According to the results of an Associated Press-GfK Poll conducted on Sept. 13-17, Obama is supported by 47 per cent of those who expect to actually vote and Romney by 46 percent.
Among likely voters, just 17 percent were undecided or said they might change their minds before Election Day.
Romney has since tried to own the remarks, framing them as part of the bigger philosophical differences he has with the president concerning the role of government.
Romney knows all too well of the dangers of misspeaks on the campaign trail. His father, Michigan Gov. George Romney saw his own presidential aspirations dashed after he said his support for the Vietnam War came during an overseas tour where generals and diplomats influenced him with “the greatest brainwashing that anybody can get.”
He quit his campaign in the furor that ensued.
Obama acknowledged he’s not immune either, telling Letterman that voters understand presidential candidates will occasionally make mistakes.
During his 2008 campaign, Obama got into hot water when he was caught on video recorded at a private fundraiser, belittling small-town Americans.
Romney and Obama will meet on Oct. 3 for the first of three presidential debates, while the vice-presidential candidates, Democratic Joe Biden and Republican Paul Ryan, will face off once before the Nov. 6 election.