Mitt Romney isn’t backing off his suggestion that 47 percent of Americans are freeloading off the government. In fact, in an interview with Fox News Tuesday afternoon, he made clear he’s chosen to embrace the message.
“Those that are dependent on government,” he said, “I’m not going to get them.”
Romney told Fox’s Neil Cavuto that the brouhaha over his remarks—which were surreptitiously recorded at a Florida fundraiser and posted online Monday by the liberal magazine Mother Jones—“focuses a great deal of attention on whether or not we're going to have a government that becomes larger.”
“Frankly, we have two different views about America,” Romney continued. “The president’s view is one of a larger government. There is a tape that came out where is the president is saying he likes redistribution. I disagree.”
Asked by Cavuto whether he was writing off 47% of the electorate as freeloaders, Romney said:
No, I’m talking about a perspective of individuals who I’m not likely to get to support me. I recognize that those people who are not paying income tax are going to say, ‘Gosh, this provision that Mitt keeps talking about lowering income taxes,’ that’s not going to be attractive to them. And those that are dependent on government and those that think government’s job is redistribute — I’m not going to get them.
A top campaign surrogate, John Sununu, delivered a similar message in an interview Tuesday with MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell, saying that the campaign is about a divide between those who support “big government,” and those who support the private sector. And in a Monday night press conference, Romney similarly embraced the gist of his fundraiser remarks, though he allowed that the comments were “not elegantly stated.”