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Mitt Romney: '47 Percent' Comment Taken Out of Context, Misperceived

Image: Mitt Romney: '47 Percent' Comment Taken Out of Context, Misperceived

By Clyde Hughes   |  

Mitt Romney said that his so-called "47 percent" comment made during a May 2012 fundraiser that damaged his presidential campaign was taken out of context by Democrats and was meant show his focus on getting independent voters.

Romney's comments will appear in the book "Collision 2012: Obama vs. Romney and the Future of Elections in America," by Dan Balz of the Washington Post, due out Aug. 6. The Washington Post released an excerpt from the book with Romney's comments on the quote and posted it online Saturday.

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Romney made the "47 percent" comment during a closed-door fundraiser, but they surfaced after a privately taped video of the comments was leaked to liberal-leaning Mother Jones magazine in September.

Romney said to Balz that the video was a low point in his campaign, but stressed the fallout missed the point he was trying to make.

"As I understood it, and as they described it to me, not having heard it, it was saying, 'Look, the Democrats have 47 percent, we’ve got 45 percent, my job is to get the people in the middle, and I’ve got to get the people in the middle,'" Romney told Balz for the book, according to The Washington Post.

"And I thought, 'Well, that’s a reasonable thing.' ... It’s not a topic I talk about in public, but there’s nothing wrong with it. They’ve got a bloc of voters, we’ve got a bloc of voters, I’ve got to get the ones in the middle. And I thought that that would be how it would be perceived — as a candidate talking about the process of focusing on the people in the middle who can either vote Republican or Democrat. As it turned out, down the road, it became perceived as being something very different," Romney said to Balz.

Balz said in the excerpt when he asked Romeny about his comments about the 47 percent not taking responsibility for their lives, Romney said that "perception" of those comments was off base.

"Actually, I didn’t say that," Romney told Balz, per the Post. "That’s how it began to be perceived, and so I had to ultimately respond to the perception, because perception is reality."

Josh Voorhees, of Salon.com, said Romney's comments to Balz show how he continues to spin the most controversial comments of his campaign to where Romney seems to be arguing with his own words.

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Mitt Romney said that his so-called "47 percent" comment made during a May 2012 fundraiser that damaged his presidential campaign was taken out of context by Democrats and was meant show his focus on getting independent voters.
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