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Romney on '47 Percent': I Was 'Completely Wrong'

Thursday, 04 October 2012 10:30 PM

Mitt Romney Thursday reversed his controversial remarks about 47 percent of American voters being dependent on government and not paying taxes, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he was “just completely wrong.”
In his first post-debate interview, the Republican presidential nominee sought to repair any damage the remark made earlier this year at a private fundraiser may have cost his campaign even though it was — surprisingly to many Democrats — not raised by President Barack Obama in the first presidential debate in Denver Wednesday night.
“Now and then, you're going to say something that doesn’t come out right," Romney said, suggesting the remark just popped out during the course of making “hundreds, if not thousands,” of campaign speeches and interviews.

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“In this case, I said something that was just completely wrong,” he added. “And I absolutely believe, however, that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent and that’s been demonstrated throughout my life. And this whole campaign is about the 100 percent. When I become President, it will be about helping the 100 percent.”
Asked what he thought of his debate performance, Romney said the president certainly “wasn’t happy” with the way things went, given the fact that he was declared the loser by the media on both the left and the right almost immediately.
But Romney suggested that he did well because the debate focused on “substance,” which gave him an opportunity to lay out clear differences with Obama.
“It was an evening of substance. . . . It was not a big gotcha night coming from the moderator, but instead a chance for the president and I to go toe-to-toe on important issues people care about,” he said. “So, I thought it was a helpful night. In the final analysis, people will decide what kind of America they want.”
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, who appeared briefly on the Hannity program with Romney, said the debate finally gave the American people a chance to see “the guy I know — a decisive, optimistic, confident leader.”
He said voters now know that they have “a very clear choice” between the two candidates, one that will them to “growth and opportunity” and the other to “stagnation and dependency.”
“The president is basically saying, four more years of the same. And Mitt gave them a better choice,” said Ryan, who will face off against Vice President Joe Biden in a debate on Oct. 11.
Romney also noted that he believes the debates are probably a welcome relief to voters from the nastiness of the campaign, which he said has focused on “character assassination” aimed at tearing him down and misrepresenting his views to the American people.
“I know what the president’s been campaigning on and saying about me is very different than what I actually am, what I actually believe. And I think that’s where the difference came,” he said, suggesting that many voters for the first time may have gotten a glimpse of the real Romney in the first debate.
“What the president’s been saying and the reality are pretty far apart,” he added.
Romney and Obama will square off again in two more debates later this month. The next one on Oct. 16 will focus on both domestic and foreign policy, and the last on Oct. 22 will cover foreign policy only.
Romney appeared to signal his plans to lay out major differences with the president on the Middle East and particularly his handling of national security issues.
Romney, for example, told Hannity that he views the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that left four Americans dead “a tragic failure” by the administration.

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“There had been warnings of a possible attack,” he said. “There were requests on the part of our . . .  commission there, of our diplomats there, rather, to have additional security forces. They were turned down.
“And then, following the tragedy, we saw, well, misleading information coming from the administration,” Romney continued. “And in fact, the president didn’t acknowledge that this was a terrorist act for what, a week or two? I mean, this was a terrorist attack, lives were lost. This happened on 9/11.
“We expect candor and transparency from the president, from the administration. And we didn’t get it.”

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Mitt Romney Thursday reversed his controversial remarks about 47 percent of American voters being dependent on government and not paying taxes, telling Fox News’ Sean Hannity that he was “just completely wrong.”
Thursday, 04 October 2012 10:30 PM
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