How the GOP Divides Over Romney's 47%

When video of Mitt Romney talked about the government-dependent "47 percent" was posted, lots of conservative bloggers rejoiced. Not all Republicans joined in.

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When video of Mitt Romney talked about the government-dependent "47 percent" was posted, lots of conservative bloggers rejoiced. Not all Republicans joined in. The way Republicans and conservatives split over the line fits into a pattern: the people who liked it are those who have to, like Mitt Romney, or freshmen members of Congress. Those who are ambivalent are the politicians with ties to Romney's campaign but races of their own to win. Those who hate it are Republicans from liberal states or those who quit politics for the punditry business.

View: The '47 Percent' Line Was Great


Mitt Romney. Romney has an op-ed in USA Today headlined, "Romney: I'll deliver recovery, not dependency." He writes, "Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency. My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility." In an interview with Fox News yesterday, Romney stood by his "inelegant" remarks.

Romney's campaign manager Matt Rhoades sent out a memo to supporters saying, "As the choice voters face comes into greater focus, the different visions that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have for America are becoming more sharply defined."

The Drudge Report released a 14-year-old video showing Obama saying he believes in redistribution, and Romney's campaign is holding events in 13 states to try to get local news to write about the video, Politico's James Hohmann reports.

Freshmen Congressmen. 

  • "I think it’s an opportunity [for Romney and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan] to explain what opportunity, liberty and what conservatism is about — which is about giving everybody an opportunity," Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas. told Politico's Politico's Jake Sherman and Seung Min Kim.
  • "Our Tax Code is a mess, those who don’t pay taxes range from the very poor to the very rich and we have a president who believes in an activist entitlement government that is financially unsustainable," Republican Rep. Dennis Ross of Florida told Politico. "The concern underlying Mr. Romney’s statement, I believe, is one shared by many hardworking Americans who bought homes they could afford, pay taxes to a government that is ripping them off and see debt piled onto their kids yet are daily told they don’t do their fair share for their fellow man."

RedState's Erick Erickson, Tuesday. "Conservatives Agree: Romney’s Right," he wrote.

View: The '47 Percent' Line Was Meh


Running mate Paul Ryan. "He was obviously inarticulate in making this point," Ryan said in a Nevada radio interview. He should have said it in another way, "that's for sure."

RedState's Erick Erickson, Wedneday. "Even conservatives like me who don't think this is as damaging as a lot of people say, have to concede the remark was really inarticulate at best and really dumb," he said on CNN.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah. "In the age of 24-hour news cycles, this is going to get a few hours, but by the time we move onto more important things later in the week, it will have come and gone," he told Politico.

Karl Rove. "I think he’s better served saying, 'I've said what I said, I'm worried about [the] culture of dependency and that's why I've got [a] plan for the middle class' and just go to that," Rove told Politico's Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman and Anna Palmer. But "you’ve got to be careful about that number," Rove said, because it includes old folks on Social Security.

View: The '47 Percent' Line Was Horrible


Bush people. 

  • "You win by making people feel like you understand their problems -- his gaffe this week made that more difficult," former Bush communications director Nicolle Wallace said on Good Morning America Wednesday. "They have to stop being hostage to their own mistakes."
  • "This is a deeply cynical view of America," former Bush aide Mark McKinnon writes at The Daily Beast. "Not to mention wrong. And it’s a long way from the compassionate conservatism that welcomed more Americans into the Republican Party under President George W. Bush." He notes that Michelle Obama said in her convention speech that a presidency "reveals who you are." McKinnon says, "mark me down as one Republican not happy with what is being revealed about Mitt Romney."

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown. "That’s not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs," Brown told The Hill.

Connecticut candidate for Senate Linda McMahon. She released a statement saying, "I disagree with Governor Romney’s insinuation that 47% of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care. I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be."

UpdateNevada Sen. Dean Heller. Heller said Wednesday that he has a "very different view of the world" than Romney does. "You got to understand, I grew up with five brothers and sisters. My father was an automechanic. My mother was a school cook. I just don’t view the world the same way he does," Heller said. "And as United States Senator, I think I represent everyone, and every vote’s important. Every vote’s important in this race. I don’t write off anybody."

The Wall Street Journal's editorial page. The editorial imagines what Romney should have said: "You've probably also heard some people—some even in my own party—divide Americans between 'makers' and 'takers.' As if half the country wants to live off the other half. I've never believed that." Romney should sneak the speech past his advisers, because "a man as smart as the former CEO of Bain Capital can give a better speech on taxes and dependency than he delivered at that fundraiser. If he can't, he'll lose, and he'll deserve to."

Peggy Noonan. It's "Time for an Intervention," she writes. On a super-deep level, too. "What should Mitt Romney do now? He should peer deep into the abyss."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.