The words "47 percent" were the death blow to Mitt Romney's presidential campaign—and even he admits it was "completely wrong." So why on Earth is Rep. Rob Woodall, a Republican from Georgia who sits on Paul Ryan's House Budget Committee, saying Mitt was so right? Well, he sure isn't apologizing for Romney. In the clip, recorded last month at a town-hall meeting while Congress was on leave to visit with constituencies but uploaded this weekend, Woodall goes there: "You know, folks mock Mitt Romney for what he said, but he's right," Woodall says in the video. "Forty-seven percent of American citizens pay zero in income taxes. It's just true. Then, to the return of the entitlement debate that so infuriated lower-income Americans, Woodall adds the word "skin":
In fact, the bottom 30% of American citizens profit from the tax code because they're getting refundable tax credits back ... I don’t care if you’re paying a dollar. You need to believe that you are involved in the process, and you need to have skin in the game.
Watch the full video, by way of Georgia Fair Share, a Democratic-aligned non-profit which fights for middle-class tax cuts, right here:
We're not entirely sure where Rep. Woodall is getting his tax-code statistics for this year's tax day, but as we found out in the leadup and wind-down from last November, the 47 percent figure just isn't true. Gleaning information and research from The Washington Post, HuffPo's Luke Johnson writes today, "61 percent of the people who had no federal income tax liability in 2011 paid payroll taxes ... and 22 percent were seniors. The remainder of that group mostly had incomes below $20,000."
And Romney himself said in a Fox News interview last October that those comments were "completely wrong":
"Well, clearly in a campaign, with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right," Romney said. "In this case, I said something that's just completely wrong."
So will backing the 47 percent mantra which sunk Romney's campaign poison Woodall, too? The Georgia Congressman has been bullish on Paul Ryan's new budget—"thrift begins at home" has been his key line in many interviews comparing President Obama's budget to the House GOP offering—and that's been riling up groups like Georgia Fair Share. A field organizer for the group recently wrote that Ryan and Woodall "are on a mission to starve government of revenue so that there is no choice left but to dismantle vital social programs and radically alter the character of government." For his part, Woodall doesn't have much to lose, he won his House seat by 67 percent in 2010 and will be "sitting it out" in the race for the retiring Saxby Chambliss's Senate seat in 2014. Woodall's office hasn't responded to requests for comment since the video surfaced.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.