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Romney’s ’47 percent’ remarks not his first flap involving private words to Palm Beach County donors

by George Bennett | September 18th, 2012

Palm Beach County has been a rich source of campaign cash — and headaches — for Mitt Romney this year. The Republican presidential nominee will be back in the county Thursday to collect more of the former while trying to avoid the latter.

Romney’s campaign is on the defensive today after Monday’s release of a surreptitiously recorded video of the candidate telling high-dollar donors in Boca Raton that the roughly 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax are “dependent upon government” and “I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

The recording, released Monday by liberal Mother Jones magazine, was made May 17 at the home of investment banker Marc Leder at a dinner for $50,000 donors.

It wasn’t the first time this year that presumably private remarks to big givers in Palm Beach County have created a public kerfuffle for Romney.

In April, Romney attended a $50,000-a-head outdoor event at the Palm Beach home of investor Gerald and Darlene Jordan along the Intracoastal Waterway. The remarks were closed to the public and press, but reporters outside overheard Romney say he’d “probably eliminate for high-income people the second home mortgage deduction” and might also eliminate deductions for state income and property taxes as well.

Romney also told the Palm Beach crowd that he might make big cuts to the Department of Education and Department of Housing and Urban Affairs. HUD, he said, “might not be around later.”

The musings themselves were not specific policy proposals and weren’t particularly shocking for a Republican who campaigned as a conservative. But critics accused Romney of offering more detail to wealthy donors than he has to the general public. Romney still hasn’t offered specifics on his proposal to cut income tax rates 20 percent without draining revenue from federal coffers.

The controversy over the remarks at Leder’s house are “a blip on the screen,” said Brian Ballard, the Tallahassee lobbyist who is one of three Florida finance chairs for Romney.

“I’ve been to about 10 of these or more and he speaks frankly every time. It’s enjoyable. There’s nothing he’s ever said at any of the events I’ve ever been to that the entire world couldn’t hear,” Ballard said.

“I wish, frankly, he would speak more on the campaign stump like he does at these events.”

Romney is scheduled to visit the North Palm Beach home of Chris Cline for a Thursday fundraiser, then go to the nearby home of Al Hoffman for another gathering with contributors.


34 Responses to “Romney’s ’47 percent’ remarks not his first flap involving private words to Palm Beach County donors”

  1. LegalEagle Says:

    Coming from someone who won’t release his own tax returns- you can’t make this stuff up! Well, Mitt, if you as well as other corproations didn’t outsource your company and the jobs- maybe that percentage might be lower. Another thing Mitt- the unemployment rate is not the fault of the citizens- and when they do receive the paudry check- taxes have already been deducted. I guess the only way you’ll win the election is if you keep your mouth shut-and you won’t on both points.

  2. BustedUpGrunt Says:

    Mitt’s outraged over the predictable effect of tax cuts by Reagan in ’86 and Bush in ’01 and ’03 that REPS supported, and he uses that outrage to justify further tax cuts for the rich now.
    I trust Reagan/Bush wanted to include tax cuts for the poor back then, if only to make those tax cuts for the rich more politically palatable.

    Fact is, a huge part of the 47% are either the elderly on Soc Sec, on disability, or with no income who pay no taxes, and are also the hard-working folks who get payroll taxes deducted weekly but who’s ANNUAL SALARY ISN’T HIGH ENOUGH TO PAY FED INCOME TAXES (thanks to Reagan and Bush) when they file a return.
    Reminds me of my first 2-3 years in the Marines when the Corps withheld income taxes on my pittance salary payday, but I got it all back when I filed my annual return.
    Mitt’s SHOCKED, I TELL YOU, SHOCKED…that many honorable people exist in the US who work long and hard but just don’t earn enough to pay tax.
    According to Mitt, I was just another “deadbeat Marine taker” not doing my share.

  3. npgator Says:

    Kind of like Obama offering more details to that Russian than to the rest of us? The Post is so one sided and in lock step with Obama I cannot see how anyone and treat this paper as a credible source.

  4. Can't believe it fit! Says:

    I bought this for my wife as a gift. I may have missed something in the description but I expected an non-vibrating one, instead, I received a vibrating version with less pronounced veins than the one pictured. it was shipped with used 2 AA batteries and is 8″ in length but the battery cover and base account for 2 inches of unusable length. This thing appears to be huge (it’s about 1.5 times my girth) but with some lube, my wife really enjoyed it. We are happy with the purchase despite what appears to be a substitute from what is described.

  5. Paul McCarthy Says:

    If what Romney is saying is true, then he’s already lost the election

  6. Change This Says:

    Romney knows exactly what he is talking about. He is smart. Obama, not so much.

  7. Percy Lightman Says:

    This is the problem with telling the voters what they want to hear. While Mitt is very good at this type of pandering, the perceived flip-flopping is seen as desperation overshadowing any real convictions.

  8. SoWhat Says:

    Regardless of your opinions on the entitlement programs, nothing Mitt said was untrue. The fact is that the government is spending $1.40 for every $1.00 it collects. There’s no way to balance the budget without some sort of entitlement reform. Any elected official risks their office by proposing entitlement reforms. That’s a simple fact, an the reason nothing gets done.

  9. Mitt Says Says:

    I “Can’t believe it fit!”

  10. TheNoSpinTruth Says:

    The truth does hurt. See who the 47% include:

    a) illegal aliens
    b) jews
    c) african americans

    The 53% range from poor to wealthy and some of the above. The differnce is that the 53% want to work and make it on their own. While the 47% want free stuff from the government.

  11. Jerence Says:

    I’m getting tired of people blaming American companies for outsourcing their work. If you bought American for the last 20 years, then there would not be any talk about outsourcing. Sheeeeeeit (Senator R. Clayton Davis), you might have to pay twice or three times as much for something made in this country, but at least we would have jobs in this country. Blame your fellow cheapo americans…not the corporations.


  12. Tom Says:

    The real Romney appears with total distain for 47% of the American people. Apparently General Electric is included in the non-taxpaying 47%, but, of course, corporations are people.

  13. Concerned Taxpayer Says:

    I guess it is only us stupid fools who “cling to our guns and religion” who support Romney, eh? How about the flat out lies being told about the Libya Embassy assault by Obama’s White House and Administration? I notice there is no story on that today. Or yesterday for that matter, when the Libyian President called Obama’s presentation of the event false. Wonder why?

  14. uptown girl Says:

    We the people of this country should be demanding better resumes from these politicians!! Like serving THIS COUNTRY, not just by flapping their lips with a bunch hot air and cr@p coming out of them!!! SERVE THE PEOPLE, THE U.S. CITIZENS and have quicker procedures for deporting. Can;t produce proof, out you are. The burden of proof should be on them. And if they have their anchor baby(ies), they can go too or be put in an orphanage. Parents choice!!

  15. RFN Says:

    People speak their true feelings when they believe that they are in the safety of their peers, cloaked in privacy: Politicians, members of restricted clubs and most narrow minded “we vs. they” groups. This is how he really feels. This is how he talks about most of us in private. Like most, he will never say what he thinks about you to your face. His only contact with real people was on a balance sheet at Bain, as he looked at how many he could lay-off and jobs he could ship overseas to increase the cash flow of the companies which they just bought, a practice that Bain continues to this day.

  16. RENEGADE Says:

    @TheNoSpinTruth……..Your just a ignorant low life racist bigot.Go crawl back in your hole coward!

    Concerned Taxpayer

    I suggest you move to Lybia since you seem to like their President so much!!!
    The truth is that the President of Lybia has been trying to blame others since the day it happened. He refuses to accept his people had any responsibility for this at all. First it was all foreigners, now its blame the Americans themselves.
    BTW, the reports of intercepted communications were about an attack on the **UN** consul NOT US consul. So they did not have info that the US consul may be attacked they are just trying to twist it that way and hoping people don’t notice!

  17. Blah, Blah, Blah Says:

    @legal eagle — seems like everyone bent about him not releasing tax returns going back ten years don’t know much about what is on the return he DID release. Who prepared and signed it? A big 4 accounting firm? If so I highly doubt it was an aggressive return. Had he been audited in the past? Were there any persistent, recurring IRS issues? Did he ever have to pay fines or penalties for misstating his return? That’s what I want to know. Can anyone tell me?

    Seems like no one has actually looked at what he released, even those screaming from the highest mountain about this whole thing, particularly that smokin’ hot babe on MSNBC that is a CPA. In spite of her credential, she acts like she’s never spent a day in public accounting. Why doesn’t she dissect his return? I’ll tell you why — because it’s done consistent with what the law requires and probably has no mistakes on it – hence nothing to pick a part.

    Get over this red-herring and focus on making the economy better – that’s my sole issues.

  18. Blah, Blah, Blah Says:

    issue NOT issues

  19. RENEGADE Says:

    He can’t release his tax returns. There may be years in there where he didn’t owe any taxes. That would make him part of that 47%!!!!

  20. John Doe Says:

    Forgot the Palm Beach Post still existed. 47% work, 47% don’t so the fight in for the 6% that work sometimes.

  21. TheNoSpinMan Says:


    Blah! Blah! Blah! The truth hurts. Obama would never speak the truth. Keep drinking that delicious Obama Koolaide.

  22. Mattrue Says:

    People who build a business to deconstruct other businesses don’t have any qualifications to run or fix a countries economy. We hear Willard talking about if he gets elected how the stock market will boom without doing anything. This is the same thing that happened after Bush deregulated the banking industry and Wallstreet in 2002. This is what causes the economy to spike falsely without any GNP. The problem is that this is just not the way out of this economic growth problem. It is what caused the economic crisis of the Bush administration. This is what economists call the bubble effect and when the bubble pops your in a recession again. This is the same effect as tax breaks for the upper class. The only problem is that it doesn’t work when you don’t have sustainable long term economic growth. This is what has happened to the economy over the past several decades. You have one administration that uses the short term economic growth policies and no long term goals for the future. You can not use short term trickle down economic policies and expect any growth in this economy. It will only cause the economy to crash worse than it did in the great depression. Willard and the rat pack will not have the chance to out crash George W failure Bush, because the middle class Americans who run the country now, won’t give the rat pack a chance to screw it up again.

  23. Jimc Says:

    uptown girl-What are you 90? We haven’t had orphanages in over 30+ years.

  24. Francisco Says:

    Since when is speaking the truth a gaff?

  25. Francisco Says:

    Keep talking about his tax returns and well keep talking about the economy. Lets see who wins that battle…

  26. Dave Turk Says:

    Romney was caught telling the truth so the Palm Beach post calls that a gaffe..figures..

  27. Dave Turk Says:

    Obama was caught on video saying he believes in redistribution..taking more from taxpayers and giving to losers.. that’s not a gaffe..that’s communism..

  28. Voxpopuli Says:

    Romney, Ryan, the Republicans and tea party have proven to be unfit to govern the American people.
    For over 30 years they have been dismantling what took generations to build and are selling American and the American people for pennies on the dollar. They have put their self serving,corrupt, amoral for profit at all cost agenda before This nation and the American people.
    Now they seek to gain political office by the systematic denial of hundreds of thousands of Americans the right to vote.
    If that is how low they will stoop to get power what do you think they will do with it if they get it?

  29. Mattrue Says:

    If you want to check the 65 percent of Americans that are employed at this time in our economy are working for small business owners. To bad that business people like Willard Mittens Romney would rather bust up and liquidate companies to gain access to the retirement funds instead of building your future in America. The problem with this is not of his concern, Willard and his rat pack will just go to the foreign countries and start the same game all over again. He doesn’t have to live here and does not care if he destroys this country, but he does care about making money while he plays president and don’t you think he’s going to put his personal business to rest. He still receives his 20 million dollars a year from Bain capital. This is his company he not only had been the CEO he is the cofounder. You believe the lies that he tells you, because you think he has nothing to gain. Romney said to the public that he retired his position at Bain and he is not responsible for any of the future course of direction the company takes. He owns the majority of Bain and is not going to ever own up to anything bad that could hurt his next conquest, to be the president of the United States of America. The only problem is that he hasn’t the slightest idea of what to do with the economy or he would have released his economic plans to rebuilding the economy. This is the same thing that happened at Bain, he had no idea where to go with the business and was going to abandon the project. We can’t afford this attitude for our President. This is not a single company that you can walk away from when things get bad. We don’t need risk takers and quick fixes, this country needs slow and long term growth with long term goals. Send Willard and the rat pack packing, Romney is not the answer America needs.

  30. Bito Says:

    @Brian Ballard, you said that there is nothing hes ever said, at any of the events that I have been to that the entire world couldn`t hear, so, having said that, How come the press is not allowed to attend these so called meetings? If he has nothing to hide,(like his tax returns) How come nobody else is alloud? You can fool some of the people some of times, but you cant fool everybody all the time, MITT THE TWITT seems to think he can, Obama has the re-election in the bag, unless he pulls a 2000 GW and steals the election, which IMO would likely create a civil war, which is what he has been looking for,war, not realizing it would be from the american people who are fed up with the wealthy dictating how the rest of us should live in poverty.

  31. Toni Says:

    So does Mitt Romney also feel the same way about his uber-rich friends who also pay no taxes (that also apparently includes him since he won’t release his tax returns? And he’s also saying senior citizens who are now retired are moochers too and are not entitled to their Social Security, Medicare or even food.

  32. dave Says:

    Name should be, Post on politics all Democret

  33. Toni Says:

    I dated a man very much like Romney his life revolved around the Everglades Club in Palm Beach to the Rockaway Hunting Club to the north. His father created the wealth, the son earned a law degree from Princeton and was 100% WASP. He did business with Jews but in his private life wanted nothing to do with them. Only difference between him and Mitt is their religion. Mitt is a Morman the man I knew was an Episcopalian both are and were evil.

  34. Marathon Running Program Says:

    I like your blog. George I hope you keep writing more blogs like this one. Thank you for the article George.

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