On Sept. 17, 2012 Mother Jones revealed a secret video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaking to an audience at a private fundraiser event.
In the video, Romney heavily criticized supporters, which he argues are 47 percent of all voters, of President Barack Obama by calling them freeloaders who don’t pay income tax and expect the government to take care of them.
According to the original story by Mother Jones, Romney said, “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Keeping with the topic of Obama supporters, Romney said voters who voted for Obama four years ago are afraid to admit they made the wrong choice.
“Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn’t up to the task,” Romney said. “They love the phrase that he’s over his head.”
He later strayed away from bashing voters and moved on to Obama himself, claiming his heritage takes priority in the minds of voters.
“Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this,” Romney said.
Critics also capitalize on Romney’s comments about the “Palestinian problem.” He told supporters, “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way.”
This statement is being interpreted as a lack of action and awareness on Romney’s part to establish peace between Israel and Palestine.
In an updated article, the Huffington Post, whose editors claimed they were the first to release the video, reported Romney stood by his statements in the video about Obama’s supporters to Fox News’s Neil Cavuto.
“We were of course talking about a campaign and about how he’s going to get half the vote,” Romney said. “And frankly we have two very different views of America.”
The secret video left audiences wondering who the mysterious recorder was.
Originally, editors of Mother Jones said they wouldn’t release the time, date or location of the event in order to keep the recorder safe.
Now, however, publications such as Philebrity.com have disclosed that the event was held this past May in Marc Leder’s, co-owner of the 76ers, home located in Florida.
Several conservatives have argued the speech was manipulated and had two minutes erased from it. Benny Johnson, of The Blaze, wrote that Romney’s statement, “We do all these polls — I find it amazing. We poll all these people to see where you stand in the polls but 45 percent of the people vote for the Republicans and 48 or 49–,” was cut out of the video. Johnson said this statement was made to justify Romney’s view of the 47 percent.
Romney is not only receiving flack from Democrats over the video, he has also lost support from Republicans because they feel his statement about the 47 percent only further prove he is out of touch with the struggling economy.
As a consequence, voters have been reinforced to believe Romney is out of touch with the average American.
Besides the general public, elected officials and candidates have also weighed in to scold Romney for his statements in the secret video. Former Wisconsin governor and current U.S. Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, R-Wis., has actually blamed Romney for his own dip in the polls.
“The presidential thing is bound to have an impact in any election, whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican,” Thompson said. “If your standard bearer for the presidency is not doing well, it’s going to reflect down the ballot.”
Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., said Romney has proved he is more concerned about the wealthy instead of the middle class and doesn’t care to win over the 47 percent of voters who don’t pay income taxes.
Baldwin argued Democrats understand, “the best way to build the economy is from the middle class out, not the top down.”
On the other side, however, many media officials released statements of praise for Romney.
“Oh, Romney doesn’t much care for those who benefit from the system without contributing? Good. Me neither. I think I’ll vote for him,” Brady Creemens, a writer for the Right Sphere, said.
In comparison, Fox News’ Todd Starnes tweeted, “Mitt needs to speak in public like he speaks in private.”
With all of the buzz this video has created, the person who originally recorded it has yet to be identified. Many are also wondering if, once identified, he or she will face legal troubles. CNBC reported Floria is a two-party state, which means both parties involved in a conversation must give permission to be recorded.
According to Florida Attorney Marc Nurik, because Romney was unaware of the fact that he was being recorded, the person who taped it could face a third degree felony under the two-party consent laws.
Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with news organizations releasing this video. Sure, the person who recorded the video secretly should’ve thought twice before doing so, but once the deed is already done why should the media feel remorse for releasing it?
Voters absolutely have the right to view this content once it has already been recorded.
As an editor, I don’t think I would be the first to publish a story of this magnitude, but I would publish a story about the fact that Mother Jones released the tape. This may be seen as a cop out, but I would just make sure my publication was out of legal fire.