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Romney’s full ’47 percent’ speech goes public

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, September 18, 2012 15:53 EDT
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Republican nominee Mitt Romney, pictured in August 2012, steps off the campaign trail for much of this week as he prepares for next month's crucial debates against Barack Obama, whose Democrats are gathering to re-nominate the president. (AFP Photo/Brendan Smialowski)
 
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Mother Jones magazine said Tuesday that it is “happy to oblige” Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s request that they release the full video of his remarks to a small group of wealthy supporters, in which Romney disparages “47 percent” of the electorate for living off the wealthy.

Snippets of the video, which had been floating around the Internet for weeks, were confirmed as authentic by Mother Jones yesterday, sending the Romney campaign into panic mode. In a hastily organized press conference Monday night, the candidate said his remarks were “not elegantly stated,” but he did not disavow them. “I hope the person who has the video would put out the full material,” he added.

The most damning portion of the footage published Tuesday shows Romney responding to a man who suggests that he needs to “take the gloves off” by making an effort to appeal to “people who read a paper, who read a book, who care about knowing the facts.”

“I have to tell you, I don’t think this will have a significant impact on my electablity,” Romney replies, citing his book and his website as an appeal to intelligent people. “I wish it did. I think our ads will have a much bigger impact. I think the debates will have a big impact.”

He adds: “My dad used to say being right early is not good in politics, and in a setting like this, a highly intellectual discussion of a whole series of important topics typically doesn’t win elections.”

Responding to another questioner who brought up the corrupting influence of corporate dollars in the U.S. government and urged Romney to “clean house” if he’s elected, Romney said: “I wish we weren’t unionized so we could go a lot deeper than you’re actually allowed to go.”

The video also appears to offer even more confirmation that it was recorded by a member of the foodservice staff at the event, which took place at the home of a private equity manager named Mark Leder. At several points in the footage, a waiter’s hand can be seen perched on the tabletop in front of the lens, blocking it from view. The unnamed person later turned over the full footage after being contacted by James Carter IV, a freelance Democratic opposition researcher who happens to be the grandson of President Jimmy Carter.

Leder, a relative unknown outside of the financial world, was cited by The New York Times last year for driving approximately one out of every five companies he owns into bankruptcy, resulting in a run long of layoffs and pension disputes since 2008. He’s also know to have a fondness for hosting lavish sex parties, according to The New York Post, and has long been a strong supporter of Romney’s, who he credits with inspiring his career in private equity.

This video was published to YouTube on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. Part 1:

This video was published to YouTube on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012. Part 2:

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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