Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu on Tuesday responded to leaked tapes of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney insulting "47 percent" of the country by channeling the assorted villains on the late 1960s cartoon Scooby Doo who said that they "would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids."
In this case, the meddling kid was former President Jimmy Carter's grandson, James Carter IV, who obtained secret recordings of Romney at a May campaign fundraiser in Boca Raton.
During an interview on MSNBC, host Andrea Mitchell asked Sununu, the chair of Romney's national steering committee, to react to Republicans who had blasted the former Massachusetts governor for telling wealthy donors that it wasn't his job to worry about the 47 percent of people who refused to "take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
"You're missing the big story, which is this is in response to a president -- the first president in my lifetime -- who's decided to run a campaign on class warfare," Sununu insisted. "And it's Obama who has opened up the class warfare issue. He attacks success, he says we need to get a hold of more money out of the rich. And he condemns those who have succeeded with 'You didn't build it.' And Mitt Romney quantifies this, the [47 percent] constituency that Obama has been pandering to, both in policy and language as 47-47 and all of the sudden, you guys make that the story."
"And you fall for this idea that by quantifying it as a 47-47 divide to start with, now you got to start parsing all these things," the Romney surrogate added. "The polls are 47-47. That's where the starting point is, and they're battling over the 6 percent in the middle."
"Gov. Romney was not talking about the polls," Mitchell pointed out. "He was talking about the 47 [percent of people who don't make enough to pay income tax]. We know it came from Erick Erickson. We know that this has been a repeated theme."
"Ninety percent of the taxes in America are paid by people with adjusted gross income of $66,000 or more," Sununu explained. "And what Mitt Romney is saying is that these people in that range are not the rich, that those people in that range are the people that are in the auto industry that Obama is so thrilled to tell us he saved, they are the people that are in manufacturing, they're the people in the information technology jobs. $66,000 adjusted gross income doesn't make you rich."
"Gov. Sununu, if Mitt Romney had said that in that fundraiser in Boca Raton we would not be having this conversation today and he would not be facing what many would say is a meltdown," the MSNBC host noted.
"No!" Sununu shot back. "If Jimmy Carter's grandson hadn't snuck this stuff out, you wouldn't be having this conversation today. You ought to be talking about class warfare and this president nurtures it all the time!"
Watch this video from MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell Reports, broadcast Sept. 18, 2012.