News for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

In Fox Interview, Romney Doubles Down On '47 Percent' Comments

"This is a message I'm carrying day in and day out and will carry over the coming months."

That's what Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney just told Fox News about the controversial comments he made to a group of high-dollar donors. The video was made public by Mother Jones magazine and they have caused an uproar, because Romney said that the 47 percent of Americans who don't pay taxes and feel entitled and see themselves as "victims" will never vote for him.

"I do believe that we should have enough jobs and enough take-home pay such that people have the privilege of higher incomes that allow them to be paying taxes," he told Fox's Neil Cavuto. "I think people would like to be paying taxes."

Romney didn't apologize for the comments, instead he doubled down, saying that his opponent, President Barack Obama, believes in "redistributing wealth," while "we believe in free people and free enterprise."

Democrats "believe you have to take from some and give to others. I don't believe in that," he said, repeating the same theme.

"I believe America was built on the principle of government caring for those in need but getting out of the way and allowing free people to pursue their dreams," Romney said. "Free people pursing free enterprises is the only way we'll create a strong and growing middle class and the only way we'll help people out of poverty."

In essence, Romney did not deviate from what he said during a news conference in Costa Mesa, Calif. last night, when he said that his comments were "not elegantly stated."

Update at 5:24 p.m. ET. The Messaging:

In the interview with Fox, Romney says on more than one occasion that this video brings up the fact that this election is about a decision between two different views of the United States: One party wants bigger government, the other wants smaller.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, tipped his hand on what the messaging will be in the following days. Priebus pointed a piece of audio purported to be from President Obama in 1998.

In it, Obama is talking about how government has gotten a bad rap and how they need to rehabilitate it.

"My suggestion, I guess, would be that the trick — and this is one of the few areas I think that there are technical issues that need to be dealt with as opposed to just political issues — I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources, and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody has got a shot," Obama said.

Pointing to the Romney interview, Priebus tweets: "Gov @MittRomney is SPOT ON – We must create wealth not redistribute it!"

Update at 4:32 p.m. ET. Audio Of The Interview:

Here's audio of the interview, courtesy of Reuters' Producer Matthew.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.