The Washington Times - September 18, 2012, 08:01AM

A senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign admitted Tuesday that Mr. Romney’s widely-circulated comments at a fundraiser appearing to denigrate President Obama’s supporters were not articulate, but argued he was speaking from a political standpoint, not a policy one.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Mr. Romney told a small group of wealthy donors in a video, which was recorded at some point after he won the GOP primary and released by the liberal magazine Mother Jones. “All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”


He added, “And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. [M]y job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Bay Buchanan, a senior adviser to the campaign, said Tuesday that “he’s talking politics — he’s analyzing the voter base.”

“Clearly as president, he is extremely concerned — his whole policy is designed to help those people move back into the middle class or get into the middle class if they haven’t been there before, and so they can start paying taxes as well,” she said on CNN’s “Starting Point.”

“As a candidate, he can’t worry about those he can’t get,” Ms. Buchanan continued. “In order to turn this middle class around, part of his proposal is a 20 percent across-the-board income tax cut, so what he’s saying is, that message is not going to appeal in this campaign to those who don’t pay income tax … this is a campaign analysis.”

Ms. Buchanan echoed some of the remarks Mr. Romney made at a hastily-arranged news conference Monday night, when he said he was talking about “the political process of drawing people into my own campaign. Of course, people are going to take responsibility for their lives. My campaign is about helping people take more responsibility and becoming employed again, particularly those who don’t have work.”

Mr. Romney said the remarks were not “elegantly stated,” saying he was speaking “off the cuff in response to a question.”

“At a fund-raiser you have people say, “Governor, how are you going to win this?” he continued. “And so I respond well, the president has his group, I have my group — I want to keep my team strong and motivated, and I want to get those people in the middle, that’s something which fund-raising people who are parting with their monies are very interested in knowing: Can you win or not, and that’s what this was addressing.”

Mr. Obama’s campaign immediately seized on the remarks.

“It’s shocking that a candidate for president of the United States would go behind closed doors and declare to a group of wealthy donors that half the American people view themselves as ‘victims,’ entitled to handouts, and are unwilling to take ‘personal responsibility’ for their lives,” said Obama campaign manager Jim Messina. “It’s hard to serve as president for all Americans when you’ve disdainfully written off half the nation.”

“It was inarticulate, I admit,” Ms. Buchanan said.