CAP en Español
Small CAP Banner

Romney Needs the 47 Percent

Gov. Mitt Romney

SOURCE: AP/Charles Dharapak

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to reporters in Costa Mesa, California, Monday, September 17, 2012.

  • print icon
  • SHARE:
  • Facebook icon
  • Twitter icon
  • Share on Google+
  • Email icon

Read the full column (CAP Action)

Gov. Mitt Romney’s secretly recorded comments regarding the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay federal income tax have garnered a wide variety of reactions from across the country.  Many are upset with his allegation that such people have a sense of entitlement or that they view themselves as victims. Some point out that the statistic is grossly misleading because it excludes payroll taxes and that low- and middle-income families often pay state and local taxes at a higher percentage rate of income than wealthier families. Others, such as Rep. Allen West (R-FL), say the statistic is proof we are “moving toward economic dependence instead of economic freedom.”

But what surprises me the most about the comments is what they seem to say about the former Massachusetts governor’s understanding of his own base and the people he must depend on to win his race for president:

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that 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. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. …

Our message of low taxes doesn’t connect … so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the five to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful.

If one simply looks at the Electoral College, the states upon which Gov. Romney is attempting to build an electoral majority are not more affluent than the states likely to support President Obama. In fact the numbers are quite the contrary.

Read the full column (CAP Action)

To speak with our experts on this topic, please contact:

Print: Liz Bartolomeo (poverty, health care)
202.481.8151 or

Print: Tom Caiazza (foreign policy, energy and environment, LGBT issues, gun-violence prevention)
202.481.7141 or

Print: Allison Preiss (economy, education)
202.478.6331 or

Print: Tanya Arditi (immigration, Progress 2050, race issues, demographics, criminal justice, Legal Progress)
202.741.6258 or

Print: Chelsea Kiene (women's issues,, faith)
202.478.5328 or

Print: Benton Strong (Center for American Progress Action Fund)
202.481.8142 or

Spanish-language and ethnic media: Jennifer Molina
202.796.9706 or

TV: Rachel Rosen
202.483.2675 or

Radio: Sally Tucker
202.481.8103 or