Prouty said that he had no expectations of Romney the night of the $50,000-per-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton, Florida. He assumed that the conservative presidential candidate would stick to the script; but Romney, unable to ignore the siren call of playing to the supportive elite crowd, said the statement that would be heard around the world.
“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 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. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”
“My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
As explosive as the 47 percent remarks were, that is not what “tripped [Prouty's] trigger,” according to Schultz. Listening to Romney speak nonchalantly about visiting a Chinese factory that he invested in with deplorable working conditions for Chinese women led him to the conclusion that he would show just as little concern for America workers.
After agonizing about what to do with the video, Prouty (@AnneOnymous670), through research assistant James Carter (grandson of Jimmy Carter), approached Mother Jones’ David Corn, noted for his integrity and journalism– and the rest is history.
After initially doubling down on the statements, Romney did a furious back-pedal while speaking with FOX News’ Sean Hannity. He admitted that he was “completely wrong” about negatively stereotyping 47 percent of Americans, but stopped a long distance from an apology:
“Clearly in a campaign with hundreds if not thousands of speeches and question-and-answer sessions, now and then you say something [that] doesn’t come out right,” Romney said. “In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong.”
“When I become president it will be about helping the 100 percent,” he assured Hannity.
But, alas, it would be too late. Romney would go on to a crushing electoral college defeat (332-206) against President Obama and, ironically, win only 47 percent of the popular vote.
Read Corn’s account of one of the most riveting stories in American politics at Mother Jones.