The latest pro-Obama attack ad from the unions rips a quote from Mitt Romney’s “47% video” completely out of context:
The ads quotes a guy who picks up trash in Romney’s La Jolla neighborhood. He claims Romney doesn’t care about him. Then it shows Romney saying: “And so my job is not to worry about those people.”
OK, we’re going over old ground here, but let’s do it anyway.
As I’m sure all of you remember, the full context of the “47%” interchange has nothing to do with whether Romney would “care” about people like this guy. Romney was asked how he would get people to take care of themselves. Romney’s message in response was twofold: 1) responding to the part of the question directed at electoral strategy, and 2) dismissing the part of the question that implies he has a duty (or the ability) to convince freeloaders to take care of themselves. Here is the full context:
Audience member: For the last three years, all everybody’s been told is, “Don’t worry, we’ll take care of you.” How are you going to do it, in two months before the elections, to convince everybody you’ve got to take care of yourself?
Romney: 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. And I mean, the president starts off with 48, 49, 48—he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax. So our message of low taxes doesn’t connect. And he’ll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean that’s what they sell every four years. And 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 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what it looks like. I mean, when you ask those people…we do all these polls—I find it amazing—we poll all these people, see where you stand on the polls, but 45 percent of the people will go with a Republican, and 48 or 4…
Romney is saying: in this election, when I am seeking out votes, my job is not to seek votes from people who will never vote for me anyway. Nor is my job to preach personal responsibility to people who care nothing for the concept. My job in this election is to persuade the people in the center. Period.
To imply that he would not “care” about this American or any other as President is a completely different proposition entirely. And the people who made this ad know it.
The ad is an insult to honesty.
I await the fact-checkers with their Pinocchios and such, to tell us that this ad completely ignores the context. I’ll be holding my breath in the corner . . . turning blue.
Thanks, again, to dana.
UPDATE: And thanks to commenter, er, “BABY GLOCK,” for pointing us to this National Review piece by Charles C.W. Cooke that puts the nail in this coffin:
Get the sledgehammer message? Mitt Romney doesn’t understand! Romney could have no idea about quotidien things such as trash collection because his wealth and detachment prevent him from having to know what life is like for blue-collar workers such as Mr. Hayes.
There’s just one problem with this, and it lies on page 251 of Mitt Romney’s book, No Apology:
During my campaign for governor, I decided to spend a day every few weeks doing the jobs of other people in Massachusetts. Among other jobs, I cooked sausages at Fenway Park, worked on asphalt paving crew, stacked bales of hay on a farm, volunteered in an emergency room, served food at a nursing home, and worked as a child-care assistant. I’m often asked which was the hardest job – it’s child care, by a mile.
One day I gathered trash as a garbage collector. I stood on that little platform at the back of the truck, holding on as the driver navigated his way through the narrow streets of Boston. As we pulled up to traffic lights, I noticed that the shoppers and businesspeople who were standing only a few feet from me didn’t even see me. It was as if I was invisible. Perhaps it was because a lot of us don’t think garbage men are worthy of notice; I disagree – anyone who works that hard deserves our respect. – I wasn’t a particularly good garbage collector: at one point, after filling the trough at the back of the truck, I pulled the wrong hydraulic lever. Instead of pushing the load into the truck, I dumped it onto the street. Maybe the suits didn’t notice me, but the guys at the construction site sure did: “Nice job, Mitt,” they called. “Why don’t you find an easier job?” And then they good-naturedly came down and helped me pick up my mess.
Here’s Romney working as a garbage collector: