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Romney: No regrets

Romney has an op-ed in USA Today, entitled, “Romney: I'll deliver recovery, not dependency.” Romney doesn’t express a hint of regret in his comments about 47 percent – or expressly comment on them at all. Instead, he says, “Since our founding, America has promoted personal responsibility, the dignity of work and the value of education. Those values made our nation the hope of the earth and our economy the envy of the world.”

And claims: “Government has a role to play here. Right now, our nation's citizens do need help from government. But it is a very different kind of help than what President Obama wants to provide.”

But USA Today’s editorial page counters with this (in a link that’s just below the first paragraph of Romney’s op-ed): “Romney's 47 percenters blur facts, message.” “[A]s is too often the case with the Republican presidential candidate, he muddles things up. He confuses the 47% who pay no income taxes with the 49% who get government benefits. And he conflates both groups with supporters of President Obama. In fact, the three groups overlap only in parts, like rings of the Olympic logo. Those who pay no federal income taxes are not made up exclusively of those Romney derides as dependent on government and lacking in personal responsibility. They include millions of senior citizens and low-skilled workers who consider themselves neither victims nor entitled to anything. …

“But what might be most troubling about Romney's strivers-vs.-moochers formulation is how he unnecessarily personalized a debate that should be about policy. Rather than criticizing a string of laws that has shielded too many adults from the obligation of paying federal income taxes, he disparages the non-payers themselves — apparently for the sin of complying with the law. That presents a rich irony, because Romney has defended his own low tax rates (of 14% on $21.6 million in 2010, much less than the top rate of 35%) by saying that he was fully in compliance with the law, and that Americans should pay only what's required.”

“Crisis communications experts from both sides of the aisle, as well as longtime Republican strategists, say Romney's comments that 47% of Americans would vote for President Obama because they are ‘dependent on the government’ and ‘believe that they are victims’ have been made worse by the campaign's clumsy response on a day when the goal was to get back on message,” USA Today writes.

Mark McKinnon: "The tape makes it harder to defend Romney and harder to support him.”

McKinnon in a column in the Daily Beast: “Mitt Romney is running out of time, and voters like me are running out of patience. I’ve been giving Romney the benefit of the doubt, assuming that at some point during this campaign he would reveal some things about himself that would give me some insight into who he really is and what drives him. And that I would be compelled to support him. … Well, the release of the Romney tape was a moment that certainly revealed something about him. But not what I was hoping for. Just the opposite. It reveals a deeply cynical man, who sees the country as completely divided, as two completely different sets of people, and who would likely govern in a way that would only further divide us.”  He also says Romney’s view is “a long way from the compassionate conservatism that welcomed more Americans into the Republican Party under President George W. Bush. … How can anyone support a candidate with this kind of a vision of the country?”

More: “[N]ow I honestly don’t know what Romney can do to win support from the voters he needs to gain a majority. I thought the debates would be an opportunity, but he has dug his hole so deeply now, I don’t know if he can pull himself out. Does he get up and say, ‘I was just kidding. I don’t see half of America as victims. I just needed to raise some money, and I got a little carried away talking to the 1 percent.’ I loved Michelle Obama’s line in her speech: ‘A presidency reveals who you are.’ So do campaigns. And mark me down as one Republican not happy with what is being revealed about Mitt Romney.”

“Mitt Romney painted an inaccurate portrait of the ‘47 percent of Americans [who] pay no income tax,’” the Boston Globe writes, adding, “Romney’s statistic accurately approximates the percentage of US households that do not pay federal income taxes. But he went on to suggest that this 47 percent relies on government help and refuses to ‘take personal responsibility’ — an assertion that ignores the fact that most of these households pay payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare and some are service members in combat zones. … And contrary to Romney’s assertion that these are ‘people who will vote for the president no matter what,’ many Americans who pay no federal income taxes are members of important Republican voting blocs — including seniors and residents of the Bible Belt.”

Here’s a Boston Globe graphic of who pays what and where they live.

“Romney several times on Tuesday referenced a 1998 video clip that surfaced just before his Fox interview, which shows Obama, then an Illinois state senator, advocating for helping the poor through ‘redistribution,’” the Boston Globe writes. “ ‘The trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution,’ Obama says in the clip, to which the conservative website the Drudge Report posted a link. ‘Because I actually­ believe in redistribution — at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody’s got a shot.’”

AP: “Who says Mitt Romney doesn't worry much about the very poor? That he believes corporations are people, too? That his wife drives two Cadillacs? Romney himself, that's who. When it comes to portraying the Republican nominee as an uncaring, out-of-touch rich guy, he's his own worst enemy, offering up a bonanza for Democratic attack ads.”

First, it was Linda McMahon (R-CT) separating herself from Romney, now another Northeastern Republican running for the Senate is, too. Scott Brown: "That's not the way I view the world," the GOP senator said in a statement. "As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in."

The Boston Globe points out about Brown: that he “shares top political strategists with Romney.”

“Mitt Romney's secretly taped comments that Middle East peace ‘is almost unthinkable’ and that the Palestinians have ‘no interest whatsoever’ in peace are also drawing criticism from the White House,” USA Today writes.

“Romney’s remark triggered rebukes from Palestinian leaders, and the video overall continued to reverberate across the political world,” the Boston Globe writes.