Did Mitt Romney Just Kill His Chances? [Election 2012]

With less than 50 days until the presidential election, neither Obama nor Romney can afford to make mistakes. They must carefully think about every word that comes out of their mouths, especially when speaking candidly and without a prepared speech.
This exact type of mistake was revealed Monday by Mother Jones magazine. The magazine released a video on its website of Mitt Romney speaking at a fundraiser in May. I suggest you watch the video (it’s only about a minute!) to hear what was actually said. In the video, Mitt Romney is seen answering a question (we’re not sure exactly what the question was) characterizing 47% of Americans as immovable Obama voters because they are “dependent” on the government. The video has been heavily criticized as extremely offensive, exactly the type of criticism Mitt Romney cannot afford this far into the race.
Most liberal commentators are taking this video as yet another reason not to vote for Romney because they feel that his comments only further illustrate the fact that he is out of touch with the majority of Americans, the “47%.” On the other hand, conservative commentators are looking to justify what was said through fact checking and further explanation. Conservative news sites have been trying to show that Mitt Romney’s words were, in fact, true.
To be honest, I can understand both sides to this story. Yes, Mitt Romney has long been criticized for being detached from the lower class and seeming too stiff or impersonal. This criticism is definitely not mitigated by Romney’s comments at his fundraiser in May. His words made 47% of Americans look like moochers that don’t work. Tip: offending 47% of the country = bad idea. This statement not only offends people that would automatically vote for Obama, however. Republicans — Romney supporters — are included in this percentage. This presents an issue because, as a result of this statement, Romney has succeeded in upsetting not only Obama supporters but also supporters of his own campaign.
On the other hand, I can understand the conservative side. Mitt Romney said that 47% of the country is dependent on the government. As soon as I heard this, I immediately got to fact checking. While I was not able to find exactly this number, I did find a New York Times article stating that 18% of Americans rely on the government. Mitt Romney was right that a significant portion of our country relies on the government, although his “facts” significantly overstated the percentage.
Despite this, I can see some truth in Romney’s words. He was trying to explain (rather awkwardly) that no matter what he does, voters that benefit from Obama’s welfare benefits are not going to vote for Romney. It’s a very simple truth. Why would someone that benefits from the safety net created by Obama vote for Romney when they know he plans to take it away? As simple as this is, Romney explained it in a way that made it seem extremely offensive.
People–even our presidential candidates–make mistakes. In this case Romney made the mistake of being insensitive, however I’m not sure if this will mark the end of his political career. I was surprised, actually, to read that in a recent CNBC poll, 75% of people agreed with Mitt Romney’s statement. On the other hand, Romney’s words are offensive for a large majority of our country that feel they are working hard but still struggling. Whether Romney’s mistake will be a major setback for his chances in the election, I don’t know, but I’m curious to see how it affects the polls in the coming weeks.
Do you think Romney’s statement ruins his chances for November? Disagree with anything I have to say? Tell me in the comments!
Ashley is a sophomore majoring in International Affairs with a minor in English. Each week, Ashley will be discussing current events involving the upcoming presidential election. Check in every week to find out what’s going on in the election world and read one college girl’s opinion on the issues!
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