Was Romney’s ‘47%’ Gaffe Worse than Obama’s ‘Bitter Clingers’ and ‘Redistribution’ Remarks?
Former Gov. Mitt Romney created a real political mess with his controversial 47% comments made at a private fundraiser that were captured on a secret video, but similar broad-brush comments by President Barack Obama have received far less media scrutiny to date.
Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard points out that “Romney’s statement is wrong in many of its particulars —- the 47 percent [if those who pay no federal income tax] are not all dependent on government, they don’t all think of themselves as victims, and they’re certainly not all Obama supporters.”
However, Romney is not the only political figure to paint with that broad brush or vastly oversimplify on the campaign trail. At a San Francisco fundraiser in 2008 with a bunch of fat cats that were as wealthy as the ones Romney was hanging out with, then-Sen. Obama characterized (or caricatured) small-town or rural voters as follows:
“And it’s not surprising then they get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.”
John Hayward of Human Events sizes up the situation as follows:
Obama’s “bitter clingers” line was far more insulting and contemptuous than anything Romney said, using even the most unfriendly interpretation of Romney’s remarks – which, of course, media analysts will do. They’ll also be happy to play up Romney’s “gaffe” far more than they ever did with Obama. Less than a day later, I would wager Romney’s video has already been screened and quoted more often by mainstream media outlets than Barack Obama’s “bitter clingers” video has been shown over the past four years…
At this point, no Republican candidate should be surprised to learn he has a far smaller margin of error than his Democrat opponent, particularly when the media feels something approaching romantic love for that opponent.
To their credit, some journalists have queried White House and Obama campaign officials about the parallels, if any, between the two candidates’ statements, but the officials have dodged the question.
Moreover, in another speech that could be interpreted as politically adverse, Barack Obama declared at Loyola University back in 1998 that “I actually believe in redistribution.”
Redistribution in general is when the government forcibly takes money from Peter to give to Paul and is most often associated with the socialist model. The 1998 remarks by Obama would not necessarily hold any significance except for the fact that Obama also told “Joe the plumber” in the 2008 presidential campaign that he wanted to “spread the wealth around.”
The agenda-driven mainstream media wants to bury the Romney campaign over this latest gaffe, but a whole slew of polls came out today that shows the presidential race still a dead heat or even Romney with a small lead. Thus far anyway, the electorate is not cooperating with the mainstream media narrative.
Interestingly enough, Legal Insurrection is reporting that 1-2 minutes of Romney’s controversial comments are missing from the audio and video.
That being said, even if you agree with Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard, among many others, that Romney’s comments are “stupid and arrogant,” since a portion of Obama’s constituency (obviously not 47%) is made up of those who benefit from either individual or corporate welfare by gaming the system, was Romney completely wrong in that aspect of his so-called “inelegant” comments caught on the secret video?
Boston Herald columnist Howie Carr addresses this issue head-on:
Mitt Romney’s only mistake was lumping together all of the 47 percent who don’t pay income taxes.
A lot of them are elderly, and many of them are voting for Mitt. And there are some people who work, but just don’t make a lot of money, or who would be working if they weren’t legitimately disabled.
But the indisputable fact is, a huge percentage of Obama’s voters are basically wards of the state. There are millions of them, and they have no intention of voting for anyone who might want them to ever go out and work for a living — “no matter what.”
Watch Barack Obama talk about” bitter clingers” in 2008:
Listen to Barack Obama express a preference for redistribution in 1998:
Do you think that the remarks made by the two presidential candidates are in any way comparable? Do either have any validity?