This is going to be mostly a link dump with little commentary, because I have a lot of news to share and I’m still tired from last night.
Yesterday was a day that will very likely go down in presidential campaign history along with the day Mike Dukakis posed for photos wearing a silly-looking helmet and riding in a tank. In a series of surreptitiously recorded videos/audios, we heard the real Mitt Romney–a man who truly believes that he and other wealthy people got where there are on merit alone and that those pathetic Americans who are not so “successful” are worthless, lazy drones who have the nerve to think we are entitled to food, shelter, health care.
Late last night, Romney finally responded to the firestorm over the leaked videos at a hastily called press availability. He looked desperate–his hair mussed and bags under his eyes, his expression sheepish yet defiant, but he stood by his statement at the May 2012 fundraiser that 47% of Americans are dependent on the government and pay no taxes.
For your reading pleasure, I’ve gathered some of the media reactions to yesterday’s stunning events, but before I get to those, there’s even more from David Corn this morning. After yesterday’s big scoop and his appearances on MSNBC last night, Corn released another episode from the Romney fundraiser bootleg videos: SECRET VIDEO: On Israel, Romney Trashes Two-State Solution
During the freewheeling conversation, a donor asked Romney how the “Palestinian problem” can be solved. Romney immediately launched into a detailed reply, asserting that the Palestinians have “no interest whatsoever in establishing peace, and that the pathway to peace is almost unthinkable to accomplish.”
Romney spoke of “the Palestinians” as a united bloc of one mindset, and he said: “I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there’s just no way.”
Romney was indicating he did not believe in the peace process and, as president, would aim to postpone significant action: “[S]o what you do is, you say, you move things along the best way you can. You hope for some degree of stability, but you recognize that this is going to remain an unsolved problem…and we kick the ball down the field and hope that ultimately, somehow, something will happen and resolve it.”
Romney did note there was another perspective on this knotty matter. He informed his donors that a former secretary of state—he would not say who—had told him there was “a prospect for a settlement between the Palestinians and the Israelis.” Romney recalled that he had replied, “Really?” Then he added that he had not asked this ex-secretary of state for further explanation.
Video at the Mother Jones link.
Also at Mother Jones, a list of likely guests at the Romney fund-raiser.
Joe Coscarelli at New York Magazine: How Jimmy Carter’s Grandson Helped Leak the Secret Romney Fund-raiser Video
The damning video of Mitt Romney telling a room of wealthy donors how he really feels about the freeloading 47 percent of Americans “who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,” among other candid things, has been floating around online in bits and pieces for three months, but didn’t hit the big time until it was published by David Corn at Mother Jones today. Credited as a “research assistant” on the story is James Carter IV, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter, who has been toiling online as an opposition researcher and is “currently looking for work,” according to his Twitter bio. “I’ve been searching for clips on Republicans for a long time, almost every day,” said Carter this evening. “I just do it for fun.” But by connecting Corn with the mysterious uploader of the clip, Carter has uncovered his biggest story yet, one that could potentially affect the outcome of the election. (And get him a job.)
Carter told Daily Intel that he first noticed a portion of the video in which Romney discusses using Chinese labor while working at Bain Capital. That clip, uploaded by a YouTube user named “RomneyExposed” in late May, and then again in late August by an account called “Rachel Maddow” that has since been deleted, eventually made it to Buzzfeed and Daily Kos.*
Additional pieces of the tape were then added to a YouTube account called “Anne Onymous” starting three weeks ago. “There was a minor uproar about it on Twitter when I found [the first clip], so I kept doing research on it and that eventually led me to be able to narrow down who it originated from,” said Carter. Via Twitter, he contacted the person who claimed to have secretly taped and uploaded the video, and then sought to help publicize the remarks. “That seemed to be the purpose of [the filming] — to get it to a larger audience,” Carter said.
Now for those reactions…
Charles Pierce: The Worst Thing Romney Has Said About Americans Yet
Chris Cillizza: Mitt Romney’s Darkest Hour. Chris transmits what is probably the reaction of most Villagers–that the videos are just a distraction and won’t spell the end of Romney presidential campaign.
Jonathan Chait finally faces the reality that Romney is not a moderate Rockefeller Republican: The Real Romney Captured on Tape Turns Out to Be a Sneering Plutocrat
The New Republic staff: Three things we learned from the secret Romney video.
Right wing nut blogger Erick Erickson announced that he has given up on Romney winning the election.
Dave Wiegel: We Are the 47%: The Lousy Math Behind Romney’s Gaffe
Brad Plummer at the Wonkblog: Mitt Romney versus the 47%. Plummer explains why Romney is wrong about half of Americans being shiftless louts who contribute nothing to society.
David Graham at the Atlantic: Where Are the 47% of Americans Who Pay No Income Taxes?
Ben Smith at Buzzfeed: The Long Strange Leak Of Mitt Romney’s 47% Video
The Guardian: Mitt Romney ‘victims’ gaffe: key players
In Other News…
The Nation: What’s Behind the U.S. Embassy Protests in Egypt
WaPo: US Aid to Egypt Stalled
Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about today?
This freak-out by Peter King under pressure from Soledad O’Brien is must-see TV. I’m surprised he didn’t have apoplexy trying to defend the imaginary“apology tour” meme originated by Karl Rove. I thought I’d put it on the front page, in case everyone hasn’t seen it yet.
Here’s the transcript, thanks to Think Progress.
O’BRIEN: Never once in that speech, as you know, which I have the speech right here. that was — he never once used the word “apology.” He never once said “I’m sorry.”
KING: Didn’t have to. The logical — any logical reading of that speech or the speech he gave in France where he basically said that the United States can be too aggressive. […]
O’BRIEN: Everybody keeps talking about this apology tour and apologies from the President. I’m trying to find the words ‘I’m sorry, I apologize’ in any of those speeches. Which I have the text of all those speeches in front of me. None of those speeches at all, if you go to factcheck.org which we check in a lot, they all say the same thing. They fact check this and they say this whole theory of apologies…
KING: I don’t care what fact check says.
O’BRIEN: There are fact checks. You may not care, but they’re a fact checker.
KING: No. Soledad. Any commonsense interpretation of those speeches, the president’s apologizing for the American position. That’s the apology tour. That’s the way it’s interpreted in the Middle East. If I go over and say that the U.S. has violated its principles, that the United States has not shown respect for islam, that’s an apology. How else can it be interpreted?
O’BRIEN: I think plenty of people are interpreting it as a nuanced approach to diplomacy is how some people are interpreting it. So I don’t think that everybody agrees it’s apology.
A couple more news updates:
According to Dave Wiegel, speechwriter Matthew Scully, whose draft of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech was tossed out by Stuart Stevens and Romney may be the main person behind the “backbiting” that is all over the media today. Wiegel:
My friend and former colleague Tim Noah was the first, I think, to notice that you can’t cross Republican speechwriter Matthew Scully. In 1993, after the George H.W. Bush administration ended, Scully revealed that the president “trusted the wrong people.” In 2007, as the second Bush ediface collapsed, Scully wrote an Atlantic tell-all about the administration’s fumbles. Scully dropped so many dimes on Michael Gerson that the floppy-haired speechwriter could have bought a java chip Frappucino. “At the precise moment when the State of the Union address was being drafted at the White House by John and me,” wrote Scully, “Mike was off pretending to craft the State of the Union address in longhand for the benefit of a reporter.”
In Scullyworld, every Republican has the makings of greatness until he’s undone by bad staffers who — in his one, telling character flaw — he’s unwilling to sack.
David Corn has the leaked videos from that fund-raiser Romney thought was private and off the record!
One of the leaked videos from a Romney fund-raiser that I wrote about on Saturday night, has been posted at HuffPo, along with the news that the source of the videos has turned over the original, unedited version to David Corn of Mother Jones. And what do you know? Corn has already posted his reactions, along with additional quotes from the devastating video.
During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don’t assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them. Fielding a question from a donor about how he could triumph in November, Romney replied:
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.
Romney went on: “[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
There is much, much more at the link. I wonder how this will go over with working- and middle-class voters when it appears in their local newspapers?
This is an open thread!
About a month ago, I saw a supposed “leaked video” of Mitt Romney at a private fund-raiser. There were a series of clips from the speech posted on You tube. I can’t recall now where I first learned about this, but at the time, bloggers were saying that it wasn’t confirmed that the audio was actually Romney, although the voice and content sound exactly like him. The earliest new link I can find is this one from August 27 at Shanghaiist.com. The video was also reportedly shown to employees of Sensata, the company in Illinois that is currently being destroyed by Bain Capital.
Suddenly today, the videos are turning up in posts from “respectable” bloggers. Ezra Klein highlights the first one I saw: Romney discussing working conditions at a Chinese factory he toured when he was at Bain Capital.
Klein uses this to argue that Romney was admitting that if you live in the U.S., you’re born with a leg up. In other words, “you didn’t build that.” Klein got the video from Political Wire. I’m not sure why these blogs are posting the videos now when they have been on You Tube for awhile. Have they been authenticated?
A number of these “leaked videos” are posted at the You Tube site of “Anne Onymous.”
Here is another really offensive one in which “Romney” talks angrily about people who vote for Obama as being “dependent on the government” and feeling “entitled to health care, food, and housing.” Listen to how his voice rises in outrage at the notion of people thinking they should not have to starve, die of untreated disease, or live on the street.
In other clips, “Romney” explains why the campaign is using Ann “sparingly,” makes a crude joke about immigration, says he doesn’t want to leave anything to his grandchildren, claims he didn’t inherit anything, admits he was born “with a silver spoon,” and more. In one, “Romney” says “I wish we weren’t unionized. We could go a lot deeper than you’re allowed to go.” What’s that about–wages, benefits? A few of the clips have video, some only audio.
Personally, I’m convinced the voice is Romney’s. But where was the recording made? Or is it a hoax? Check out the videos/audios and see what you think.
UPDATE: The Boston Globe referenced the “purported” Chinese worker video in a story today on Romney’s investments in China. Evidently their reporters had little doubt the voice was Romney’s. I’ve posted some quotes in the comment thread.