Romney says remarks help clarify position

Mitt Romney on Tuesday fully embraced the substance of his secretly recorded comments that 47 percent of Americans are too dependent on government

Written by New York Times | New York | Published:September 20, 2012 12:56 am

JIM RUTENBERG & ASHLEY PARKER

Mitt Romney on Tuesday fully embraced the substance of his secretly recorded comments that 47 percent of Americans are too dependent on government,saying that his views helped define the philosophical choice for voters in his campaign against President Obama.

“The president’s view is one of a larger government; I disagree,” Romney said in an interview on Fox News. “I think a society based on a government-centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role,redistributes money,that’s the wrong course for America.”

The comments were Romney’s attempt to find some benefit in the political furour after the disclosure of statements he made at a closed fund-raiser in Florida in May,where he spoke of nearly half of Americans who pay no federal income taxes and,in his analysis,would never vote for him.

Romney,who on Monday called the remarks inelegant,suggested on Tuesday that it was time for a full debate about dependency,entitlements and what his campaign characterized as a long history of Obama’s support for “redistributionist” policies.

But despite the effort by Romney to take the offensive,his campaign spent the day working to keep the episode from becoming a turning point in a campaign that until now has remained neck and neck,and trying to minimize the damage from the disclosure of another set of remarks from the fund-raiser,in which he suggested that a two-state solution for peace between the Israelis and Palestinians — longstanding United States policy — was not feasible.

Two Republican Senate candidates in hard-fought races in the Democratic territory of the Northeast,Senator Scott P Brown of Massachusetts and Linda McMahon of Connecticut,disavowed the remarks. “Not the way I view the world,” Brown said; “I disagree,” McMahon said.

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