Romney Vows to Be President for 'the 100 Percent'


Had his father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, been born Mexican rather than having just grown up there with expat U.S. parents, "I'd have a better shot at winning this," Romney quipped to a group of supporters in May. "I mean, I say that jokingly. But it would be helpful to be Latino."

One popular Hispanic politician who will not be at his side is New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, who is not, at this point, scheduled to make any joint appearances with Romney.

Martinez, honorary chairman of the campaign's Hispanic outreach group, has been critical of Romney's comments dismissing 47 percent of the American electorate as freeloaders who would never vote against President Obama.

"We have a lot of people that are at the poverty level in New Mexico, but they count just as much as anybody else," Martinez said during a news conference Tuesday.

She also defended her state's social welfare programs.

"There is a net that does allow them to be caught and taken care of," she said, "whether it be through medical services, whether it be food services, whether it be with funding for apartments, for housing."

On Tuesday, Super PACs pushing for the president's re-election confirmed revealed they'd purchased television time to run ads in six key swing states to put even more focus on the Romney tapes.

Weaving in Romney's more damaging rhetorical flights with images of "middle-class" families and workers, the Priorities USA spot, "Doors," opens with a shot of the lavish Florida mansion that hosted the May 17 fundraiser.

"Behind these doors, Mitt Romney calls half the American people 'dependent on government, who believe they are victims," the narrator intones. Then, cutting to an image of a more modest, suburban home, a warning is delivered: "Behind these doors, middle-class families struggle, and Romney will make things even tougher."

Romney responded to the criticism in a USA Today op-ed published Wednesday morning. There, he appeared to back off his harsh characterization of the "47 percent" of Americans he said don't pay income taxes but continue drawing money from entitlement programs.

"Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency," Romney wrote. "My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility. 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."

The Republican also assailed what he calls the "web of dependency" being sewn by the administration, promising to "pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty."

The promises come in tandem with a revived effort -- Sen. John McCain tried a similar tactic in 2008 -- to paint President Obama as a closet socialist bent on "redistributing" American wealth.

Paul Ryan, the Republican vice presidential nominee, jumped into the fray Tuesday night, telling local news affiliates in the swing states of Nevada, New Hampshire and Virginia that Romney was "obviously inarticulate," but that the underlying theme of the Florida comments was sound.

"The point we're trying to make here is under the Obama economy government dependency is up and economic stagnation is up, and what we're trying to achieve is getting people off of government dependency and back to a job that pays well and gets them onto a path of prosperity," Ryan said during an interview with Joe Hart, from Reno's KRNV.

Speaking to Fox31 in Denver, Ann Romney accused her husband's opponents of misrepresenting his comments.

"I've been on, obviously, on the trail a long time with Mitt and if you listen to the whole context of what Mitt talks about, he is talking about what's happening right now in America and how more and more people are falling into poverty," Ann Romney said.

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