Reacting to Mitt Romney's secretely taped comments in which he said 47 percent of voters believe "they are victims" and would cast their ballots for President Obama "no matter what," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney today said, "When you're president of the United States, you are president of all the people, not just the people who voted for you."
"The president certainly doesn't think that men and women on Social Security are irresponsible or victims, that students aren't responsible or are victims. He certainly doesn't think that middle-class families are paying too little in taxes," Carney told reporters of the president's reaction. "The broader point that you always hear him make is that … we need to come together as a country. We need to work together for what's best for the country and best for especially the middle- class, which is the backbone of this nation."
The White House downplayed comparisons between Romney's remarks and the president's comments in 2008 that rural voters "get bitter, they cling to their guns or religion."
"Then-Sen. Obama never said that he did not worry about or would not worry about 47 percent of the population," Carney said of Obama's 2008 comment, which was also said at a private event and later leaked to the press.
"I think that happened four years ago and was discussed in abundance at the time," Carney said. "What the president said four years ago, what he said eight years ago, what he says today and what he said ever since he took office here is that he's fighting for every American, that he firmly believes that as a nation, we're all in this together, that what unites us is far stronger and greater than what divides us, that we're not red America and blue America; we're the United States of America… it's been the guiding philosophy and principle behind the policy decisions he's made."
The Obama campaign has called Romney's remarks "shocking" and today released a web video in which it asks Americans to watch and respond to what Romney said.
"I actually felt sick to my stomach," one woman said.
"It shows that he's out of touch if he thinks half the country are feeling like victims," said another.
In comments to donors at a private fundraiser that was secretely videotaped and later made public by Mother Jones magazine, Romney said, "All right, there are 47 percent who are with him [Obama], 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.
"My job is not to worry about those people," Romney continued. "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Carney said that although President Obama was aware of Romney's comments, he did not know if the president had seen the leaked videos.