Top 13 Quotes in Mitt Romney's Leaked Fundraiser Video
Lamenting his non-Latino dad, dissing "SNL" prove fair game at Romney's event.
Sept. 18, 2012 -- intro: Clandestinely taped video footage of Mitt Romney talking to high-dollar campaign donors dropped like a smoke bomb into the presidential race this week, clouding the conversation and feeding into his opponent's attack lines.
The video shows Romney unscripted, for the most part unedited and, as he described it, not speaking "elegantly."
The left-leaning news site Mother Jones posted footage Monday of most of Romney's speech at a $50,000-a-plate fundraising dinner in Boca Raton, Fla., in May.
Here's a rundown -- from the controversial statements to the quirky jokes -- of what Romney told his well-to-do donors during this closed-door fundraiser:
quicklist: 12title: On (Not) Being Latinotext: Quote - "Had he [Romney's dad] been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this."
Context - "My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico. And had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this (laughter).
"But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there a number of years, and I mean I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino."
quicklist: 1title: On Why He Turned Down 'Saturday Night Live' text: Quote- "'Saturday Night Live' has the potential of looking slap-stick and not presidential."
Context - "I was asked to go on 'Saturday Night Live.' I did not do that in part because you want to show that you're fun and you're a good person, but ... you also want to be presidential, and 'Saturday Night Live' has the potential of looking slap-stick and not presidential.
"But 'The View' is fine. Although "The View" is high-risk because of the five women on it. Although one is conservative and the four are sharp-tongued and not conservative, Whoopi Goldberg in particular. Although last time I was on the show she said to me, 'You know what, I think I could vote for you.' And I said I must have done something really wrong."
quicklist: 2title: On His Wife, Anntext: Quote- "We use Ann sparingly right now so that people don't get tired of her."
Context- "You will see more of her in the September, October time frame. And, you know, we had, what was her name, Hilary Rosen who attacked her, and that made Ann much more visible to the American people, which I think is very helpful. Gave her a platform she wouldn't have had otherwise. ... I think she will be extraordinarily helpful."
quicklist: 11title: On the 47 Percenttext: Quote- "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.""
Context- "I mean the president starts off with 47, 48, 49, he starts off with a huge number. These are people who pay no income taxes. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income taxes.
"So our message of tax cuts doesn't connect. He'll be out there talking about tax cuts for the rich. I mean, that's what they sell every four years.
"So my job is not to worry about those people, I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives. What I have to do is convince the 5 to 10 percent in the center that are independents that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon in some cases emotion, whether they like the guy or not, what he looks like."
quicklist: 4title: On Forkstext: Quote- "I want to taste this by the way. Let me show you how it's done: You take this (holds up a forkful of food) with your fork (puts food in mouth) and you put it in (laughter). That's good."
Context- Romney interrupted a campaign donor who was asking a question about Iraq for this fork lesson.
quicklist: 5title: On Americans Not Caring About Foreign Policytext: Quote- "The American people are not concentrated at all upon China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq."
Context- "One of the things that is frustrating to me is that in a typical day like this I do three or four events like this, the number of foreign policy questions I get is between zero and one. And the American people are not concentrated at all upon China, on Russia, Iran, Iraq.
"This president's failure to put in place a status-of-forces agreement allowing 10,000 to 20,000 troops to stay in Iraq -- unthinkable! And in that election, in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we had hostages in Iran, I mean that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crashing in the desert. I mean, that was the focus and so him solving that made all the difference in the world."
quicklist: 3title: On Silver Spoonstext: Quote- "Frankly, I was born with a silver spoon."
Context- "I say that because there is the perception that oh you were born with a silver spoon, you know, you never had to earn anything and so forth and, and frankly I was born with a silver spoon, which is the greatest gift you could have, which is to get born in America. I'll tell ya, there is—95 percent of life is set up for you if you're born in this country."
quicklist: 14title: On His (Lack of) Inheritancetext: Quote- "I have inherited nothing. Everything Ann and I have we have earned the old-fashioned way."
Context- By the way, but my dad and Ann's dad did quite well in their lives but when they came to the end of their lives and passed along the inheritances to Ann and to me we both decided to give it all away. So I have inherited nothing. Everything Ann and I have we have earned the old fashioned way.
quicklist: 6title:On Obama's Foreign Policytext: Quote- "The president's foreign policy, in my opinion, is formed in part by a perception he has that his magnetism and his charm and his persuasiveness is so compelling that he can sit down with people like Putin and Chavez and Ahmadinejad, and they'll find we're such wonderful people that they'll go on with us. And they'll stop doing bad things."
Context- "And it's an extraordinarily naive perception and it has led to errors in North Korea, in Iraq, obviously in Iran, in Egypt around the world. My own view is that the centerpiece of American foreign policy has to be strength. Everything I do will be calculated to increasing America's strength.
"When you stand by your allies you increase your strength. When you attack your allies you become weak. When you stand by your principles you get stronger. When you have a big military that's bigger than anyone else's you're stronger. I want, when you have a strong economy you build American strength. For me everything is about strength and, and communicating to people what is and is not acceptable. Speaking softly but carrying a very, very, very big stick.
"And this president instead speaks loudly and carries a tiny stick. And that is, that is not the right course for American policy."
quicklist: 7title: On North Koreatext: Quote- "It's like, what's this president going to do about it?"
Context- I saw Dr. Kissinger in New York. I said to him, how are we perceived around the world? And he said, 'One word: weak.' We are weak. And that's how this president is perceived by our friends and unfortunately by our foes.
"And it's no wonder that people like Kim Jong Un, the new leader of North Korea, announces a new long-range missile test only a week after he said he wouldn't. Because it's like, what's this president going to do about it?
If you can't act, don't threaten.
quicklist: 8title: On Boosting the Stock Markettext: Quote- "If we win on Nov. 6 ? without actually doing anything. We'll actually get a boost in the economy."
Context "They'll probably be looking at what the polls are saying. If it looks like I'm going to win, the markets will be happy. If it looks like the president's going to win, the markets should not be terribly happy.
"It depends of course which markets you're talking about, which types of commodities and so forth, but my own view is that if we win on Nov. 6, there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back, and we'll see -- without actually doing anything -- we'll actually get a boost in the economy.
"If the president gets re-elected, I don't know what will happen. I can ... I can never predict what the markets will do. Sometimes it does the exact opposite of what I would have expected."
quicklist: 9title: On Intellectual Conversationstext: Quote- "In a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject, discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn't win elections."
Context- "Well, I wrote a book that lays out my view for what has to happen in the country, and people who are fascinated by policy will read the book. We have a website that lays out white papers on a whole series of issues that I care about.
"I have to tell you, I don't think this will have a significant impact on my electability. I wish it did. I think our ads will have a much bigger impact. I think the debates will have a big impact.
"My dad used to say, 'Being right early is not good in politics.' And in a setting like this, a highly intellectual subject, discussion on a whole series of important topics typically doesn't win elections. And there are, there are, there are, for instance, this president won because of "hope and change."
quicklist: 10title: On Why His Obama Attacks Aren't Harshertext: Quote- "Those people I told you -- the 5 to 6 or 7 percent that we have to bring onto our side -- they all voted for Barack Obama four years ago. ... Because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they were wrong, that he's a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he's corrupt."
Context- "We speak with voters across the country about their perceptions. Those people I told you -- the five to six or seven percent that we have to bring onto our side -- they all voted for Barack Obama four years ago. So, and by the way, when you say to them, 'Do you think Barack Obama is a failure?' they overwhelmingly say no. They like him. But when you say, 'Are you disappointed that his policies haven't worked?' they say yes.
"And because they voted for him, they don't want to be told that they were wrong, that he's a bad guy, that he did bad things, that he's corrupt. Those people that we have to get, they want to believe they did the right thing, but he just wasn't up to the task.
"They love the phrase that he's "over his head." But if we're -- but we, but you see, you and I, we spend our day with Republicans. We spend our days with people who agree with us. And these people are people who voted for him and don't agree with us. And so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them."