Romney’s ’47 Percent’ Fuels Talk Of Who Gets Tax Breaks, Aid
Some news outlets report how the remarks underscore different views of the role of government by President Barack Obama and GOP challenger Mitt Romney. Meanwhile, Romney attempts to deflect criticism by going on the offensive, saying his comments help define the choice before voters.
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Analysis: Romney Describes Government's Role As Dramatically More Limited Than Obama's View
Republican Mitt Romney, in describing nearly half of Americans as being docile dependents of the state, and saying it's a "foreign concept" for government to redistribute income, is outlining a philosophy that's not only sharply at odds with President Barack Obama's views. It's also difficult to square with the facts of how Social Security, Medicare, the tax code and scores of other institutions work. Romney's claim that 47 percent of Americans won't take "personal responsibility" … instantly crystallized his philosophical differences with Obama when the remarks came to light Monday (9/18).
The New York Times: Romney Says Remarks On Voters Help Clarify Position
Mr. 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 Mr. Obama's support for "redistributionist" policies. But despite the effort by Mr. 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 (Rutenberg and Parker, 9/18).
Politico Pro: Romney Push For Medicaid Funds Back In Spotlight
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney may complain about the nation's dependence on government largesse, but his own Massachusetts health care plan depended on a big infusion of Medicaid funds — and Romney led the charge for it, according to his former Bay State adversaries. Romney stunned the political order Monday when a four-month-old video emerged showing the candidate contending that 47 percent of Americans feel "entitled" to government programs — from health care to housing to food stamps. But as governor, Romney led the drive to expand publicly subsidized health insurance that depended on a massive infusion of federal funds to Massachusetts. Without those funds, the state's 2006 health law ... would not have been possible, backers say (Cheney, 9/18).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Romney's 47 Percent: His Math Is Correct, But Much Federal Aid Goes To The Middle Class, Too
While it's true most of those nonpayers are poor, the numbers include many others who got tax breaks because they are old, have children in college or didn't owe taxes on interest from state and local bonds. And of those who didn't write checks to the IRS, 6 in 10 still paid Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, and more than that paid federal excise taxes on items such as gasoline, alcohol and cigarettes, said Roberton Williams, who analyzes taxes at the center (9/18).
The Wall Street Journal: Raw Data Support – And Undercut – Romney Take On Who Gets Benefits
Federal benefits include those going to low-income Americans, such as food stamps and Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor. Other benefits from programs such as Medicare and Social Security flow to older Americans who, in most cases, paid taxes for decades before they qualified (Paletta and McKinnon, 9/18).
Politico Pro: Romney Backlash Begins With Call On Veterans' Health
Americans United for Change hosted a call for reporters Tuesday afternoon — "Faces of Romney's 47 Percent" — featuring a veteran, Mike Evans, who talked about Veterans Administration health care and vocational rehabilitation that allowed him to become a public school teacher in Missouri. It also featured Leon Burzynski , a senior citizens advocate with the Wisconsin Alliance for Retired Americans, who claimed that he was proud to enjoy the retirement security of Medicare and Social Security after paying into the programs for decades. He blasted Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan for wanting to "roll back that promise." None of the speakers said that he or she did not pay federal income tax, but Romney's surreptitiously recorded remarks blurred the line between those who don’t pay income taxes and those who receive any government benefit (Norman, 9/18).
Politico: Biden Avoids Talk Of Mitt Video, But Defends Government Assistance
Vice President Biden hasn't commented on the videos showing Mitt Romney saying President Obama's supporters consider themselves "victims," but he launched into a defense of Medicaid spending here, telling a crowd that Republicans would end aid to needy senior citizens in nursing homes. With each time he mentioned Medicaid, Biden emphasized the program’s final syllable, ensuring the mostly college-aged crowd of 718 understood he meant the health insurance program for the poor rather than Medicare, which provides insurance for older people (Epstein, 9/18).