Mitt Romney is trying to shift the conversation away from his recently leaked comments at a fundraiser that cast supporters of President Obama as dependent on government, blaming Obama for fostering that dependence in a new op-ed in USA Today this morning.
In the op-ed, Romney hammers home the theme that under Obama, “we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency.”
“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,” Romney writes.
Romney’s original comments at the fundraiser — which Mother Jones leaked Monday — took a tone that centered more on the “47 percent” of people he was describing rather than on Obama.
“There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe 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’s an entitlement. And that government should give it to them,” Romney said at the fundraiser.
Both Romney and his campaign are trying to pivot Wednesday morning, using new leaked audio from 1998 in which Obama says he “actually believes in redistribution, at least at a certain level.”
Campaign manager Matt Rhoades released a memo this morning hitting Obama for the quote, and the Republican National Committee released a web video.
Here’s a sample from Rhoades’ memo:
Mitt Romney’s vision for America is an opportunity society, where free people and free enterprise thrive and success is admired and emulated, not attacked. President Obama’s vision for America is a government-centered society, where government grows bigger and more active, occupying more of our everyday lives.
In a newly-unearthed set of remarks, we can hear Barack Obama in his own words advocating for government as a means to redistribute wealth. […]
Mitt Romney has a very different idea. He knows that we need to foster growth and create wealth, not redistribute wealth, if our economy is to grow the way it has in the past.
Bottom line: Mitt Romney is trying to jujitsu this and turn his comments into a big discussion on where he feels he has the advantage. And he also hopes this will pump up conservatives, who are eager to hear him take on a big issue.