Romney slams Obama's 'web of dependency'

2012-09-20 12:58

Miami - Mitt Romney has accused President Barack Obama of fostering a "web of dependency" amid an increasingly bitter electoral battle over their competing visions of the government's role in society.

Under attack over videotaped comments dismissing 47% of Americans as freeloaders relying on government handouts, the Republican presidential nominee regrouped and insisted his policies would help the entire country to prosper.

"My course for the American economy will encourage private investment and personal freedom," Romney wrote in an opinion piece on Wednesday in USA Today.

"Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty."

He doubled down on the concept at a high-end Atlanta fundraiser - the third such event in two days - as he accused Obama of favouring big government policies that blunt individual initiative.

America "does not work by a government saying: 'Become dependent on government, become dependent upon redistribution'. That will kill the American entrepreneurship that's lifted our economy over the years", Romney told donors.

Romney trailing

"The question of this campaign is not who cares about the poor and the middle class," a fiery Romney added, tapping the pulpit for emphasis.

"I do. He does. The question is who can help the poor and the middle class. I can - he can't!"

Romney trails in the polls with just 48 days to go before the 6 November elections. Deficits in Ohio and Florida are especially worrying for the Republican challenger, as the two battleground states could decide the race.

He has acknowledged that the bombshell comments at a May fundraiser - secretly videotaped, and then made public this week by Mother Jones magazine - were poorly phrased.

But the former Massachusetts governor and his campaign have stepped up their attacks on social welfare "entitlements" as they seek to frame a philosophical debate over the choices facing Americans.

In doing so they seized on a 14-year-old audio recording in which Obama, then a state senator in Illinois, can be heard advocating government-backed wealth redistribution.

'For 100% of Americans'

"The trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure everybody's got a shot," Obama says in the audio.

The White House responded on Wednesday by saying Romney's camp was adopting "desperate" tactics that were examples of a campaign "having a very bad day or a very bad week".

The Obama campaign later tried to turn the tables, saying Romney "doesn't have a plan to strengthen the middle class; he only has a plan to redistribute hard-earned middle class income to those at the top".

Romney, who has held a series of fundraisers - including one in Georgia on Wednesday that netted $2m, according to aides - flew to swing state Florida to hold his first public event since late last week.

In Miami, sounding a note of inclusion that belied the tension coursing through the campaign in recent days, Romney courted Hispanic voters, saying he would be president "for the 100%" of Americans.

"I care about the 100%," he told viewers of Spanish language network Univision. "People in America are going to have a better future if they elect me the next president."

Difficult period

Hispanics comprise the largest minority in the country, and with Romney trailing slightly according to several polls, peeling Latino voters away from Obama is crucial, particularly in key states such as Florida.

It has been a difficult period for the nominee, who has fended off a backlash from Republicans worried about his gaffe-plagued bid, with conservative writer Peggy Noonan calling the campaign "incompetent".

"An intervention is in order. 'Mitt, this isn't working'," The Wall Street Journal columnist wrote in a blog post earlier this week.

Last week, Romney sparked a furore by accusing the administration of sympathising with Islamic militants hours after an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The controversial fundraising video, and reports of internal campaign disarray, plunged team Romney into deeper turmoil, but the decision to embrace the anti-dependency message appears to have steadied the ship.

Romney's White House running mate Paul Ryan moved to back-up the Republican economic strategy going into the race's home stretch.

"Mitt Romney and I are not running to redistribute the wealth. Mitt Romney and I are running to help Americans create wealth," Ryan told supporters in Virginia, another election battleground state.

  • harley.quin.334 - 2012-09-20 13:39

    so these guys are campaigning to become president of the most powerfull country on the planet and they behave like a couple of 5 year olds on the playground....anyone else find that very scary?

      allcoveredinNinjas - 2012-09-20 13:53

      No pretty healthy ,open honest opinions is better than cloaked and restrained intent. What i consider scary are cooments like Gwede Mantashe's before the last election ," Jacob Zuma does not debate !" as he sat in for the prez .

      Tony Lapson - 2012-09-20 14:01

      What I find to be scary is that these are the only two options available and it is directly proportionate to media coverage and the size of their campaign budgets. Ron Paul would've been the most sensible and wise candidate, but he wasn't given the exposure and donations that these two get on a daily basis. He spoke more of truths and less of promises. In many debates, he left the clowns stuttering for answers, and astounded many with his factual and precise answers on current socio-economical problems. The problem with Ron Paul? He didn't get the publicity. Just like corporate America, marketing, advertising and general exposure trumps 'the truth' every time. If I had to give an example, Apple would be one.

      harley.quin.334 - 2012-09-20 14:03

      Yeah but it's not realy open and honest debate is it, it's underhanded insults, mudslinging and bad-mouthing, if they where to actually discuss the merits or demerits of their policys i would agree with you, as to your second point.. that is indeed scary

      nick.armstrong.1800 - 2012-09-20 15:11

      @Tony-Lapson - WELL SAID, sir - exactly! :) The greatest tragedy has been the lost opportunity the USA - and the world - was offered in the form of Dr. Ron Paul. He truly would have changed the entire Establishment - from the Fed to Wall Street to taxes, from big government interference - to laws governing individual civil liberties and freedoms.. Thing is - the Establishment - of which ALL mainstream media (left and right) is a part - deliberately ignored him - for fear his messages and policies - the same messages he's had for 30 years - would take hold amongst the electorate - Republican and Democrat - and he would be swept to power.. Unlike all-hot-air Obama who promised the world of change in 2008 - but has proved to be nothing more than an Establishment stooge too - Dr. Paul was "not for sale" - he truly would've brought about genuine change - and greater civil liberties for ALL peoples.. It's tragedy actually. As this man would have shown the way for peoples and governments around the world - a new way of Thinking, of living, of doing business, of mutual respect, of individual freedoms - based in Love, and a fundamental Law of the Universe - the Law of Freedom of Choice.. Alas - we have a "low-wisdom" choice between 2 Establishment candidates... Obama has done nothing to arrest the criminal banksters who created the financial crisis - and he has betrayed Israel.. He apologises to Jihadists, snubbs Netanyahu.. For the true polls:

      squeegee.pilot - 2012-09-20 16:10

      What's really scary is that Romney could have been speaking about Zipper and the ANC. "America "does not work by a government saying: 'Become dependent on government, become dependent upon redistribution'. That will kill the American entrepreneurship that's lifted our economy over the years", Romney told donors."

  • Goodstuff - 2012-09-20 14:27

    I assume the official debates are still coming? Obama will leave this 'fatcat' in his dust. Fixing the American economy in four years is like having a corruption free African state; unrealistic.

      tom.guy.37669528 - 2012-09-20 16:58

      QE isn't helping, Obama is a sellout.

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