Republican congressional candidates are running from him. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez runs from him. Conservative columnist Peggy Noonan calls his campaign “incompetent.” Republican kingmaker Karl Rove says he needs to “be careful.” Even running mate Paul Ryan even said said his comments were “obviously inarticulate.”
Now even his own mother is distancing herself from Mitt Romney’s assessment of the “47 percent” of Americans who pay no [federal] income tax as people “who are dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has responsibility to take care of them, who believe they are entitled to food, to housing, to you name it. It’s an entitlement and that the government should give it to them, and they will vote for this president no matter what.”
BuzzFeed has found a video (via the University of Michigan’s Bentley Historical Library) of Romney’s late mother Lenore giving an impassioned endorsement of her husband, George, during his 1962 successful run for governor of Michigan.
At one point, the interviewer asks, “There are those who say that since he’s a man of considerable means, he really doesn’t care about people.”
“You know, we’ve only owned our home for the last four years. He was a refugee from Mexico. He was on welfare relief for the first years of his life,” Lenore responds.
“The family was poor. He said they lived for a year on nothing but potatoes. He’s known what it is to have to work for every dime he’s had since he was 12,” she adds.
Indeed, George Romney’s grandparents were polygamous Mormons who left the United States in the late 1880’s with their children owing to the federal government’s prosecution of polygamy.
After the family fled the Mexican revolution and returned to the U.S. in July 1912, the Romneys, including five-year-old George, received government assistance from a $100,000 fund established by Congress to help refugees who had lost their homes and most of their belongings.
George went on to become a wildly successful businessman (as Chairman and President of American Motors Corporation), (twice-elected) Governor of Michigan and Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. And it all started with the “welfare relief” Lenore Romney was referring to in 1962.
Romney’s parents died in the 1990s, so we’ll never know for sure, but it is hard to imagine they would agree with their son’s assessment of the “47 percent” if they were alive today.