msnbc’s Lawrence O’Donnell called out Mitt Romney for attempting to “change the wording of the most memorable thing he said in his second and final presidential campaign.”
In an excerpt from the book Collision 2012 published in Saturday's Washington Post, Romney repeatedly insisted his infamous 47% remarks were taken out of context.
Dan Balz questioned the Republican candidate: "But when you said there are 47-percent who won't take personal responsibility…" Romney interrupted Balz saying, "Actually, I didn't say that. That's how it began to be perceived, and so I had to ultimately respond to the perception, because perception is reality."
In a campaign speech to wealthy donors, which was secretly recorded by bartender Scott Prouty, the former Republican candidate declared "there are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.”
“There are 47% who are with him. Who are dependent upon government, who believe that-- that they are victims, who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they're entitled to healthcare, 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." He added, "And so my job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
According to audio released by Balz, Romney suggested his words were being twisted, particularly over the “personal responsibility” part. Romney insisted, "This was perceived as, 'Oh, he's saying 47 percent of the people he doesn't care about or he's insensitive to or they don't care - they don't take responsibility for their life.' No, no. I'm saying 47 percent of the people don't pay taxes and therefore they don't warm to our tax message."
O’Donnell said the video speaks for itself. “It was impossible to twist Romney's words to make them sound worse which is why we kept playing the actual video over and over again night after night,” argued O’Donnell. “And it is the actual words Romney spoke that pushed his poll numbers down once those words were revealed.”