As Media Matters noted, if Mitt Romney was hoping to find some friendly territory after the previous day with the leaked tapes of his "47 percent" rant and the disastrous press conference that followed later that evening, he wasn't going to find any friendlier territory than Neil Cavuto's show on Fox.
Mitt Romney, taking a considerable amount of heat over leaked videos showing him bashing 47 percent of voters as incorrigible moochers, will reportedly sit down with Fox News' Neil Cavuto this afternoon for an interview. From a damage control perspective, that move makes a lot of sense. You'd be hard-pressed to find a media figure more antagonistic toward the poor, more contemptuous of recipients of government benefits, and more sympathetic to Romney's line of attack than Neil Cavuto.
To recap, Mother Jones published a surreptitiously filmed video of Romney at a fundraiser telling donors that "there are 47 percent who are with [President Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims ... These are people who pay no income tax." Romney added: "My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
It's an argument tailor-made for Cavuto's sensibilities.
Lots more there with Cavuto trashing the poor as moochers and bemoaning the rich being asked to pay more in taxes with lots of video to boot. And as TPM noted, Mittens decided to play the "I know you are, but what am I?" game again during the interview as well -- Mitt Romney To Obama: No, You Have A Hidden Video Problem:
Mitt Romney told FOX News Tuesday he stands by comments he made to donors that 47 percent of Americans are too hopelessly dependent on government to vote Republican. In a new effort to take the heat off his much maligned remarks, Romney repeatedly cited a 1998 video promoted by the RNC on Tuesday in which President Obama used the word “redistribution.”
Romney frequently responds to attacks with an “I’m rubber, you’re glue” strategy in which he accuses his opponent of doing the exact same thing for which he is being criticized. In this case, apparently, the offense is being taped.
“The president’s view is one of a larger government,’” Romney said. “There is a tape that came out where the president is saying he likes redistribution. I disagree.”
Republican operatives began passing around the clip in question Tuesday afternoon. In it, then-state Sen. Obama described to a conference at Loyola University in 1998 how to “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.” John McCain tried to highlight similar comments in 2008, when Obama told Samuel “Joe The Plumber” Wurzelbacher that he wanted to “spread the wealth around.”
Other than the word “redistribution,” it’s not clear what the 1998 Obama clip reveals that’s so surprising. His entire re-election campaign is premised on asking millionaires to pay more in taxes in order to invest in programs that benefit the middle class, a theme that he’s emphasized everywhere from his Democratic convention speech to his latest campaign ad.
By contrast, Romney bristles at independent analysts’ claims that his plans would raise taxes on the middle class to benefit the wealthy and claims he supports a strong safety net. But Romney insists in the video unearthed Monday that 47 percent of Americans are whining “victims” who needed to learn self reliance.
“My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney said in the leaked video. “I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
Romney did not disown his remarks in Tuesday’s FOX News interview, but he did claim that he merely meant he wanted to find good jobs for everyone. Read on...
Here's more from Fox's blog with their summary of the interview -- Mitt Romney’s First Interview Since “47 Percent” Video Released:
At a press conference Monday night, the former Massachusetts governor defended the remarks, saying they were not “elegantly stated.” However, his critics did not back down from attacks.
This afternoon, Romney further reacted, telling Cavuto that he believes in free enterprise as the only way to build a strong middle class and create growth, not redistributing wealth.
Romney said, “Frankly, we have two very different views about America. The president’s view is one of a larger government. There’s a tape that just came out today with the president saying he likes redistribution. I disagree. I think a society based upon a government-centered nation […] that’s the wrong course for America. That will not build a strong America or help people out of poverty.”
He acknowledged that there are military members and retirees who are not paying taxes and that is as it should be. However, Romney said, “I do believe that we should have enough jobs and enough take home pay such that people have the privilege of higher incomes that allow them to be paying taxes. I think people would like to be paying taxes […] The problem right now is, you see in this country so many people have fallen into poverty that they’re not paying taxes.”
Cavuto asked Romney to respond to critics who say that he all but called 47 percent of the country “moochers.” He answered, “No, I’m talking about a perspective of individuals who I’m not likely to get to support me. I recognize that those people who are not paying income tax are going to say, gosh this provision that Mitt keeps talking about, lowering income taxes, that’s not going to be real attractive to them. And those that are dependent on government and those that think government’s job is to redistribute, I’m not going to get them.”
Romney was asked about this comment:
There are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that 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 the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what.
If anyone was expecting him to directly address those statements or acknowledge them in some meaningful way, I hope you weren't holding your breath.