I hate to break it to Paul Ryan, but Mitt Romney's comments to that audience where he didn't know he was being recorded and made his now infamous 47 percent remarks were not a "misstep" or merely "inarticulate." They were Mitt Romney saying what he actually believes. And the only reason you've got a problem with it now is because he got caught on tape doing it.
Here's the GOP vice presidential candidate on Fox News Sunday, calling it just that when asked about it by host Chris Wallace. And in regard to the poll numbers Wallace cites when he is prefacing his question to Ryan, I'd like to see what those numbers looked like if the question was something along the line of whether everyone should have their Social Security benefits taxed. I have a feeling they'd be getting some different percentages.
And speaking of polls, if Paul Ryan wants to call this a "misstep," well, it might be the "misstep" that ends up sinking his and Mitt Romney's campaign. Nate Silver has more on what those numbers are looking like since the release of that tape here -- Sept. 27: The Impact of the ‘47 Percent’.
WALLACE: Governor Romney has taken heat for the 47 percent video, where he told big -- big donors that 47 percent of the country -- it's actually 46% -- don't pay federal income taxes and view themselves as victims.
Fox News did a poll this week and they found that 79 percent think all Americans should pay at least some income taxes. Do you think it would be good if -- if every American paid federal income taxes, had -- even if it's a dollar, even if it's $2 -- had some skin in the game?
RYAN: We don't think that imposing new taxes on anybody is a good idea. Don't forget, Chris, the only person running for president who's proposing higher taxes is President Obama.
So our point is we don't want to...
WALLACE: Because he would end the Bush tax cuts for the -- for the wealthy.
RYAN: Yeah, tax rates -- he already passed all these ObamaCare taxes. About a dozen of them hit middle-income taxpayers, breaking that promise. He's proposing a massive tax increase on job creators in January.
But to go to your question, we don't think the idea or the solution is to impose new taxes on low-income people. We want to get people out of poverty, back to the middle class. And that's why our economic policies are designed to create jobs and opportunities so people can get higher take-home pay.
The key is this, get people from not paying income taxes because they have bad incomes to the middle class so they have jobs that have higher take-home pay so then they pay taxes.
We want to create more taxpayers. We don't want to tax more people with bad tax policy. We want to create more taxpayers by growing the middle class, by getting people back to work with higher take-home pay.
The secret to this is economic growth, Chris. Look, the premise of these conversations; the premise of your tax reform point is as if the economic pie is fixed and that it's governments job to redistribute the slices. That's not true. That's not how the world works. We want to grow the pie. We want economic opportunity. We want people to be able to get a better job, have more income security and higher take-home pay. And you can do that through economic growth. That is what we're trying to provide. That's what we can get if we put these pro-growth policies in place.
WALLACE: A number of top Republicans say that, when Romney picked you as his running mate a little over a month ago, that they thought that this indicated that you guys were going to run a bold reform agenda campaign. And they are now expressing some frustration that instead of you changing Romney -- you've heard this -- that they feel that Romney is changing you and you're running a much more cautious campaign.
And even your own good friend and Wisconsin home state governor, Scott Walker, has gone on the radio to complain about this.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
GOV. SCOTT WALKER, R-WIS.: I just haven't seen that kind of passion. I know that Paul has transferred over to our nominee, and I -- I think, a little bit -- it's a little bit of some pushback from some of the folks in the national campaign.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
WALLACE: Walker says he doesn't see passion. He doesn't see reform. He doesn't see fire in the belly.
RYAN: Scott's a good buddy of mine and he's always been a good backer of mine. Come out to -- with Mitt and myself to Ohio, to Iowa, to North Carolina, to Virginia, to Florida. Attend our town hall meetings. Look at how we're walking people through how we fix Medicare, how we fix Social Security, how we create jobs, how we reform the tax code, how we have an energy policy, an education policy, a trade policy.
Mitt Romney has put out more specifics on how to revive this economy, on how to get people back to work than the incumbent president of the United States has. So I hear the handwringing in Washington -- and Washington likes to talk about process. Come out into these states with us and see what we're talking about. See the forceful case we're making for economic opportunity. See the specific plans we're putting on the table, the bold solutions.
Mitt Romney has never once asked me to temper anything down. He said go out there and sell this.
WALLACE: Well, you talk about the handwringing. There was a report this weekend that you have been talking to conservative commentators and trying to get them to stay on board, not to jump ship, not to get too discouraged. But in the course of those conversations, you've admitted the campaign has made missteps.
Question: What missteps?
RYAN: I think -- I think -- first of all, 47 percent, Mitt acknowledges himself that was an inarticulate way of describing how we are worried that in a stagnant Obama economy, more people have become dependent on government because they have no economic opportunities. It was an inarticulate way to describe what we are trying to do to create prosperity and upward mobility, and reduce dependency by getting people off welfare back to work.
So, yes, those -- we've had some missteps, but at the end of the day, the choice is really clear and we're giving people a very clear choice. We have these pro-growth solutions for opportunity and upward mobility and a dynamic economy. You've got the president promising basically four more years like the last four years of stagnation, of dependency.
So yes, here and there we have -- we have not been able to frame that choice as clearly. I really believe, by the end of this day, people are going to understand exactly what they've got and the choices they have.
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