Romney Stands By Secretly-Taped Remark

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 18 2012 8:52 AM

"It's Not Elegantly Stated ... But It’s a Message Which I’m Going To Carry"

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Mitt Romney speaks to the press in Costa Mesa, California, on Monday

Photo by Nicholas Kamm/AFP/GettyImages.

Mitt Romney held an impromptu news conference last night to respond to the mounting criticism he is facing about remarks he made at a private fundraiser earlier this year suggesting that nearly half of the nation sees themselves as victims. The GOP hopeful conceded that those comments—which quickly went viral yesterday after posted online by Mother Jones—were "not elegantly stated," but largely stood firm behind the idea he says he was trying to express.

"It’s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way," Romney said in response to a question about whether he was "stepping away" from his recorded comments. "I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question and I am sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that, and so I’m sure I’ll point that out as time goes on. … But it’s a message which I’m going to carry and going to continue to carry which is, look, the president's approach is attractive to people who are not paying taxes because frankly my discussion about lowering taxes isn’t attractive to them and therefore I’m not likely to draw them into my campaign as effectively as those in the middle."

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You watch the original video clip here. Dave Weigel has more on Romney's questionable math here. The New York Times has the story of Romney's scramble to address the comments here. And Matthew Yglesias as a handy chart that might help with this whole debate here.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.