Slatest PM: Romney Cites Drudge Report in Response

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Sept. 18 2012 5:48 PM

Slatest PM: Romney's-Drudge-Assisted-Response Edition

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Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

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

FEATURE-LENGTH: Mother Jones granted Mitt Romney's wish this afternoon, publishing the full version of the secretly-recorded video taken at a private fundraiser earlier this year. You can watch the full thing here.

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RESPONSE: Romney then went on Fox News late this afternoon to give his first TV interview since snippets of the video went viral yesterday. Much as he did in a hastily-called press conference last night, the GOP hopeful defended his remarks, saying that they were a fair representation of the current electorate.

"We were of course talking about a campaign and how [Obama]'s going to get close to half the vote [and] I'm going to get half the vote, approximately," Romney told Neil Cavuto, before outlining what he saw as his and Obama's "very different views about America."

Obama's vision: "The president's view is one of a larger government—there's a tape that just came out today where the president said he likes redistribution, I disagree. I think a society based upon a government-centered nation where government plays a larger and larger role, redistributes money, that's the wrong course for America."

On his own: "I believe the right course for America is one where government steps in to help those that are in need ... but then we let people build their own lives, create enterprises. We believe in free people and free enterprise not redistribution."

ROMNEY MUST READ DRUDGE: The multiple "redistribution" mentions that Romney peppered into the interview appear to be a reference to an audio clip from 1998 that was leading the Drudge Report this afternoon, with an all-caps red headline of: "I ACTUALLY BELIEVE IN REDISTRIBUTION." You can listen to it here.

"I THINK PEOPLE WOULD LIKE TO BE PAYING TAXES": More Romney: "There are a number of retirees, members of the military and so forth who aren't paying taxes, and that's as it should be," he said. "But I do believe we should have enough jobs and 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 good news is if you're doing well enough financially that you can pay a tax. And the problem right now is you see in this country so many people have fallen into poverty that they're not paying taxes they have to rely on government and the right course to help them is not just to have government handing out but instead government helping people to get back to good jobs."

OBAMA'S RAPID RESPONSE: The president's election team wasted little time turning the Romney video into an online attack ad. You can take a look here.

WHAT WAS WORSE? Obama's "guns and religion" comments, or Romney's "47 percent" remark? Will Saletan takes a look.

SHOULD WE CARE ABOUT WHAT POLITICIANS TELL DONORS?: Kerry Howley: "It is perfectly likely that Romney believes 47 percent of Americans sit around being entitled, this being standard Republican fodder, but if we don't buy what Romney says in his convention speech I'm not sure why we'd believe what he says to people he needs even more immediately than he needs voters."

BY THE NUMBERS: Exactly how many Americans are dependent on the government? Brian Palmer does the math.

Happy Tuesday, and welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow the entire @slatest team and @JoshVoorhees on Twitter, or fill your host's inbox with whatever is on your mind at josh.voorhees@slate.com.

A RAY OF HOPE: David Weigel's finds something to cheer up Team Romney on a day like this: "Conservatives are in the don’t-trust-polls phase of the election, challenging the math behind any numbers that look bad for Mitt Romney. But they are occasionally right. According to the New York Times analysis of the most recent CBS/NYT poll, 'independent voters, who supported Mr. Obama by eight percentage points in 2008, are now breaking for Mr. Romney by six percentage points.' Those independents are exactly the people Romney said he needed to win in his hidden-camera remarks. He’s wrong about their motivations, but not about their numbers."

THE REAL WINNER: Obviously Obama's Chicago campaign offices are pretty happy about how the past two days worth of news cycles have played out. But we're guessing their celebrations look relatively tame compared to what must be going on in Mother Jones' San Fran HQ this afternoon. The liberal, muck-raking magazine played the rollout just about perfectly, dominating yesterday evening's news cycle with the 47% clip, then this morning's with the Middle East clip, and now this afternoon's with the full version.

NYT: "Clara Jeffery, a co-editor of Mother Jones, said that after the first story was posted around 1:30 p.m. Monday afternoon, Mother Jones received just shy of two million page views. She said that was double the magazine’s previous 24-hour record."

JESUS HAD A WIFE?? NYT: "A historian of early Christianity at Harvard Divinity School has identified a scrap of papyrus that she says was written in Coptic in the fourth century and contains a phrase never seen in any piece of Scripture: Jesus said to them, 'My wife ...'  ... The finding was made public in Rome on Tuesday at an international meeting of Coptic scholars ..."

CHECKING THE TRAPS—

Bloomberg: "Apple Inc.'s shares surpassed $700 as record first-day orders for the latest iPhone fueled optimism that the company will keep generating the revenue growth that transformed it from a niche computer manufacturer into the world’s most valuable business."

WSJ: "BP PLC admitted a leak had forced it to shut down an oil platform earlier this month in Norway's North Sea, sending shares lower Tuesday as the incident reawakened lingering investor concerns over the British firm's safety."

Reuters: "Chicago Teachers Union leaders began a meeting on Tuesday to decide whether to end a strike that has closed the nation's third-largest school district for more than a week and focused national attention on how to reform failing urban schools."

AP: "The end game in Afghanistan is off to a shaky start. Just as the last U.S. 'surge' troops leave the country, trouble is breaking out in ways that go to the core of the strategy for winding down the U.S. and allied combat role and making Afghans responsible for their own security. At stake is the goal of ensuring that Afghanistan not revert to being a terrorist haven."

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