Man Who Taped Romney's "47 Percent" Remarks Comes Forward

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 13 2013 10:06 AM

Team Obama Has Someone New to Thank for the "47 Percent" Tape: Bill Clinton

Screen shot 2013-03-13 at 9.54.53 AM

Screenshot of the video as released by Mother Jones last year

Update 11:30 p.m.: The man's name: Scott Prouty.

Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

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

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We'll soon get our first look at the man who recorded Mitt Romney delivering his now infamous "47 percent" remark at a high-end fundraiser last year. The man, who has remained out of the public eye until now, sat down for an interview with MSNBC's Ed Schultz that the network will air later tonight. "I felt like I owed it to the people that couldn't afford to be there themselves to hear what he really thought," the soon-to-be-identified man says in a teaser for the interview.

The bartender turned amateur cameraman also spoke with the Huffington Post several times over the past month. While HuffPo is keeping his identity under wraps until the big reveal on MSNBC, they're up with an article that offers this nearly too-good-to-be-true nugget about the man's apparent motivation for bringing a camera along that night:

The man, who tended bar for a company that catered to a high-end clientele, had previously worked at a fundraiser at a home where [Bill] Clinton spoke. After Clinton addressed guests, the man recalled, the former president came back to the kitchen and thanked the staff, the waiters, the bartenders, the busboys, and everyone else involved in putting the event together. He shook hands, took photos, signed autographs, and praised the meal—all characteristic of the former president.
When the bartender learned he would be working at Romney's fundraiser, his first thought was to bring his camera, in case he had a chance to get a photo with the presidential candidate. Romney, of course, did not speak to any of the staff, bussers or waiters. He was late to the event, and rushed out. He told his dinner guests that the event was off the record, but never bothered to repeat the admonition to the people working there.

The man says that he never intended to distribute the video but ultimately felt he had no choice after hearing what Romney had to say. "I felt it was a civic duty. I couldn't sleep after I watched it," he told HuffPo. "I felt like I had a duty to expose it." That led him to post clips of the recording online and, eventually, to turn it over to Mother Jones (with former President Jimmy Carter's grandson acting as something of a go-between).

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