CLEVELAND - Mitt Romney was caught on undercover video at a fundraiser saying 47 percent of Americans will vote for President Barack Obama because they don't pay taxes and depend on the government.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said on the video.
He added these people 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."
The Republican presidential candidate also said, "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
The video, obtained by Mother Jones, a non-profit news organization, caused an explosion of political opinions on Twitter Monday night.
Mother Jones did not say how it obtained the video.
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NewsChannel 5 called Romney's campaign managers in Ohio for comment on the video, and received the response in about two minutes:
"Mitt Romney wants to help all Americans struggling in the Obama economy. As the governor has made clear all year, he is concerned about the growing number of people who are dependent on the federal government, including the record number of people who are on food stamps, nearly one in six Americans in poverty, and the 23 million Americans who are struggling to find work. Mitt Romney's plan creates 12 million new jobs in four years, grows the economy and moves Americans off of government dependency and into jobs." – Gail Gitcho, Romney Campaign Communications Director
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said it's "hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."
After the statement was released by Romney's camp, the candidate held a hastily put-together news conference.
Romney said his comments were "not elegantly stated" and were"spoken off the cuff." But he maintained the president's approach is "attractive to people who are not paying taxes."
Romney was just in northeast Ohio on Friday, and President Barack Obama made his 12th trip to Ohio Monday, with stops in Columbus and Cincinnati.
Some polls have the two ideologically opposed candidates in a statistical dead-heat. Other polls have the president as much as seven points ahead.