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President Obama talks Mitt Romney's '47%' gaffe with Letterman

September 18, 2012|Meredith Blake

President Obama paid a visit to “The Late Show” Tuesday night which, in an of itself, is not an entirely novel thing. After all, the commander in chief has not been shy about using the late-night medium: Obama has visited Letterman’s couch multiple times, in addition to “The Tonight Show,” “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon” and “The Daily Show.”

But what made his appearance Tuesday especially noteworthy was its fortuitous timing, coming just seven weeks before the election and only a day after a videotape surfaced in which his opponent, Mitt Romney, implied that 47% of the American public are dependent on government handouts and will support Obama.

After a few compliments and a lighthearted inquiry about Obama’s weight (he’s about 180 these days, thanks for asking), Letterman dove headlong into the 47% controversy.  “Is that just – is that what rich guys at country clubs are talking about?” he asked.

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Obama didn’t attempt to explain Romney’s remarks. Instead, he seemed intent on delivering a message of unity.

“One of the things I’ve learned as president is you represent the entire country, and when I meet Republicans as I’m traveling around the country, they are hard-working, family people who care deeply about this country and my expectation is that if you want to be president, you’ve got to work for everybody, not just for some,” Obama said. “The other thing you discover as you travel around the country is, boy, the American people, they work so hard.”

The president also strongly rebuked Romney’s claim that Obama’s supporters “believe they are victims.”

“I promise you, there are not a lot of people out there who think they’re victims, there are not a lot of people who think that they’re entitled to something,” Obama said, suggesting that most people, whether Democrats or Republicans, believe “there’s nothing wrong with us giving each other a helping hand.”

“If you want to be president and you want to bring people together, I think that’s the attitude that you’ve got to have,” he concluded.          

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Twitter: @MeredithBlake

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