Mitt Romney speaks to reporters about the video of his remarks during a private… (Charles Dharapak / Associated…)
SALT LAKE CITY — A top advisor to Mitt Romney said Tuesday that the controversy over the GOP nominee’s comments about President Obama’s supporters as dependent on government and not paying income taxes would blow over.
“It has to,” said senior advisor Kevin Madden, though he said that whether the dust-up would subside was partly dependent on the media. “I think we’ve put in context the focus of the voters out there. And the voters I think are really focused on the big issues related on the economy and the direction of the country. And if we keep our focus on that, then I think ultimately we’re going to be in a better position to win on election day as a result.”
Romney caused an uproar when a secretly taped video of him describing Obama’s supporters was published online Monday by Mother Jones. Speaking at a fundraiser, the candidate described the 47% of voters who support Obama as depending on government, believing they are victims and paying no income tax. He also said they were “unwilling to take responsibility for their lives.”
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Late Monday, Romney hastily called a news conference where he stood by his remarks, though he said they were not “elegantly stated.”
Romney has faced a storm of criticism over the remarks, not only from Democrats but from Republicans. When asked whether the criticism has prompted the campaign to reach out to its backers, Madden said they were not doing anything new because of it. Madden, who spoke to reporters aboard Romney’s plane, attempted to paint a picture of a campaign and a candidate unfazed by the controversy.
“We’re still focused,” Madden said. “I still think this is an election that is focused on the economy, it’s focused on the direction of the country, and I think the voters right now who have yet to make up their mind are still viewing it through the lens of that, and our focus as part of a campaign message, the governor’s focus and his message, is focused on talking about what he would do to help fix the economy. So we remain pretty focused and determined and the governor, I think the campaign is a reflection of the governor’s approach, which is very focused and determined.”
Another video was released Tuesday morning of Romney questioning the viability of a two-state solution in the Middle East. Mother Jones has since released the entirety of the footage.
Madden demurred when asked if the nominee would watch further video releases.
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