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Romney says he can handle criticism: `I've got broad shoulders'

September 26, 2012|By Maeve Reston
  • Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally Wednesday in Toledo, Ohio.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign… (Evan Vucci/Associated…)

CHEVY CHASE, Md. -- The Romney campaign faced a sobering set of new polls Wednesday showing the Republican nominee slipping behind President Obama  in the critical swing states of Ohio and Florida. But the Republican nominee insisted in television interviews Wednesday night that his campaign could regain its momentum.

During an evening interview with ABC’s David Muir, Romney acknowledged that he was “pleased with some polls, less so with other polls” -- but said at “this early stage, polls go up, polls go down.”

Assuming an increasingly brisk pace on the campaign trail this week, Romney held three events in Ohio on Wednesday while his Democratic rival also campaigned in the Buckeye State. But a New York Times/CBS News/Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday spelled trouble for his campaign -- showing Obama leading Romney in Ohio 53% to 43%.

Romney brushed off the suggestion that the new polls are evidence that he has lost potential supporters in recent days after the release of his comments at a secretly taped fundraiser in May. During that event, Romney told high-dollar donors that 47% of Americans don’t pay federal income taxes -- without explaining that many are seniors and that others pay payroll taxes and state taxes -- and said he wasn’t likely to win those voters and that it wasn’t his job to worry about them, adding that he’d “never convince them to take personal responsibility.”

When Muir asked which Americans Romney was talking about, the Republican candidate shifted the discussion to the polling -- noting that he and Obama were still tied a number of national polls.

“What I’m talking about is a political process,” Romney said, “I don’t expect to get 100% of the vote. I know I’m not going to get 100%. I hope to get 50-plus percent and make sure that I become the next president.” 

But President Obama seized on Romney’s comments about the 47% during his events Wednesday in Ohio. 

“I don’t believe we can get very far with leaders who write off half the nation as a bunch of victims who never take responsibility for their own lives,” Obama said. “I don’t see a lot of victims. I see hardworking Ohioans. That’s what I see.”

In a portion of the interview that did not air on Wednesday night but was published on ABC’s blog, Romney told Muir that his campaign was about “getting 100% of the people in this country to have a brighter future, better job prospects and higher take-home pay.”

He also told Muir that he could handle the criticism of his campaign: “I’ve got broad shoulders,” he said. 

maeve.reston@latimes.com

Twitter: @maevereston

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