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Republicans Distance Themselves From Romney On “47 Percent” Remarks

While political pundits still ponder the impact that Romney’s comments about the “47 percent” made at a May fundraiser, several Republican politicians are already starting to distance themselves from what Romney said. It started with Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon:

Connecticut GOP Senate candidate Linda McMahon distanced herself Tuesday from Mitt Romney’s comments dismissing the “47 percent,” becoming the first high-profile Republican candidate to do so.

“I disagree with Gov. Romney’s insinuation that 47 percent of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care,” McMahon said in a statement. “I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be. People today are struggling because the government has failed to keep America competitive, failed to support job creators, and failed to get our economy back on track.”

In her statement, McMahon referenced her family’s early struggles, when she and her husband, Vince, declared bankruptcy and lost their car and house. The McMahons are now multimillionaires, having developed World Wrestling Entertainment, where Linda served as CEO from 1997 to 2009.

She was followed by her neighbor to the north, Senator Scott Brown:

Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) came out in opposition to Mitt Romney’s controversial remarks on the “47 percent.”

Brown, who has been distancing himself from elements of the Republican Party, joins GOP Senate candidate in Connecticut Linda McMahon in coming out against the statements.

“That’s not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs,” he said in an email to The Hill.

Brown said that the large volume of Americans receiving public assistance and the growth in the food stamp program are part of the reasons he’s running for Senate, as Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren’s policies would lead to hundreds of thousands of lost jobs.

It’s not surprising that Brown and McMahon would do this. They’re both Republicans running in traditionally blue states and, while McMahon has typically taken a more conservative tack that Brown in the past, she’s moderated her tone in this election cycle, which many be one reason why she’s doing so well in the polls. Joining Brown and McMahon, though, was a politician not running for election this year, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez:

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez distanced herself Tuesday from a statement by Mitt Romney that nearly half of Americans believe they are victims dependent upon government.

The GOP presidential nominee’s remarks, made to donors at a private fundraiser in May, came to light this week in a video posted online by the magazine Mother Jones.

Asked about the video at a news conference on prison reform in Albuquerque, Martinez said New Mexico has a lot of people at the poverty level.

“But they count just as much as anybody else,” she said.

The state has a strong safety net for those at or below the poverty level, and “that safety net is a good thing,” the governor said.

Depending on how this plays out, I’d expect to see some other Republicans follow suit with this distancing, especially Senate candidates in Blue and Purple states or states with close elections.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Rob in CT says:

    I like Brown’s resposne best. McMahon had to bring the stupid “support our job creators” nonsense into it.

    Man, I’d like to make a trade where Brown can keep his seat and Warren can be my senator.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Rob in CT says:

    Via David Frum (already an apostate, I know):

    From Hard Times (1847):

    Surely there never was such fragile china-ware as that of which the millers of Coketown were made. Handle them never so lightly, and they fell to pieces with such ease that you might suspect them of having been flawed before. They were ruined, when they were required to send labouring children to school; they were ruined when inspectors were appointed to look into their works; they were ruined, when such inspectors considered it doubtful whether they were quite justified in chopping people up with their machinery; they were utterly undone, when it was hinted that perhaps they need not always make quite so much smoke. …

    Whenever a Coketowner felt he was ill-used – that is to say, whenever he was not left entirely alone, and it was proposed to hold him accountable for the consequences of any of his acts – he was sure to come out with the awful menace, that he would ‘sooner pitch his property into the Atlantic.’ This had terrified the Home Secretary within an inch of his life, on several occasions.

    However, the Coketowners were so patriotic after all, that they never had pitched their property into the Atlantic yet, but, on the contrary, had been kind enough to take mighty good care of it. So there it was, in the haze yonder; and it increased and multiplied.

    I read Hard Times in college (along with North and South, another book about the same British industrial revolution), so the commies they got to me, you see.

    Anyway, Dickens sounds awfully relevent doesn’t he?

    Whenever a Coketowner felt he was ill-used – that is to say, whenever he was not left entirely alone, and it was proposed to hold him accountable for the consequences of any of his acts – he was sure to come out with the awful menace, that he would ‘sooner pitch his property into the Atlantic.’

    Why, why… they’ll Go Galt!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Rob in CT:

    From Hard Times (1847):

    Thanx Rob. Time to read it again. (I love me some Studs)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. DRS says:

    Pity the poor campaign staff of Republican candidates running for Congress this year. The tension as they wait for the confirming email from Romney HQ, the haste with which they print it out and rush across the floor to the campaign manager, the sweat breaking out on his/her forehead as he/she reads the message. Then the mad rush for the doors as the campaign manager leaps up and screams:

    “Romney gave another speech today! INCOMING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  5. Rob in CT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I liked North and South better, actually. Dickens tends to annoy me. He was often paid by the page, and it shows.

    It’s interesting to see the same old arguments we’re having now where had in the mid-19th century. I suppose our descendents will have them still in the late 21st.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  6. Tsar Nicholas says:

    There’s an amazing irony to the liberal media pimping these comments from politicians in CT, MA and NM, which in another layer of irony will be lost on liberals in the media.

    CT and MA are two of the most gentrified states. Pockets of extreme wealth (Greenwich, New Caanan, Dedham, etc.) along with urban cesspools laden for decades with poverty, crime, unemployment, blight and despair (Bridgeport, Hartford, New Haven, Boston, South Boston, Charlestown, etc.). Slow to flat population growth rates. Large scale outward migrations, as people vote en masse with their feet. NM for its part has a huge welfare class. Not coincidentally it also has a material segment of unassimilated illegal immigrants and their descendants.

    Exhibits A, B and C to what really are the effects of leftism as public policy.

    That aside, when the left-wing national media goes into orgasm high dudgeon mode over “October surprise” style items such as this one it often fails to consider the law of unintended political consequences. Think about it. Instead of being distracted by foreign policy, his own tax returns, Bain Capital, or social issues, now and for the next few weeks Romney will be “distracted” by overall tax policies, government wealth redistribution, the welfare state and job creation programs. Are those really topics on which the left wants Romney to focus?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14

  7. Murray says:

    @Tsar Nicholas: “There’s an amazing irony to the liberal media pimping these comments from politicians …”

    No. The amazing irony is that you consider Doug a member of the liberal media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  8. The schadenfreude is running high today. In fact I’d say schadenfreude leads at memeorandum.

    I don’t normally approve of grave dancing, but that video makes it seem almost appropriate …

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  9. @Tsar Nicholas:

    If you want real liberals having real fun, I give you wonkette:

    ROMNEY CAMPAIGN HAS SAD

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  10. Rob in CT says:

    Are those really topics on which the left wants Romney to focus?

    Yes, because his proposals suck, and his arguments in favor of them suck. Bring it.

    CT and MA are two of the most gentrified states. Pockets of extreme wealth (Greenwich, New Caanan, Dedham, etc.) along with urban cesspools laden for decades with poverty, crime, unemployment, blight and despair

    There is some truth in this part, but it’s not really due to “leftism” or “rightism” for that matter either. You see this all over, and it’s a post-industrial thing. It used to be that cities were where the jobs were – factories and such. And there is still some of that. But many of those jobs are gone, and would be gone regardless of who won elections. Globalization drove a lot of it. A long time ago there was a lot of textile manufacturing up in New England. Then it moved down South for cheaper labor, but that was only a stepping stone, because guess who had even cheaper labor? East Asia.

    Hartford, Bridgeport, etc. aren’t going through anything that, say, East St. Louis isn’t also going through (I chose E.StL because I’ve seen it, briefly. It looked a bit like a poor man’s Newark).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  11. john personna says:

    Other than that, Scott Brown for president :-)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Fiona says:

    Instead of being distracted by foreign policy, his own tax returns, Bain Capital, or social issues, now and for the next few weeks Romney will be “distracted” by overall tax policies, government wealth redistribution, the welfare state and job creation programs. Are those really topics on which the left wants Romney to focus?

    Actually, yes. I think a big part of the reason that the Romney campaign hasn’t provided specifics on these issues is that their polling shows his positions aren’t popular. Bush II doubled-down isn’t going to play well.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  13. john personna says:

    Morning Joe opened with clips of Obama talking about governing for everyone, and Romney on Fox again talking about “the dependent voter.” Digging even deeper.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  14. legion says:

    @Fiona: Bingo. The one consistent complaint even conservatives have about Romney’s campaign is that his message is “muddled”. The problem is that this is by design – Romney’s (and the entire Republican Party’s) policies are so clearly partisan, classist, and undeniably bad for the US that he _has_ to be inconsistent in his statements and consistent in his refusal to talk specifics.

    So yes – forcing him to address actual national policies rather than his own personal character (as much of an entertaining sideshow as that is) would be _fantastic_ for Obama.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  15. wr says:

    @john personna: “Other than that, Scott Brown for president :-) ”

    Why bother with Brown? Let’s cut out the middleman and anoint Lloyd Blankfein our president.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  16. @wr:

    I was just thinking back to the things we heard at the height of Tea Party madness, like “we’d rather lose with a real conservative than win with a RINO who might as well be a Democrat.”

    Scott brown, who says a lot of sane things, and knows when to distance himself from right wing crazy, is just the kind of guy they were talking about. He’s still the kind of guy who is completely impossible to win a national primary. Just the same, he is the kind of guy who could win the general.

    Facing that choice at the state level they are willing to fund Brown now, but only in a narrow state race.

    (BTW, Bill Clinton was the one who abandoned hope and married his only daughter to GS.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  17. liberal capitalist says:

    @john personna:

    If you want real liberals having real fun, I give you wonkette.

    Man, I love me some wonkette!

    It’s Fark for the educated and informed.

    (so… not so funny for the GOP.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  18. Septimius says:

    @liberal capitalist:

    Wonkette is comedy gold! I especially like it when they make fun of 3 year-olds with Down Syndrome. Hilarious.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  19. jukeboxgrad says:

    They made a mistake and then accepted responsibility for it (link). Too bad Mitt has no understanding of this concept.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  20. jukeboxgrad says:

    fiona:

    Bush II doubled-down isn’t going to play well.

    Yes. Mitt isn’t doing himself a favor ranting all the time about the bad economy. Most people remember when it started, and who caused it, and realize that the GOP wants to give us more of the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  21. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Tsar Nicholas:

    What? Huh?

    Massachusetts grew 5.5% from 1990 to 2000 and 3.1% from 2000 to 2010. It has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country at 6.0%. It is the only state in the country whose public schools’ performance ranks comparatively to the rest of the developed world as a whole.

    Is 3.1% lower than the double digit growth rates in the Sun Belt? Yep. But Mass is one of the most densely populated states in the US and has been for decades. The only way for it get denser (especially in Metro Boston) is to grow upward.

    South Boston is a cesspool? Charlestown? Hardly. Of course there are bad neighborhoods in Boston – there are bad neighborhoods *everywhere.* Seriously, dude, you’ve got to start getting your information from sources other than Ben Affleck and Matt Damon films.

    On the other hand, Rob is going to have to defend CT. I certainly won’t! ;)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  22. @Septimius:

    I don’t go to wonkette often. I followed memeorandum to that “has sad” article which I found funny. On the other hand, this attack via Noonan is a little too mean for me. The title was good, but it went further than it had to.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Rob in CT says:

    Rob is going to have to defend CT. I certainly won’t! ;)

    Masshole! ;)

    Seriously, it’s not really our style to loudly defend our state. I like it a great deal, but in a quiet way, and a way that acknowledges its faults.

    There I go again, apologizing for Connecticut! Perhaps I should go on tour…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. grumpy realist says:

    Does Connecticut have the same weird vibe that NY has? Upstate New York against NYC? (I grew up in Upstate NY, so I can say this.) We would have been happy to chop off everything south of the Tappen Zee bridge and let it deal with the world on its own.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  25. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @grumpy realist: The major cities in CT are scattered geographically throughout the state so there isn’t that one area everyone can hate. However ask anyone who lives in Mass west of Worcester and you’ll get a similar attitude towards Boston.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0