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Latest update : 2012-10-08

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Thursday apologised for comments he made in a secretly taped video where he was seen dismissing 47 percent of voters as government dependant, admitting his choice of words was “just completely wrong".

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Thursday his comment on a secretly taped video in which he disparaged 47 percent of voters as dependent on government "was just completely wrong," as he attempted to repair the damage from the controversy.

Obama fights back after lacklustre debate

A day after a muted performance in a presidential debate, U.S. President Barack Obama fought back against Republican rival Mitt Romney on Thursday and the Democrat's re-election campaign vowed to learn lessons from the setback.

A feisty Obama told a rally of some 12,000 people that the former Massachusetts governor was untruthful during Wednesday's 90-minute debate in Denver, which most observers reckoned the Republican won.

"When I got onto the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney," Obama said.

"But it couldn't have been Mitt Romney, because the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn't know anything about that."


Romney's interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity was the first time he completely disavowed remarks he made at a private fundraiser in May and which have emerged as a major stumbling block in his campaign against Democratic President Barack Obama.

The "47 percent" videotape did not come up in his Wednesday night debate with Obama, although the Obama campaign has used his remarks in a television ad.

Asked what he would have said if the issue had come up in the Denver debate, Romney said he would have said that after thousands of speeches as a presidential candidate, "now and then you're going to say something that doesn't come out right."

"In this case, I said something that was just completely wrong," he said.

"I absolutely believe however that my life has shown that I care about 100 percent. And that's been demonstrated throughout my life. This whole campaign is about the 100 percent. When I become president, it will be about helping the 100 percent," he added.

Romney said in a closed-door meeting with wealthy donors that 47 percent of voters paid no income taxes, viewed themselves as victims and would vote for President Barack Obama in order to keep getting government handouts.

When the video was disclosed on Sept. 17 by liberal magazine Mother Jones, the remarks were widely criticised - even by Romney's fellow conservatives - and seemed to confirm the image the Obama campaign has sought to paint of an aspiring plutocrat who doesn't care about ordinary Americans.

In a hastily called press conference after the video came out, Romney said his comments had been "not elegantly stated" but that he stood by them.


He insisted he was merely discussing campaign strategy and not dismissing half the country.

Nationwide and battleground state polls shifted in Obama's favor in the days after the video came out, leading many pundits to speculate that they had torpedoed Romney's years-long quest for the White House.

But on Wednesday an energized Romney delivered a surprisingly strong performance in the first of three presidential debates opposite a listless Obama, injecting new momentum into his campaign ahead of the November 6 vote.

To the surprise of many of his supporters, Obama did not mention the "47 percent" remarks during the debate.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)


Date created : 2012-10-05


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