Transportation union jabs Romney for ’47 percent’ comments

by Keith Laing, The Hill Newspaper

The AFL-CIO’s Transportation Trades Department is criticizing Republican president nominee Mitt Romney for his comments about supporters of President Obama being “victims” who do not pay income taxes.

In widely circulated comments from a private fundraiser in May that were secretly videotaped, Romney told campaign donors that he would have a hard time winning over 47 percent of Americans because they were “victims who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them” who are inclined to support Obama.

Romney has since said that he was discussing the breakdown of committed supporters and independent voters between himself and Obama.

But AFL-CIO TTD President Ed Wytkind said Wednesday that Romney’s attempts to clarify the remarks were “almost as breathtaking as the comments themselves.”

“As fact-checkers have pointed out repeatedly, nearly two-thirds of households that didn’t pay income tax paid payroll tax,” Wytkind wrote in a blog post on the union’s website.

“And the vast majority paid all or most of the other taxes such as state, local, sales, gas and property taxes,” he continued. “But in case Romney and Ryan care to know, about half of the people who didn’t pay income tax in 2011 earned less than $16,812 and most of the others fall on the lower rung of the earnings ladder.”

The AFL-CIO has endorsed President Obama in his bid for reelection.

Wytkind said Wednesday that the fundraiser comments from Romney “confirm what we already know about him — he thinks you’re either extremely rich or dependent on government.

“The truth is that everyone depends on some program run by government; not even billionaires own their own bridges, airports or highways,” Wytkind said. “No, we all built them. Even the 47 percent pitched in.”

In the video that has gone viral, Romney says “there are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what” and that it is not his “job to worry about those people.

“I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for for their lives.  What I have to do is convince the 5 percent to 10 percent in the center that are independents, that are thoughtful, that look at voting one way or the other depending upon, in some cases, emotion.”

Democrats and Obama’s reelection campaign have seized upon the remarks to argue that Romney is out of touch and unqualified to be president.

“My expectation is that if you want to be president, you have to work for everyone, not just for some,” Obama said in an interview with late-night talk show host David Letterman last night.

Obama also noted that in his victory speech in 2008, he reached out to supporters of then-Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

“One thing I’ve learned as president is that you represent the entire country,” Obama said.


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