Governor Deval Patrick on Sunday accused Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of “turning his back on half the country” after a video emerged last week of Romney criticizing people who do not pay federal income taxes as irresponsible.
Patrick, a co-chair of President Obama’s reelection campaign, blasted Romney’s remarks to donors at a $50,000-per-plate fund-raiser in May, which were secretly taped and leaked to Mother Jones magazine, which posted them online.
“There are 47 percent who are with [Obama], who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it,” Romney said at the fund-raiser.
Romney’s 47-percent figure referred to the approximate share of US households that do not pay federal income taxes.
Discussing the video on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Patrick appeared offended by Romney’s comments.
“It’s just shocking to me that a candidate could aspire to be president by turning his back on half the country, and I think that’s what came through,” Patrick said. “I can tell you as someone who grew up on welfare, who spent some time on food stamps, my mother was just the kind of person ... who was aspiring to get to a better place, to get her GED, to get a job, to stand on her own two feet. And the notion that she or we or people like us would be belittled while we needed some help to be able to stand on our own two feet is exactly what I think Governor Romney is conveying.”
Patrick, who succeeded Romney as governor in the Bay State, has been an active campaigner for the president. Patrick was joined on “Meet the Press” by Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who suggested reactions to Romney’s comments have been overblown.
“That certainly was a political analysis at a fund-raiser, but it’s not a governing philosophy,” said Ayotte, who was rumored to be a possible Romney running mate before the selection of Paul Ryan. “He absolutely has a vision for a hundred percent of America.
“What I see is what the governor sees,” Ayotte added. “I see 15 million more people on food stamps that don’t want to be there. I see overall 47 million Americans on food stamps that want a good job; they don’t want to be on unemployment.”