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editorial

Behind Romney’s words: Stereotypes and assumptions

In the comments that he made at a private campaign fundraiser earlier this year, Mitt Romney no doubt was telling GOP donors what he thought they wanted to hear. “There are 47 percent who will vote with the president no matter what,” Romney declared. He went on to describe President Obama’s voters as people who are dependent upon government and see themselves as victims. These voters, Romney went on to suggest, pay no income taxes.

When a secret video recording surfaced at the website of Mother Jones magazine this week, Romney was embarrassed — as he should have been — and made it clear that he might at least have worded his comments differently. Yet the problem isn’t the dismissive tone of Romney’s statements, or even the callous image of a wealthy man who paid just 13.9 percent in income taxes blithely bemoaning the low tax rates of others. It’s the loose, and false, equation that undergirded Romney’s argument: the notion that voters who support Obama “no matter what” equals people who “pay no income tax” equals freeloaders who are “dependent upon government.”

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