During a private fundraiser earlier this year, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney told a small group of wealthy contributors what he truly thinks of all the voters who support President Barack Obama. He dismissed these Americans as freeloaders who pay no taxes, who don't assume responsibility for their lives, and who think government should take care of them.
Romney went on: "[M]y job is is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
At the dinner, Romney often stuck to familiar talking points. But there were moments when he went beyond the familiar campaign lines. Describing his family background, he quipped about his father, "Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this."
When one donor said he was disappointed that Romney wasn't attacking Obama with sufficient intellectual firepower, Romney groused that the campaign trail was no place for high-minded and detail-oriented arguments.
At the dinner, Romney also said that the campaign purposefully was using Ann Romney "sparingly
so that people don't get tired of her." And he noted that he had turned down an invitation from Saturday Night Live because such an appearance "has the potential of looking slapstick and not presidential."
Here was Romney raw and unpluggedsort of unscripted. With this crowd of fellow millionaires, he apparently felt free to utter what he really believes and would never dare say out in the open. He displayed a high degree of disgust for nearly half of his fellow citizens, lumping all Obama voters into a mass of shiftless moochers who don't contribute much, if anything, to society, and he indicated that he viewed the election as a battle between strivers (such as himself and the donors before him) and parasitic free-riders who lack character, fortitude, and initiative. Yet Romney explained to his patrons that he could not speak such harsh words about Obama in public, lest he insult those independent voters who sided with Obama in 2008 and whom he desperately needs in this election. These were sentiments not to be shared with the voters; it was inside information, available only to the select few who had paid for the privilege of experiencing the real Romney.