Sept. 23 (Bloomberg) -- Republicans had a “good week” even with a video leak of presidential candidate Mitt Romney stating that 47 percent of Americans are government-dependent “victims,” the party’s chairman said.
“I think that we had a good week last week” because “we were able to frame up the debate” about the future direction of the country, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said today on ABC’s “This Week” broadcast. Earlier he said it was “not the best week in the campaign.”
The Romney campaign is dealing with fallout from the comments, videotaped in secret at a campaign fundraiser earlier this year, that were reported last week. Democrats have pounced on the remarks, framing Romney as a wealthy Republican who is out-of-touch with much of the country.
Romney’s comment “was a political analysis at a fundraiser, but it’s not a governing philosophy,” Senator Kelly Ayotte, a New Hampshire Republican, said today on NBC’s “Meet the Press” program. “I know that he cares about every single American in this country.” In the same broadcast, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, a Democrat, described Romney’s comments as “turning his back on half the country.”
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina predicted that if “undecided voters break against the incumbent as they generally do, this is a very close race and, quite frankly, I like our position.”
Romney on Sept. 21 released his 2011 tax return, which showed that he paid more taxes than necessary in order to keep his tax rate higher than 13 percent.
“It’s fair to say that a lot of those 47 percent that he was slandering earlier in the week probably pay more -- a higher percentage of their income in taxes overall than he does,” David Axelrod, a campaign strategist for President Barack Obama, said on the ABC broadcast today.
“The bigger issue isn’t that he isn’t being straight about his own taxes,” Axelrod said. “The bigger issue is that he isn’t being straight about what he’s going to do to everyone else’s taxes.”
Obama and Romney are seeking to court voters in key battleground states with about six weeks left before the Nov. 6 election. Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 46 percent in a poll of Ohio. The poll of 861 people, commissioned by the Columbus Dispatch and conducted Sept. 13-18, splits on who is seen as the better candidate to handle the economy going forward. Obama is seen as the best choice by 49 percent, and Romney by 44 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.
“The poll indicates that Democrats are slightly more likely to vote than Republicans are this year, and Obama supporters are more enthusiastic about the election than Romney backers are,” the Dispatch wrote in its analysis. “However, Romney is winning independents by a large margin.”
Momentum has shifted in Obama’s direction, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois, said on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
“Some of the problems and mistakes of the Romney campaign have given the president more traction in these battleground states with working families,” Durbin said.
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