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Romney's '47 percent' vs. Obama's 'bitter' clingers: Which is worse?
Mitt's dismissal of Democrats as tax-dodging moochers is drawing plenty of comparisons to the president's 2008 musing about white voters who "cling to guns or religion"
 
Mitt Romney is coming under fire for belittling 47 percent of the electorate, but President Obama isn't exactly gaffe-free himself: In 2008, he quipped that "bitter" rural voters "cling to guns or religion."
Mitt Romney is coming under fire for belittling 47 percent of the electorate, but President Obama isn't exactly gaffe-free himself: In 2008, he quipped that "bitter" rural voters "cling to guns or religion."
fang zhe/Xinhua Press/Corbis, Ron Sachs/dpa/Corbis

Mitt Romney has been pelted this week with a wave of predictions that his presidential campaign is doomed, thanks to the surfacing of a 4-month-old video in which he privately tells wealthy donors that 47 percent of Americans will vote for President Obama because they don't pay taxes and are "dependent upon government." Democrats have pounced on the comment, arguing that it proves Romney has contempt for the poor and middle class. Romney has conceded that his point was not "elegantly stated," but his supporters say his remark was no more insulting than Obama's unguarded quip in the 2008 primaries that "bitter" rural voters "cling to guns or religion." Was this Romney's clinging to guns moment — or will the fallout be even worse?

Romney's remark was far more damning: Conservatives were right to view Obama's line about guns and religion as patronizing, says William Saletan at Slate. However, the Democrat also told his audience to be open to the views of others, flatly rejecting "the caricature of hostile white voters as racists." Romney, on the other hand, courts the masses in public, then badmouths us in private, and in this case, wrote us off entirely. The GOP slams Obama for failing to unite the country, but Mitt isn't "even trying."
"Half-hearted Mitt"

Obama was the truly offensive one: "Obama's 'bitter clingers' line was far more insulting and contemptuous than anything Romney said," says John Hayward at Human Events. But you wouldn't know that from listening to biased liberal media analysts, who are clearly "happy to play up Romney's 'gaffe' far more than they ever did with Obama." Indeed, "less than a day later, I would wager Romney's video has already been screened and quoted more often by mainstream media outlets than Barack Obama's 'bitter clingers' video has been shown over the past four years." What a travesty.
"Mitt Romney and the 47 percent"

They're both equally stupid: Face it, we now have to choose between two candidates who have "contempt for their fellow Americans," says William Kristol at The Weekly Standard. In fact, both insulted their own supporters — Obama was talking about voters in the Democratic primaries, and Mitt forgets that a "good chunk of the 47 percent who don't pay income taxes are Romney supporters." I still hope Romney wins, but his comments were just as "arrogant and stupid" as Obama's.
"A note on Romney's arrogant and stupid remarks"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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