s Mitt Romney continues to stand behind his surreptitiously recorded, admittedly "not elegantly stated" contention to wealthy donors that nearly half of American voters are dependent on government handouts, nursing "victim" complexes, and unlikely to vote for him, Republicans are split between banging their heads on their desks over this "47 percent disaster" and rushing to Romney's defense. David Frum at The Daily Beast is firmly in the head-banging camp, but wryly predicted that the other side would "become the definitive conservative point of view after Rush Limbaugh weighs in." Limbaugh didn't disappoint, calling the secret video "a golden opportunity" for Romney to "take the gloves off and take the fear off and just start explaining conservatism." Instead of a campaign-crushing disaster, could Romney's write-off of the moochers be the reboot he so sorely needs?
Romney can make this a winning issue: Ignore the spin of the Obama-loving media, says Rush Limbaugh. "When [Romney] talks to his donors about these 47 percent that are locked into Obama, he does it with disappointment, sadness," but not resignation. He's not giving up on them. And now that he's got their attention, he has a "golden opportunity" to explain why his conservative policies will free them. "It's sitting there on a silver platter," but Romney has to "get out there, take this by the horns, turn it into a positive," and convince people that if they vote Romney "they don't have to be in that 47 percent."
"A golden opportunity for Mitt Romney"
Are you kidding? This is an unmitigated disaster: The politics of Romney's "'47 percent' monstrosity" are terrible, says Joe Klein at TIME. He threw a huge number of his own voters, as well as decades of GOP tax policies, under the bus to play to "the fantasy prejudices of fat cats." Bad move. "Romney's adoption of the Fox-Rush neolibertarian sensibility" places him "in an impossible position," and now he'll have to "defend his fantasy in the debates." Since he can't, he's "rendered his campaign a parachute jump into quicksand, and he is sinking fast."
"Bitter, clinging moochers"
It all depends. Will Romney rise to the occasion? Look, "everyone gets knocked down in politics," and the good candidates get back up again, says Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post. The leaked video could be a turning point for Team Romney, "the wake-up call it needs to sharpen" its message. He has about two weeks to use this "bad September" as the foundation for a strong October. If he can "close strong on the economy," Romney "could well emerge in a month's time on the receiving end of a series of 'what didn't kill Mitt Romney made him stronger' stories."
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