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Mitt Romney's 'corporations are people' gaffe

On the campaign trail at the Iowa State Fair, the GOP 2012 hopeful inadvertently coins a phrase that's bound to be used against him

The video: It wasn't all deep-fried Twinkies and Tilt-a-Whirls for Mitt Romney at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday. Speaking just hours before a critical debate in the Hawkeye State, the Republican presidential frontrunner unintentionally uttered what's already becoming a much-mocked one-liner. When volunteers from a liberal think tank, Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement, confronted Romney about his plan to reduce the deficit by cutting entitlement spending rather than raising taxes, one of them shouted: "[What about] corporations!" Romney quickly shot back: "Corporations are people, my friend... Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to the people."

The reaction: Romney's "accidental one-liner" is "destined for Democratic attack ads should he become the Republican nominee," says Michael P. Falcone at ABC News. "There's a great message for people struggling to get by and make ends meet," says Democratic National Committee spokesperson Brad Woodhouse, as quoted by TIME. "Don't complain — corporations are people too!" Before we get too excited, says Greg Sargent at The Washington Post, consider "the larger context" of Romney's words. He clearly meant that "corporations are made up of people, and that when you tax corporations, you also end up taxing the people who comprise them." Well, this is "probably not the way he wanted that to come out," says John Marshall at Talking Points Memo. "Oops."

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