Tonight, 'secret' video surfaced of Mitt Romney talking about the fact that 47% of Americans are currently on the government rolls and most do not pay taxes at all, is the same number of supporters that Obama is currently garnering in the polls, while speaking at a private fundraiser in Florida. He happened to make about $10 million at these fundraisers.
I happened to log into Twitter nearly as this 'story' was 'breaking' and I had the same reaction that I think (at least) 53% of Americans will have about it. "So what?!?! What is the story here?" These are the facts, this is what Mitt Romney has been saying for months, this is nothing new. But you wouldn't know that if you follow any prominent members of the media or the "professional left" on Twitter whose reaction to the video was akin to a tantric release.
If you weren't around last week, there were several of this same class saying Romney's comments regarding Libya were "the end of the election." You may find it funny that this same class was saying the exact same thing about what this video will do, "this is the end of his campaign." These two overreactions are emblematic of what the press has become in 2012. They are full-on, Obama Warriors. They will do anything to protect Mr. Obama and that particularly means expediting, and exploding anything Romney has done or said that might reflect negatively on his candidacy.
The bottom line is that this "story" really isn't a story. The "story" exists because the press hopes that by covering it in their Obama-friendly way, they will sway independent voters in Obama's way, but it's mainly because they believe that what Romney said is somehow another notch in the "he's out of touch" belt. The problem? Regardless of the facts, a hell of a lot more of American voters believe what Romney said in the fundraiser is true.
And in fact, it is true that 47 percent of Americans who file tax returns end up paying no net income taxes. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 52 percent of all Americans receive some sort of government assistance. While Romney did not mention the latter in certain terms, his musings about the former is an entrenched sentiment among the electorate, and one that is a driving force behind the notion that Obama indeed does enjoy electoral success because of these numbers.
Now, as a Republican, conservative and Romney supporter, I was pleased as punch to see him come out with a very quick press conference. In the press conference, Romney was steadfast in his resolve and stood by every word of what he said, although he claimed he might say it more "elegantly" in a public setting. The reaction in the press was one of disbelief, just as it was when he held the press conference last week about his statement regarding the consulate in Libya.
You see, the press wants Romney to play into every negative narrative there is about him. So what that means is they want Romney to "repent" for the statements they see as "controversial" or full-fledged gaffes, because they know that when he does, he will be perceived by the Republican base as "weak." They know that making Romney tact "back to the center" by "walking back" comments they themselves deem "controversial" makes him look unappealing to those voters in the center, and the added bonus if he complies is that his base vote could (potentially) be weakened, it's a win-win for them. There's been a problem with this, and it's only started last week.
It's that the Romney campaign has fully caught on to what is happening. The press seems to be viewed by the Romney campaign, (and most definitely should be if it isn't) as nothing but surrogates for the Obama campaign. In a week where a United States Ambassador was killed along with three other Americans, the first four days of the week the press led with the Romney "gaffe?" I mean, come on!
Much like the Libyan story-the real story, the light of the truth will shine through the procedural nature of this "fundraising video" and the press will be left twiddling their thumbs. Romney has already jumped on this with the press conference tonight, not backing down when the press is asking him to, to further a second narrative.
I can promise you, by the end of the week, the only "gaffe" that has been committed is by the press, to unify and perhaps strengthen a once-weary base behind Mitt Romney. You know, it is they who have been trying to push the "he's not your guy either, conservatives" narrative since the primary was over. You can read what you want from the video and Mitt's statements (it may very well have been taped illegally--more on this later if facts bear this out), but the more Mitt Romney sticks to his guns, he is showing the country that he indeed is a man of principles who stands by them-another contra-liberal media narrative. When he's doing that, he's going to be able to charge towards the finish line, and when we look back, if we view this video as anything at all, it will have been a blessing, not the gaffe it's being reported as.
(In entirely unrelated news, North Carolina started early voting today. The story there seems to be that neither campaign is spending much money there, which would indicate a likely Romney victory, and a first of the "3" in Mitt's 3-2-1 strategy to win the election).