“Mitt Romney, recognizing the damage to his campaign, Wednesday night backed off his statement from earlier this year that he wouldn’t contend for the support of the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes,” Jonathan Martin reported from Coral Gables, Fla., for Politico.
” ‘My campaign is about the 100 percent of America,’ Romney said in his opening comments at a Univision forum here.
“Romney repeated the phrase, ‘the 100 percent,’ three more times in his initial statement.
“It was the furthest the Republican presidential nominee has gone to clean up an issue that has dogged him for three consecutive days. Romney, in remarks that were surreptitiously taped, said at a high-dollar fundraiser in May that the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay income taxes were sure to back President Obama.”
Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, and President Obama agreed to participate in separate “Meet the Candidate” events with Univision after the Spanish-language network, the journalist of color associations and civil rights groups protested the failure of the Commission on Presidential Debates to include journalists of color as moderators of the presidential and vice presidential face-offs.
An announcer touted the event as “historic” as Romney fielded questions about immigration, education, the Mexican drug war, same-sex marriage, health-care reform, unemployment and the role of the Spanish language. Two of the questions — about Pell grants and student debt — were asked by journalism or communications students.
“The Wednesday evening event marked a chance for Mr. Romney to tone down some of the charged rhetoric that has sidetracked his campaign in recent days and may have alienated voters during the GOP primaries,” Sara Murray concluded in the Wall Street Journal.
The audience was filled with “students of the University of Miami that are Republican,” as the announcer said, providing the candidate with consistent, enthusiastic cheers. But viewers conversing on social media noted that while Romney tried to make some of his policies more palatable — “We’re not going to round up people around the country and deport them,” he said — he also used the term “illegal alien,” which many Hispanic leaders revile.