COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Republican Mitt Romney says a video clip in which he called nearly half of Americans "victims" was "not elegantly stated" and was "spoken off the cuff." But he says President Barack Obama's approach is "attractive to people who are not paying taxes."
Romney spoke to reporters Monday evening in a hastily called news conference after the emergence of a video in which the GOP presidential nominee told donors that almost half of American voters "believe that they are victims."
The Republican nominee did not disavow the comments but said they were made during a question-and-answer session. He said it was indicative of his campaign's effort to "focus on the people in the middle."
"It's not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I was speaking off the cuff in response to a question. And I'm sure I could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that," Romney said. "Of course I want to help all Americans. All Americans have a bright and prosperous future."
He continued: "It's a message which I am going to carry and continue to carry which is that the president's approach is attractive to people who are not paying taxes because frankly my discussion about lowering taxes isn't as attractive to them. Therefore I'm not likely to draw them into my campaign as effectively as those in the middle."
The website of the magazine Mother Jones posted a video of Romney's comments from a private fundraiser.