Democratic strategist weighs in on Romney video

Political commentator urges KSU students to vote

By Katheran Wasson Published:

Veteran Democratic strategist Donna Brazile weighed in Tuesday on the video of Mitt Romney that’s gone viral this week.

During a guest lecture at Kentucky State University, Brazile said the video captured the Republican presidential contender “saying things that I don’t think people should say in private or in public.”

Recorded at a Florida fundraiser in May, it shows Romney saying 47 percent of Americans don’t pay taxes, believe they are entitled to extensive government support, and are bound to vote for President Barack Obama.

“My job is not to worry about those people,” he said in the video, posted late Monday afternoon on Mother Jones magazine’s website.

Romney has since told reporters that while his comments were “not elegantly stated,” he stood by his remarks.

“What he said, ladies and gentlemen, was wrong, it was cruel and it was mean-spirited,” Brazile said, before reading quotes from the video.

“The last time I checked, the president of the United States of America represented all of the people, not just the people who vote for him, but the people who don’t vote for him as well.”

Brazile, a fixture on CNN and network political talk shows, said she believes the government is meant to advance the common good of the country and look out for its citizens.

She noted that as a business owner, she pays quarterly taxes.

“I do believe that I am my brother’s, as well as my sister’s keeper, and I also believe the Bible is right ‘To whom much is given, much is required,’” she said.

“When I pay my taxes, I know I am paying for the safety, security and welfare of all the American people.”

That includes financial support for veterans coming home from overseas, she said, better roads and bridges, quality education for American children, clean air and drinking water – and even the salaries of congressmen and women.

“Whether you’re in the 47 percent or not, we’re all Americans, and we’re all in this together,” she said.

“This election is not just about the moochers or the takers – all the things I read on the Internet this morning were so cruel – this election is about the future of all of us.”

Brazile, vice chair of voter registration and participation with the Democratic National Committee and former chair of the DNC’s Voting Rights Institute, urged students to vote in the November election.

Before and after the lecture, students registered to vote at a table outside the auditorium. She encouraged them to use social media to remind their friends to vote too.

She also touched on voter ID laws, which she likened to the “poll taxes” her grandparents paid to vote during the Jim Crow era because of the cost to obtain a photo ID.

“This is one of the most consequential elections in our lifetime, and the stakes could not be higher,” she said. “Your vote is your voice, it’s your power.”

Brazile said America needs leaders willing to work for the common good and reach across the aisle to compromise.

That hasn’t happened since Obama was elected in 2008, she said. Republican leaders have opposed the president, used filibusters and technical procedures to hinder his progress and focused on “making him a one-term president.”

Instead, they should be asking how they could help the president lift America out of the recession, she said.

“For the last three and a half years, I’ve watched my colleagues on the other side do nothing but sit back and throw sticks and stones at the president, as he’s tried to get us out of the worst recession since the Great Depression,” she said.

“Yes, I’m speaking to Sen. (Mitch) McConnell – I’ve said it to his face, and I’ll say it to you,” she said, referencing Kentucky’s longtime senator and the Senate’s current minority leader.

America is “in the thick of a major fight” over the role of government, Brazile said. She acknowledged that both Obama and Romney have made mistakes in their careers.

“At the end of the day, you have to take a close look at both candidates, and you have to determine where they want to take us,” she said.

“And ladies and gentlemen, I’ll only use one word to describe where I want to go: I want to go forward.”

Brazile, a New Orleans native, worked on every Democratic presidential campaign from 1976 through 2000, when she served as campaign manager for Al Gore, becoming the first African-American woman to manage a presidential campaign.

Brazile is founder and managing director of Brazile & Associates LLC, a general consulting, grassroots advocacy and training firm in Washington, D.C. She is the author of the memoir “Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in American Politics.”

She has appeared as an on-air contributor for CNN and ABC. She also is a syndicated columnist for United Media and has written for “Ms. Magazine” and “O,” the Oprah Magazine.

Brazile told the crowd that she’s worked on seven presidential campaigns, 58 congressional campaigns and 19 state and local campaigns in 48 states during her career. She joked that with two more states she’d “become Miss USA without the bikini.”

She also cracked a few jokes about her former boss, Al Gore, inventing the Internet and his controversial loss of the 2000 presidential election.

“Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose – but rarely on the same night,” she said to laughter from the crowd.

Since that loss, she’s returned to the classroom as an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. She’s also been active in the cleanup and rebuilding of her native New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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  • "hear"...I hate this thing.

  • It is already well documented that Willard Mitt Romney was in the 14% tax bracket for the money that he is declaring here in the US...well below what the rest of us pay. It is well documented that Mitt has offshore accounts. For all Mitt Romney’s touting of his business record, when it comes to his own money the Republican nominee is remarkably shy about disclosing numbers and investments. Nicholas Shaxson of Vanity Fair delved into the murky world of offshore finance, revealing loopholes that allow the very wealthy to skirt tax laws, and investigating just how much of Romney’s fortune (with $30 million in Bain Capital funds in the Cayman Islands alone?) looks pretty strange for a presidential candidate. As Newt Gingrich put it during the primary season, “I don’t know of any American president who has had a Swiss bank account.” But Romney has, as well as other interests in such tax havens as Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. To give but one example, there is a Bermuda-based entity called Sankaty High Yield Asset Investors Ltd., which has been described in securities filings as “a Bermuda corporation wholly owned by W. Mitt Romney.” Need4speed, you can here the (dog) whistle blowing, can't you? It is a big train and in November it is going to run over this GOP Southern Strategy for the last time.

  • Steve: The magic underwear comment refers to garments worn under the outer clothing by devout mormons. t=The purpose of said garment is to protect the wearer from all manners of evil, both physical and spiritual. Calling this "magic underwear" is akin to calling a Jew's yarmelke (sp?) a "beanie" or a Sikh's turban a "handtowel". Uncool.___________ from 1713..Contrary to Need4speed's assertion to the contrary, it definitely is NOT a fact that "anybody critical of President Obama is immediately labeled as a racist by the left." I beg to differ sir. You have been one of the worst no matter what moniker you have used to post on site. It's funny to hear the howling of the "yellow dog democrats" when one of their own rocks gets tossed back at them.

  • it's already been well documented mitt paid more in taxes last year than most of us make in a year, ukfan. the question is, does he not wish to reveal all of his income and where he has it squirreled away, or is he honestly fed up with answering the question, and critics would never be happy with what he showed them anyway? in mitt's mind, he's earned every dollar he's ever made strictly on his own intelligence and hard work. the little people he's stepped on on the way up have been inconsequential, and it's their own fault if they're unlucky, inept, untrained, elderly, infirmed, or displaced. so the question voters need to ask themselves, can mitt step on enough people to make your life better?

  • Yep it takes a lot of nerve to question how much taxpayers are paying in taxes when you won't even show the country YOUR tax returns. Could it be that Mitt is part of the 47% that didn't pay ANY taxes? Inquiring minds want to know....hmmm....

  • Funny that any longtime politician would criticize others over entitlements & living off taxpayers money. Romney is ultra rich & has had more entitlements during his office terms than most could probally imagine. I don't like him & certainy will not vote for him.

  • Contrary to Need4speed's assertion to the contrary, it definitely is NOT a fact that "anybody critical of President Obama is immediately labeled as a racist by the left." That is just hogwash. But there IS a lot of dog whistle politics going on in this election, that is for sure. And it is plenty ugli. ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup (i.e. rednecks). The phrase is only ever used as a pejorative, because of the inherently deceptive nature of the practice and because the dog-whistle messages are frequently themselves distasteful, for example by empathizing with racist attitudes. It is an analogy to dog whistles, which are built in such a way that their high-frequency whistle is heard by dogs, but is inaudible to humans. ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ The GOP's use of the term "welfare queens" is designed to rouse racial resentment among white working-class voters against minorities. In a 2008 TV ad for Republican presidential candidate John McCain, he called then candidate Obama "The One," which was a dog-whistled to evangelical Christians who believed Obama might be the Antichrist. John McCain also referred to then candidate Obama as "That One." onstage in a TV debate. A Tea Party spokeswoman was quoted in an interview with CNN as saying President Obama "doesn't love America like we do," thought to be an allusion to Obama's race and to the birth certificate controversy. Who is "we"...white people of course. And Republicans frequently emphasizing Obama's middle name for the same reason. An aide to 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said that Romney would be a better President than Obama because Romney understood the "shared Anglo-Saxon heritage" of the United States and the United Kingdom. Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, and others, have called Obama "the food stamps president" said to be a way of exploiting stereotypes among racially resentful white voters who see food stamps as unearned giveaways to minorities. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, who accused the president of eliminating the work requirement for welfare recipients in various states. Actually, Obama didn't do that; the president simply gave the states more flexibility as long as they still required recipients to work. That didn't stop the Romney campaign from repeating the false claim in political ads, though, sending a racist message to white voters without actually coming out and saying they were talking mainly about low-income black people. They didn't have to as their intended audience knew exactly what they were talking about. The subject came up again just a few days later during a lively CNN discussion with a tea party spokeswoman who claimed the main reason voters weren't comfortable with Obama was because "he's doesn't love America like we do." Phrased like that, there was no need to call him a Muslim or a socialist or question where he was born. Even the "we" was a dog whistle. The most common usage of the term in politics with a black candidate centers on racially charged issues like welfare, crime and food stamps, such as when former GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich called Obama "the food stamps president." The list goes on. ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ The race bomb is already in Need4speed's lap as evidenced by his first comment.

  • magic underwear aside (i have no idea what that means), mitt is simply a devout capitalist, who believes if business is left unfettered, everything else will work itself out. there is a modicum of truth to that, but at what cost to the people who honestly need your help, and damage to the environment? i find it a bit disingenuous of people who know they depend on public assistance to feign indignation. mitt is a known quantity, you just have to ask yourself how benevolent/thoughtful do you wish to be.

  • Religion? Was that the 'magic underwear' reference? It was so obtuse I didn't see (or get) it either.

  • bjos: Apparently you missed my sarcasm. I was refering to the fact that anybody critical of President Obama is immediately labeled as a racist by the left. That is a fact and is demonstrated by many of the posts on this sight. It is interesting that you threw the race bomb back in my lap. The religion was mentioned 1713's post...or did you miss that too?

  • A very well-written, thoughtful article...and all you can see is that she's a black woman. Oh, excuse me, you also managed to bring in religion...none of which were mentioned in the article....I think you're showing your own racism and religious prejudice.....either that or you're clutching at straws.

  • Wow. A black woman speaking out against Mitt Romney. She must be a racist. (works both ways folks). And you really need to get off of that anti-Mormon bias dude.

  • Mitt Romney is a shapeshifting high functioning autistic/Asperger's, he can't help it that he doesn't care about other's feelings and condition. It is part of his disease. Hardly the right stuff for a President...magic underwear or not.