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The Romney campaign's strategy for damage control can be seen emerging full force in Mitt Romney Doubles Down To Neil Cavuto On Hidden Camera Video Remarks reported by Andrew Kirell, of Mediate, Mary Matalin's spin control on CNN transcribed below, and Reince Preibus' release of President Obama's 1998 comment on redistribution of wealth, already reported on Daily Kos.

Mitt Romney gave his first live interview to respond to the controversial video tapes to Neal Cavuto, of Fox News. Cavuto presented Romney with Obama's claim that he “disdainfully wrote off half the nation.”

“We were talking about a campaign and how he is going to get close to half the vote,” Romney responded, “and I’m going to get half the vote. I hope I will get 50.1% or more.” ... “Frankly, we have two different views about America,” he continued. “The president’s view is one of a larger government. There is a tape that came out where is the president is saying he likes redistribution. I disagree.”
Cavuto then asked about comments that he has “kissed half the electorate goodbye and called them “moochers.” Romney responded:

No, I’m talking about a perspective of individuals who I’m not likely to get to support me. I recognize that those people who are not paying income tax are going to say, ‘Gosh, this provision that Mitt keeps talking about lowering income taxes,’ that’s not going to be attractive to them. And those that are dependent on government and those that think government’s job is redistribute — I’m not going to get them.
He continued on to explain that “I don’t expect to get 60 to 70-percent of the vote. I understand some portion will be the president’s, some portion will be mine. I’ve got to get as many as I can from every single cohort in this country.”

The spin continues below.

Romney then "clarified the confusion" about the his 47% comment:

Romney then clarified, once more, what he meant by his controversial “47-percent” remarks on the hidden camera video: “The intent I want to talk about was the fact you have a great divide about whether we want a government that is larger and more intrusive and redistributing income or instead you want to have government protecting freedom and opportunity and letting more people build more wealth.”

This morning. Donald Trump said Mitt Romney has nothing to apologize for. Romney concluded saying “this is a decision about the course of America.”

Mediate has the full video, at the link above.  

CNN Discussion

I then watched CNN where Joe Johns, Hillary Rosen, and Mary Matalin discussed Romney's Fox appearance. This is my imperfect attempt to transcribe it.

Mary Matalin says this is not a gaffe, but a clarification about Mitt Romney's refuting the "redistributionist model" advanced by President Obama, and Democrat's "culture of dependency." and agreed with Joe Johns that this will galvanize the Republican base. She went on to say "there are makers and takers, there are producers and parasites," and Romney is trying to protect the people that paid into Social Security and Medicare who may not get a returns because of its expansion to include "moochers."

When asked by Joe Johns if she thought Romney should apologize she responsed, "why should he apologize, Joe.  ... while actual Americans have been cutting back, the government is spending more, (he should) make this case loudly and clearly, because it is the essence of the campaign," as the Republicans want to get people out of poverty, while the Democrats measure success by the size of government spending.

Hillary says "heres the real challenge for Mitt Romney... start talking about what he would do.

Hilary Rosen responded by saying the issue is not about the 47% who do not pay taxes, but rather his comment that "his jobs was not to care about those people." Unfortunately, I lost much of her response as I was trying to transcribe Matalin's comment.  

Although, I don't think it will work, this is a stronger response from Team Romney than I expected. Their Rapid Response Team seem to be improving, perhaps, based on so much practice at damage control. Late last night I was expecting today's headlines to be declaring "stick a fork in him, he's done."  Now, one might almost get the impression conservatives are happy about this release as it focuses public attention on "one of their strongest messages."

Whao! My head is spinning. This post is already too long, and my purpose is to bring you this documentation of how the Republicans are trying to spin this, and how broadcast media is playing this story, so we can work up our best counter, not to give you my opinion of it, so I submit this information for your discussion and analysis in the comments.  


One angle I see here, and from other reports this morning, is a Republican damage control strategy to work the "false equivalency' angle -- of two equal and opposite gaffes.  GOP spin-meisters seem to be saying, "while Romney's remarks might have been 'inelegant' they are basically the "fair and balanced" opposing view of President Obama's double gaffe of his 1998 "redistribution of wealth statement,  and his "mid-westerner clutching to their guns and religion" comment that Paul Ryan was pushing yesterday.  

So, in the bizarre world of Republican spin, even if you admitted this was a gaffe, which Mary Matalin refuses to do, Romney still has another "gaffe to give" before he catches up with Obama's two. So, this makes things about even.  Gak!

But, on a plus side, the public doesn't seem to be buying this. I posted Intrade's Obama's share price surging to 8% to 67% in the last week. The betting markets see Romney's campaign imploding. And, the majority of Joe Johns segments have more of a done of shock and dismay at the magnitude of Romney's insult to the American people.

I look forward to your help shredding this incredible alternative GOP reality in the comments.

3:10 PM PT: I think this is a complete disaster for Romney that he will not be able to recover from. I only presented this bizarre spin above, without much comment because it was already long, and I wanted you all to have the basic facts of how Team Romney has rolled out this desperate damage control effort.  

But, these comments are so bad, I expect his numbers will be dropping everywhere in the rest of the week, following the implosion we already see on Intrade, which is often a leading indicator.

I had just started writing up a devastating editorial in the NYT suggesting Romney was leading a class war against the poor.  

Breaking, the Obama campaign just tweeted this:

Stand with the candidate who is fighting for all Americans
And, a spokesperson said "I don't think students are victims."
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