Quickly going viral, the video has provoked, if not an apology, at least an admission that his comments were ill advised.
In the secretly-filmed video, Romney tells a group of wealthy Republican Party contributors that Americans who vote for Obama are nothing more than a load of lazy, self-entitled freeloaders.
Romney airs his beliefs that almost half of the U.S population are stuck in a victim mentality, believing that the government should look after them without their having to contribute anything.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax,” Romney says, in the video obtained by liberal magazine Mother Goose.
Later in his speech, talking about his father, Romney says: “Had he been born of Mexican parents, I’d have a better shot of winning this.”
In the wake of an outcry over the video, whose source in unknown, Romney called a hasty press conference in which he went some way towards apologising to the 47% of Americans he has now almost certainly alienated.
While Romney has not taken back any of his comments, he admitted they were “not elegantly stated”.
Obama’s camp has been swift to respond, calling the comments “shocking”.