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Leaked video reveals partisan nature of campaign season

Mitt Romney speaking at Andrews Field House at Wofford College in Spartanburg, S.C. in January. Photo: AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

The most talked about campaign story this week centers on videos posted by Mother Jones, which show a candid Mitt Romney speaking at a private fundraiser about issues ranging from Iran’s nuclear potential to the current administration’s “naive” foreign policy views.

Most of the subsequent media coverage has focused on the “dependent” video, in which Romney suggests that people who have voted, or will vote for President Barack Obama see themselves as “victims,” who pay no income tax and wish to rely on the government for life’s basic necessities: food, healthcare, “you-name-it.”

In response to the controversial clip, Romney said, “It’s not elegantly stated, let me put it that way. I’m speaking off-the-cuff in response to a question and I’m sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that. And I’m sure I’ll point that out as time goes on.” Team Obama, for its part, released this campaign video in response.

But for all the hubbub about victimization and government handouts, another video in the Mother Jones set offers more insight into the current campaign cycle and to the political climate in Washington.

In the clip, Romney suggests several ways for his supporters to approach potential swing voters.

He posits that these people don’t want to be told they were wrong for voting for the president in 2008, but instead, “they want to believe they did the right thing, but [President Obama] just wasn’t up to the task.”

Romney continues,

But you see, you and I, we spend our day with Republicans. We spend our days with people who agree with us. And these people are people who voted for him and don’t agree with us. And so the things that animate us are not the things that animate them.

Romney’s comments offer an unusually blunt explanation of the bleakly partisan nature of the election season. From the “us” and “them” rhetoric to the idea that Republicans and Democrats are never inspired by the same goals, this kind of talk runs rampant in political campaigns.

We want to know what you think. Are political candidates — mandated with representing the people living and working in environments that are far too insular? How can policy-makers effectively solicit meaningful debate or encourage bipartisan cooperation in any capacity if they surround themselves only with like-minded staffers, friends and funders?

Do you believe politicians ought to do more to reach across the aisle? Or, in an election season, does it make more sense for candidates to focus primarily on their core supporters? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


  • Charles_coursey

    I really hate it when either party focuses on their core supporters because, on both sides, their core supporters champion positions that are unworkable and extreme. Both parties endanger the commonweal with their pandering to their respective peanut galleries.

  • Nrknowles

    I wish they could? but they can’t T.E.A. prattey govern no comens even for consertive  

  • Larry

    There is a huge gulf between Republicans and Democrats: For Republicans its all about money and power and if you don’t have it you dont matter to them; For Democrats its all about what’s best for the people, the country and the future. Both sides focus on their core supporters because the other side is never going to change their motivation and goals. Rank and file Republicans will never concede that their party has hoodwinked them and that all their rosy words are merely what they say, not what they do. Republicans without money and power don’t matter to them either but they continue to hang in there. One would think there was enough obvious evidence that being a Republican is not in their best interests. I just don’t understand it. They must be Lemmings.
    It would be great if congress could learn to compromise and get the people’s business taken care of, but that doesn’t seem to be their primary goal. Whatever happened to the “being a servant of the people” motivation?

  • lubo

    What we need is a strong third party, or maybe a fourth party. The two ‘main’ parties are basically the same, they only exist to elect themselves to power and money from the lobbyists. We need to get back to the people being the most important element, not corporations, foreign lobbyist etc. I for one will be voting Libertarian in this election. I am just sick of the ‘political ads’ on the media, they act like a bunch of school children. I apologize to school children, they act much more civilized than the republicans and democrats.

  • justinother poorman

    These candidates are just telling there supporters what they want to hear. Lets fix the problem! I don’t think I know anyone that has ever checked the little box that allows the IRS to contribute your tax refund to the campaign fund. So, is it really fair to judge what a candidate says to group of supporters. If a person running for elected office could only get money from a pool were ( all the people contribute), perhaps, how and what they say would be better thought out. Politics is the way it is in this country because we all just sit back and blame the system. Well, Lets fix the system make your representative represent you, That takes your time and money.