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Editorial: The story behind the ‘47 percent’ video

Even in New Hampshire, whose residents have more access to presidential candidates than those in any other state, it has become harder and harder to know who the candidates really are and what they really think. Presidential contenders, especially those at the top of the field, are guarded, stage-managed, trained to remain relentlessly “on message,” and adept at avoiding tough questions and tailoring their remarks to the audience at hand. Getting behind the veneer is difficult, which is why Scott Prouty did the nation a great service by filming and eventually releasing Mitt Romney’s remarks to the attendees at a $50,000-per-plate campaign fundraiser in Boca Raton, Fla. Those remarks included Romney’s infamous contention that the “47 percent of people who are dependent on government, who believe they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them . . .” will vote for President Obama no matter what he did or said. “My job is not to worry about those people,” Romney said.

By releasing his video of Romney uttering those words, Prouty, a 38-year-old Florida bartender and Boston-area native, doomed a campaign that at one point was running neck and neck with Obama’s.

Prouty is a blue-collar guy who attended Northeastern University, has bounced around in jobs and been in debt. He was politically aware, passionate about fair treatment of workers and clearly politically astute, but until he filmed Romney, he had not been very active politically. He brought his camera with him to the fundraiser because at a previous event for Bill Clinton, the former president had chatted with the staff and posed for pictures with them. Romney, he thought, might do the same thing. He didn’t. He chided the staff for slow service.

Prouty, so he told David Corn of Mother Jones and others during media interviews, filmed Romney since no one had told employees not to do so. He perked up when he heard the candidate talk of how he went to China with other Bain Capital employees. “When I was back in my private-sector days, we went to China to buy a factory there. It employed about 20,000 people. And they were almost all young women between the ages of about 18 and 22 or 23. They were saving for potentially becoming married, and they work at these huge factories,” Romney said. The women lived “12 to a room” in a building surrounded by “a huge fence with barbed wire and guard towers.” Bain subsequently invested in the Chinese factory.

This wasn’t the version of Romney that people who couldn’t afford $50,000 per-plate fundraisers met on the campaign trail, Prouty thought. And after agonizing for weeks about the fate of his job and his coworkers, and retaliation by Romney supporters, he released portions of the video anonymously. The whole tale is too long to tell here, but last week Prouty stepped out of the shadows to explain why he did what he did.

“You shouldn’t have to pay $50,000 to hear what a candidate really thinks,” he told MSNBC host Ed Shultz. Amen to that, and thanks.

Legacy Comments7

Funny how both you guys Itsa(what?) and Rabbit blame the messenger but not the message. The right set up phony operatives(remember Acorn and O'Keefe) to do their undercover dirty work. This man wanted to be President so ANYTHING he had to say should be heard by all not just fifty thousand dollar donors. Believe me if Romney had mentioned in his convention speech about his China factory with the barbed wire fence around it even the party of the rich would have dumped him.

Believe me if President Obama was having a private political fund raiser, and a caterer filmed him withoout his knowledge, then got in touch with say Fox News about the video, you would be screaming from the rafters about how that caterer was a plant by the Reps, and how what he filmed was taken out of context. And what Mitt said was taken out of context and spun over and over by the lame stream media that is in the bag for President Obama. Funny how you say that everybody should know what goes on in private fundraisers. Does that apply to President Obama also Tillie? My guess is no.

Rabbit forget about political fundraisers, do you agree with what Romney said? It was not takien out of context, the whole speech is there for anyone to hear. So you feel it is alright for your President to own factories in China that exploit workers, never mind closing factories in the US? Is that ok with you? Romney never said it was out of context all he said was he could have phrased it differently. So it would have been the same only sugar coated.

Here are my answers Tillie. President Obama invests in pension funds that invest in companies in China and other foreign countries. Look it up. So what he accuses Romney of he does with his own investments. 2 Pension funds, one based in the Cayman Islands. He got caught on it in a debate. He was asked by Romney if he looked at his investments lately, and Obama said he does not read his investments. As far as campaign startegy goes. Which is what the fundraiser was about. I agree with Romney. He will not get folks who are dependent on govt to ever vote for him. Anymore than when Obama said these folks cling to their guns and their religion. It is called campaign strategy. It is not pretty but is the truth. And our President has outsource quite a few jobs overseas with the stimulus money. Billions in fact. Look it up. So basically it all boils down to the same thing. Forgive, ignore and hide what President Obama does. Even if he is doing the same things he critisizes his enemies of doing.

Not very informative. Did Prouty get fired from his catering job where I would assume when they work any event they are suppose to be sure they practice confidentiality? That would involve not filming someone without their knowledge be it Romney or President Obama. My guess it that catering company just might have lost business because of Prouty. Did he pay his back taxes? He had a lien on him since 2006 from the IRS for 15 grand I believe. President Obama thanked him last month for what he did. Is that okay that a President thinks this is correct behavior? My guess is that if Prouty had filmed President Obama at an event he would not be classified as a hero.

Ed Schulz? WOW! we see where the Monitor editors get their information and news. I wonder what Obama folks say behind closed door fundraisers and meetings. I bet that would be chilling but it would never be allowed to be repeated by the press.

"Clinging to their guns and their religion" the above comment - which appeared all over the media after Obama said it, proves your statement wrong itsa.

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