With less than 50 days to go before the U.S. Presidential election, Mitt Romney's campaign is trying to put out a big fire today.
Last night, a video came out that shows Romney making derogatory comments about Americans who receive benefits from the government. In the video, which was secretly recorded and released by Mother Jones magazine, Romney says...
"There are 47 per cent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what... who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe that 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."
He added: "These are people who pay no income tax."
Romney went on to suggest they wouldn't get much help from him if he became president, saying that his role "is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Have a listen.
After the video came out, the Romney campaign quickly called a news conference. Romney confirmed the video was authentic but he didn't apologize.
He stood by what he said, saying only that his comments were not "elegantly stated" and that he had "spoken off the cuff". In the same news conference, Romney insisted he wanted to help all Americans and said that Obama's policies are "attractive to people who do not pay taxes."
Take a look.
As for the secret video, President Barack Obama's campaign called it "shocking." In a statement, Obama's campaign manager said "It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation."
Mother Jones says the video was recorded a few months ago at a private fund-raising event, after Romney had clinched the Republican nomination.
To protect the identity of the person who gave Mother Jones the tape, the magazine blurred out the video and didn't say where the fundraiser was held.
Romney trails Obama by about three percentage points in the polls. And this isn't the first time he's made these type of remarks.
During the primary campaign, Romney said he was "not concerned" about the very poor, and said that his wife drove a "couple of Cadillacs."
All of it has helped the Democrats paint Romney as a rich guy who is out of touch and doesn't understand the concerns of average Americans.
Not only that, but Romney's comments in the video aren't exactly accurate. A lot of people that he includes in the 47%, actually do pay tax.
It might not be federal income tax, but they pay other forms of taxes such as payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, sales taxes, property taxes and state and local taxes.
Other Americans don't pay income tax because their income is too low. Of the 47% Romney talks about, about half of them don't pay because their income is under $26,400.
About three-quarters of the remaining people who don't pay income tax are either senior citizens or low-income working families with children who are eligible for certain tax breaks.
For example, according to the Tax Policy Center, more than 16 million seniors in America don't pay federal income tax because they get tax breaks that apply only to them. And of course, many of them paid into the system all their lives.
As well, families that make between $50,000 and $100,000 often don't owe any income tax because they get breaks for their kids and for education.
You can read the full study from the Tax Policy Center here.