WASHINGTON - Advisers to Mitt Romney are conceding that the video of his comments at a fundraiser earlier this year has come at a bad time -- seven weeks before election day, and with early voting getting under way in two dozen states. But they dispute the notion that Romney's comments could fundamentally change the presidential race.
On the tape, Romney is heard saying that nearly half of Americans "believe they are victims" and are dependent on the government -- and that those people will vote for President Barack Obama no matter what.
The Obama campaign is working to spread the quotes to any voters who haven't already heard them. The Democrats have emailed a fundraising appeal to supporters, and posted a video online in which voters are asked to watch Romney's comments and respond.
After the video was posted on the Mother Jones magazine website, Romney told reporters that while his comments were "not elegantly stated," he stood by his remarks.
Campaigning today in New Hampshire, running mate Paul Ryan focused on the limited-government argument, without mentioning the video. He promised that he and Romney would put Americans back to work rather than encourage dependency on the government.
Obama hasn't commented publicly on the video, but could do so today when he tapes an interview with David Letterman and delivers remarks at a fundraiser.
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