Voters in battleground states on Romney's '47 percent' comment (+video)
Insensitive and out of touch? Or simply speaking the cold hard truth? Voters in the states still up for grabs have different opinions on the impact of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's controversial '47 percent' comment.
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Student Morgan Palmer said he needs his college loan to get through Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va. But he doesn't consider himself a government dependent. "I was really shocked," the 18-year-old freshman from Chantilly, Va., said. "This is a long-term investment, not short-term dependency."Skip to next paragraph
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Outside LaCrosse, Wis., however, retired mortgage loan officer Shirley Otto said Romney was merely delivering an unvarnished version of the straight talk the nation needs to hear.
"I'd rather be told the truth ... than be told something just to win an election," Otto said.
Romney's comments were recorded without his awareness at a private May fundraiser in Florida. They were provided to the magazine Mother Jones, which released them Monday.
By that evening, they had aired on evening news broadcasts in key battleground markets such as Denver and Milwaukee. By Tuesday morning, The Des Moines Register in Iowa and The Columbus Dispatch in Ohio featured front-page headlines about Romney's words.
They were the buzz outside a Joe Biden campaign rally in Ottumwa, Iowa, that morning, as they were at Phil Hopkins' paint store near, Columbus, Ohio. "It's kind of refreshing for someone to actually tell the truth for once," said Hopkins, an independent who supports Romney.
Unlike questions about diplomatic leadership that surfaced after deadly demonstrations at U.S. embassies in the past week, the attention over Romney's unguarded comments went to the heart of the presidential campaign's central issue, the economy, and the candidates' competing views of the government's role in the lives of millions of Americans out of work and living in financial uncertainty.
Romney, a wealthy former businessman who served a term as Massachusetts governor, neither disavowed nor apologized for the comments. He has said Obama has fueled government dependence, and he's now drawing attention to 1998 statements Obama made about redistribution of government resources, seeking to paint him as an enemy of the free-market solutions Romney prescribes.
On Wednesday, Romney said during a fundraiser in Atlanta that economic success "does not work by a government saying, 'Become dependent upon government.'"