TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — President Barack Obama said rival Mitt Romney hasn't "gotten around a lot" if he believes that 47 percent of Americans consider themselves victims and entitled to government help. Addressing a large Latino television audience Thursday, the president also said his "biggest failure" was an inability to win an overhaul of the immigration system.
In suggesting his GOP rival was out of touch, Obama was reacting to secretly taped remarks by Romney in which the Republican declared that the 47 percent of voters who support Obama represent Americans who don't pay income taxes and "who believe that government has a responsibility to care for them."
Obama said Americans pay payroll taxes, gas taxes and state and sales taxes. He noted that those who don't pay income taxes include workers who don't make enough money to qualify, older Americans and students.
"When you express an attitude that half the country considers itself victims, that somehow they want to be dependent on government, my thinking is maybe you haven't gotten around a lot," Obama said during an interview with Spanish language channel Univision.
The president later referenced the issue at a Tampa fundraiser, telling supporters he didn't want his daughters and other young people to think "that somehow half of the country is locked out" of pursuing success.
"I want everybody to be successful. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, able or disabled, I want everybody to have a chance to succeed," Obama said.
The forum earlier in the day on the campus of the University of Miami gave Obama a rebuttal of sorts. Romney spoke Wednesday at the Univision forum, where he said his campaign was about "the 100 percent in America."
Obama, who ran on a message of changing the partisan tone in Washington, said he had come to the conclusion that "you can't change Washington from the inside. You can only change it from the outside." He went on to say that what he had accomplished since taking office was due to mobilizing "the American people to speak out."
"So something that I'd really like to concentrate on in my second term is being in a much more constant conversation with the American people so that they can put pressure on Congress to help move some of these issues forward," he said.