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New Mexico Telegram » Featured, Senate » Wilson responds to Romney’s 47 percent comments

Wilson responds to Romney’s 47 percent comments

Heather Wilson responded to Mitt Romney’s controversial comments on the 47 percent of Americans he says will vote for President Barack Obama because they are dependent on the government.

The comments came in a short interview with Capitol Report New Mexico, a website from the libertarian Rio Grande Foundation in a short interview.

The Republican Senate candidate appears to be slightly backing away from Romney’s statement, even expressing support for “the safety net programs.”

In case you can’t watch the video below, here’s the transcript:

Q: Lots of attention was paid to Mitt Romney and the 47 percent remark. Does that hurt Republicans down the…in other races like yours?

A: I don’t know. I’m running my race, and talking about things that matter to New Mexicans. I think it’s been a really lousy economy and I’m very glad that we have the safety net programs that are there for people and I don’t think we take any of that for granted.

And the video (the question on the 47 percent comment comes at about 27 seconds):

The video is the first reference by the Wilson campaign to the 47 percent comment.

The controversy came after Romney was caught on a secretly-recorded video at a fundraiser saying that 47 percent of Americans pay no income taxes and are “dependent on government” so they will vote for Obama.

“All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent on government, who believe they are victims, who believe the 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. That’s an entitlement. And that government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.”

Previously, Gov. Susana Martinez backed away from Romney’s comments and noted that the 47 percent Romney referred to were a key voting bloc in New Mexico.

According to the Tax Foundation, a conservative think tank, New Mexico has the 4th-highest percentage of residents who do not pay income taxes because of low income and other deductions.

The Tax Policy Center and found that even if the 47 percent number is accurate, a significant chunk pay payroll taxes. Another large chunk of those who do not pay income taxes are elderly who receive deductions. See the breakdown below:

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Matthew Reichbach has blogged about New Mexico politics since 2006. Matthew was a co-founder of New Mexico FBIHOP with his brother and part of the original hirings at the groundbreaking website the New Mexico Independent. Matthew has covered events such as the Democratic National Convention and Netroots Nation. In addition to politics, Matthew is an avid sports fan, especially of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and TV fan.

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