Protesters outside the Romney fundraiser in downtown Atlanta Wednesday morning.
Protesters outside the Romney fundraiser in downtown Atlanta Wednesday morning
ATLANTA -- With 47 days to go until the presidential election, Republican nominee Mitt Romney was back in Atlanta to fundraise, but there's another reason Georgia is on his mind -- a secretly recorded video brought to light by former President Jimmy Carter's grandson.
"I am a partisan Democrat," says James Carter. "And I want to help Democrats get elected."
James Carter says he regularly prowls the Internet from his home in metro Atlanta in search of video that can help Democrats and hurt their opponents. In August, he spotted a video on YouTube depicting what appeared to be an unguarded Romney moment.
"It was a little bit mysterious -- hidden camera video, it was blurry and nobody really knew where it was from," Carter said. "So that piqued my interest."
Carter says he finally located the man behind the video, who'd shot it at a private fundraiser for Romney in Florida in May. He told Carter the complete video had even more intriguing material.
Carter wouldn't say how the man got into the fundraiser. "I didn't talk with him about what his motivation was before" he decided to shoot the video, Carter said.
Carter says he convinced the source to release the entire video to Mother Jones magazine, for which Carter had done research previously. The video shows Romney in blunt characterization of supporters of President Obama.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right -- there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims," Romney is seen saying to supporters.
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Romney's Georgia campaign chairman, Attorney General Sam Olens, called the language "ineloquent," but doesn't dispute the basic premise.
"I don't have an objection to the comment," Olens said. "The point -- that we need to be encouraging the private sector rather than government -- I think is a very salient point."
After the video came to light, Carter said he got an e-mail from his grandfather, former President Jimmy Carter. Carter says the former president wrote "That's extraordinary. Congratulations."
Carter noted that the former president has gotten rough treatment from Republicans for 30 years. He says that's not what drives him, however.
"I've gotten a lot of messages on Twitter from supporters who say that it's poetic justice. That it was a Carter who found this video that is causing the Romney campaign trouble right now. And I definitely agree with that sentiment wholeheartedly," Carter said.
Olens says every politician running for office should always assume their words are being recorded.
"I'm glad that they don't" make that assumption, Carter said. "A candidate is more likely to reveal what they actually think during unguarded moments, than they are when they're given scripted speeches."
Romney's fundraiser was at the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta.