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Obama, Romney Comments Don't Matter Much to Voters

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Leah Uko

OMAHA (KPTM) – Multiple comments made from both presidential candidates—both old—both causing controversy amongst politicians, media—but not voters.

Mitt Romney's comments recorded on a hidden camera at a fund-raising event in May show the presidential candidate telling his donors 47 percent of Americans support Obama because they rely on government support.

His comments were recorded with a hidden camera and released on the left-leaning magazine Mothers Jones.

"There are 47 percent who are with him," he said. "Who believe that 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."

He told his donors that Obama's supporters "are people who pay no income tax" and his job is "not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take responsibility and care for their lives."

Romney later also talked about his late father, George, who was born in Mexico.

"Had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this," he continues. "But the was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a numbers of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, it would be helpful to be Latino."

Once these May 17th comments surfaced, fury sparked immediately from Latino voters and many Republicans—making it easy for the Obama Campaign to use Romney's remarks against him.

But the Romney Campaign wasted no time shooting back—they are trying focus on remarks President Obama said 14 years ago.

In a 1998 audio clip, then Illinois state senator Obama is speaking at a conference at Loyola University in Chicago. The president said it's important to "resuscitate this notion that we're all in this thing together, leave nobody behind, we do have to be innovative in thinking how – what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live."

The comment Romney is attacking the hardest: "I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution – because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot."

Alright. So we've read these old comments from President Obama and Romney.

We've heard from both candidates what they think about their own comments and each other's comments.

Now let's hear what some people in Omaha feel about it.

"I'm not sure I trust either one of them," says Louise who hasn't decided who she will vote for in November.

"I think Romney's comments are a lot worse," says Josh Macke.

"They're just slip-ups that happen all the time," says Chris Haberkorn, a medical student at Creighton University. "In my opinion that's not—what Mitt Romney said is not that radical."

For the most part, neither President Obama nor Romney's past comments change their vote, but confirm what they already thought about each candidate.

"You're aspiring to be a leader. You're not aspiring for a job in a company," says Karthik Meyyappan who is offended by Romney's comments. "If you're aspiring for a job in a company you can just say what you want in the interview and get through with that."

In Council Bluffs Wednesday, members of the Republican Party of Iowa defended Romney's remarks. They said Romney's remarks will fade away and President Obama's will resonate with voters.

"The Latino one was mostly a joke," says Victory Communications Director with Iowa GOP Tom Szold. "I think it was an acknowledgment of their importance. It's different; these are two different beliefs about the basic role of government."

But some Latinos like Danny Jimenez disagree.

"[Romney] wouldn't beat Obama. I don't think it makes a difference whether he's White, Black or Mexican," says Jimenez.

There is one general consensus. When publicly speaking, voters say candidates need to assume that "off-the-record" is always "on-the-record".

A new poll released by Gallup Wednesday shows 29 percent of independent voters say they are less likely to vote for Romney after reading his comments caught on video.

36 percent of voters say his comments make them less likely to vote for him, while 20 percent say his remarks make them more likely to vote for him.

43 percent say the comments make no difference.

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