Romney speaking in Los Angeles on September 17
By now you've probably heard about the secret video we published exposing a bunch of real talk from Mitt Romney as he dined with rich Republican donors. But the hour-plus footage, which left the Romney campaign reeling and provoked a full-blown eruption of "chaos on Bullshit Mountain," is a real embarrassment of riches, as it were. Here are some telling moments that you may not have seen yet from Romney's unvarnished Q&A behind closed doors at the $50,000-per-plate fundraiser in Boca Raton on May 17:
- Mocking immigration in the United States: "I'd like to staple a green card to every Ph.D. in the world and say, 'Come to America, we want you here.' Instead, we make it hard for people who get educated here or elsewhere to make this their home. Unless, of course, you have no skill or experience, in which case you're welcome to cross the border and stay here for the rest of your life."
- Pondering how he'd exploit a pre-election foreign policy crisis: "…in the Jimmy Carter election, the fact that we have hostages in Iran, I mean, that was all we talked about. And we had the two helicopters crash in the desert, I mean that's—that was—that was the focus, and so [Reagan] solving that made all the difference in the world. I'm afraid today if you said, 'We got Iran to agree to stand down a nuclear weapon,' they'd go hold on. It's really a, but…by the way, if something of that nature presents itself, I will work to find a way to take advantage of the opportunity."
- Falsely claiming that the Fed is buying "three-quarters" of America's debt: "Yeah, it's interesting…the former head of Goldman Sachs, John Whitehead, was also the former head of the New York Federal Reserve. And I met with him, and he said as soon as the Fed stops buying all the debt that we're issuing—which they've been doing, the Fed's buying like three-quarters of the debt that America issues. He said, once that's over, he said we're going to have a failed Treasury auction, interest rates are going to have to go up."
- Predicting easy dividends from his anticipated election victory: "…if we win on November 6th there will be a great deal of optimism about the future of this country. We'll see capital come back, and we'll see—without actually doing anything—we'll actually get a boost in the economy."
- Cracking jokes about Latino voters and Elizabeth Warren: "And had [my dad] been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot of winning this…[Donor: "Pull an Elizabeth Warren!"]…That's right I could go out and say—for those who don't know Elizabeth Warren, she is the woman who's running for US Senate in Massachusetts who says that she is Cherokee…"
- Making enemies on the late-night talk show circuit: "I've done the night, the evening shows. I've been on Letterman a couple of times. I've been on Leno more than a couple times, and now Letterman hates me because I've been on Leno more than him." (Untrue, says Dave.)
- Joking about media strategy and his reputation as a "rich, rich guy": "You know that I'm as poor as a church mouse."
The GOP candidate's biggest moments, which we first exposed in our exclusive coverage:
- On the 47 percent of Americans he regards as moochers: "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, who believe that 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."
- On the "almost unthinkable" prospects for Mideast peace: "And I look at the Palestinians not wanting to see peace anyway, for political purposes, committed to the destruction and elimination of Israel, and these thorny issues, and I say there's just no way."
Romney's closing line that night, with regard to campaigning and fundraising, seemed fitting. It was a veritable let-us-eat-cake moment: "One of the benefits I get is eating the world's best dessert, which I will. [Audience laughs.] Thank you. [Applause.]"
Read the full transcript here, and watch the full video here.
Update: As several readers have pointed out, also noteworthy was Romney recounting the time he traveled with Bain Capital to buy a factory in China that employed "about 20,000" young women.