“47 Percent” Remark: Quote of the Year

Shen Hong/Xinhua/ZUMAPress

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Here’s another honor for Mitt Romney: He is responsible for the most notable quote of the year, according to the editor of the Yale Book of Quotations. The failed presidential candidate topped the list with his now very infamous “47 percent” remarks. Fred Shapiro, who compiles the annual list of the most significant utterances from the previous 12 months, selects quotes that “are famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times, not necessarily ones that are the most eloquent or admirable,” Associated Press reported. And Romney, with his 47 percent rant, beat out himself for the No. 1 spot. His “binders full of women” comment placed second on Shapiro’s rundown. Below is the full list:

 

1. “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what…who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. …These are people who pay no income tax. …and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

—Mitt Romney, remarks at private fundraiser, Boca Raton, Fla., May 17

2. “We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet (in Massachusetts). I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks?’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.”

—Mitt Romney, second presidential debate, Hempstead, N.Y., Oct. 16

3. “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that.”

—Barack Obama, remarks at campaign appearance, Roanoke, Va., July 13

4. “Please proceed, Governor.”

—Obama, second presidential debate, Hempstead, N.Y., Oct. 16 (lead-in to Romney’s denial that Obama had called Libya attack an act of terrorism)

5. “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

—Obama, third presidential debate, Boca Raton, Fla., Oct. 22

6. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

—Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin, KTVI-TV interview, Aug. 19

7. “You hit a reset button for the fall campaign; everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch-a-Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.”

—Romney senior campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, CNN interview, March 21

8. “I’m an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability.”

—Socialite Jill Kelley, telephone call to a 911 dispatcher, Tampa, Fla., Nov. 11, about media crews that came to her home as news broke of her involvement in the scandal over the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus

9. “Oppan Gangnam style.”

—South Korean rapper PSY, “Gangnam Style” (song)

10. (tie) “Under current law, on January 1st, 2013, there is going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases.”

—Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testimony at House Committee on Financial Services hearing, Feb. 29

10. (tie) “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”

—Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), WMAZ-TV television interview about Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Nov. 21

10. (tie) “I have a job to do. …If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”

—New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Fox News interview about Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 30

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate