In the “Keeping Them Honest” segment of his show “Anderson Cooper 360,” an incredulous Anderson Cooper on Friday accused Republican nominee Mitt Romney of pulling a “stunning 180,” suggesting the former Massachusetts governor had turned precisely half as much as Cooper does in a typical television broadcast in an effort to appear more moderate to undecided voters.
“Clearly, in a campaign with hundreds, if not thousands of speeches … now and then, you’re going to say something that doesn’t come out right. In this case, I said something that’s just completely wrong,” Romney told Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Thursday, referring to his secretly recorded remarks about vast swaths of Americans who are “dependent upon government” and “believe that they’re victims.”
“Completely wrong? Now, keeping ’em honest, that’s completely weird,” Cooper said, noting that Romney had immediately called a press conference to defend the substance of his comments the same night that they were widely publicized in a YouTube video.
“It’s not elegantly stated,” Romney said at the press conference. “I’m sure I could’ve stated it in a more effective way.”
Cooper also noted that other top Republicans, including Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain and Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, had backed Romney’s larger point about America’s supposedly rampant culture of dependency.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney said in the video, which was recorded at an exclusive May fundraiser. “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.”
Cooper added that Romney had misrepresented his position on pre-existing health conditions during the Wednesday night debate and concluded that the candidate was trying to abandon his conservative image and “recast himself as more centrist” as the November election nears.
Watch Cooper’s “Keeping Them Honest” segment on Romney: