Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez is taking flak for comments similar to those that got former Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney in hot water.
Beauprez told a Rotary Club meeting in Denver in 2010 that Democrats have a “political strategy” for staying in power by “keeping over half of the population dependent on the largesse of government that somebody else is paying for.”
“I see something that frankly doesn’t surprise me, having been on Ways and Means Committee: 47 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax,” Beauprez said during the videotaped meeting. “I’m guessing that most of you in this room are not in that 47 percent — God bless you — but what that tells me is that we’ve got almost half the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill, and most of that half is you all.”
Those sentiments are a close echo of Romney’s candid comments at a private fundraising meeting in 2012.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney said, unaware that he was being filmed. “All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, 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. That’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. … These are people who pay no income tax.”
Mother Jones magazine broke the video about Romney’s statements, but Beauprez’s have been online — with little attention having been paid, according to the small number of views it received — since shortly after he made them.
The Denver Post was the first to report on the video after Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio brought it to the paper’s attention, just as Beauprez was on a “unity tour” around Colorado to galvanize Republican support after winning a four-way primary on June 24.
“If he’s talking about unity,” Palacio told the Post, “this is a funny way to show unity with Coloradans. He must be talking about unity with other Republicans, because he didn’t say anything about anybody else.”
During the presidential campaign, Romney’s comments were used to paint him as an out-of-touch elitist and he was also pinged for being inaccurate. As noted by the Post, fact-checkers found that only about 10 percent of Americans pay no taxes at all, while others don’t owe federal taxes for a variety of reasons, including having enough deductions to zero out their tax bills.
Beauprez could face the same criticism, even though he specified “federal income taxes” in his comments.
“The substance of what Beauprez said is subject for a reasonable debate because in a lot of ways it mimics and foreshadows Romney’s comments which made him appear like the caricature of an elitist,” political analyst Eric Sondermann told the Post. “Now, Democrats here want to create that same caricature of Beauprez.”
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