Sunday 18 February 2018

Barman gave damning tape to press after Mitt forgot to thank staff

Peter Foster Washington

MITT Romney might have avoided the leaking of his disastrous '47pc' speech during last year's election if he had followed the example of former president Bill Clinton and been nicer to the staff, it was has been claimed.

The barman who secretly filmed Mr Romney's speech at a fundraising event in Florida last May said he took his camera in the hope of snatching a quick photograph with the potential future US president.

But Mr Romney – unlike Mr Clinton, who at a previous dinner had taken the trouble to go backstage to thank the chefs, pose for photographs and sign autographs with waiters and bar staff – was too busy to stop and departed without making a courtesy call.

The unnamed employee for a catering company had placed his camera on the bar and recorded the now-infamous speech that arguably did more to determine Mr Romney's electoral fortunes than anything the former Republican candidate ever said in public.

"I felt it was a civic duty. I couldn't sleep after I watched it," the unnamed barman said yesterday, hours before he was due to reveal his identity in an interview with the MSNBC television channel last night. I felt like I had a duty to expose it."

He said it was a "tough" decision. "I debated for a little while but in the end, I really felt like it had to be put out," he said.

"I felt I owed it to the people who couldn't afford to be there themselves to hear what he (Mr Romney) really thought."

Mr Romney, who made his $250m (€190m) fortune as the founder of Bain Capital, never managed to live down the remarks, despite repeated protests that they did not reflect his true beliefs or his record of service as a devout Mormon.

At the time, Mr Romney told a room full of wealthy donors: "There are 47pc of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. . . who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims.

Worry

"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."

When the recording was leaked to the liberal 'Mother Jones' magazine via a grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, it caused an instant storm, with jubilant Democrats saying it proved their contention that Mr Romney was an incorrigible elitist.

Mr Romney has kept a low profile since the election, but will return to the Republican fold this week with a speech at an annual jamboree for grass-roots Republicanism. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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