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Romney: Obama Voters Think They Are 'Victims'
US presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been forced to defend another gaffe after being caught on camera saying nearly half of all Americans "believe they are victims".
The Republican was filmed telling wealthy donors that his job as a White House hopeful is "not to worry" about millions of Barack Obama voters who "pay no income tax" and depend on government welfare.
The President's campaign quickly seized on the footage, which was obtained by the political magazine Mother Jones.
Mr Romney said in the video, which was posted online: "There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what.
"There are 47% 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 healthcare, to food, to housing, to you name it."
It is a further headache for the Romney campaign, which has admitted it needs to change its strategy to gain momentum in the presidential race.
At a hastily called news conference, Mr Romney conceded his comments were not "elegantly stated" and said they were "off the cuff", but he did not retract them or apologise.
"I'm sure I could state it more clearly in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that," he said.
"Of course I want to help all Americans. All Americans have a bright and prosperous future."
He called for the release of the full video instead of clips posted online. Mother Jones said the video came from a fundraising event at the Florida home of an investment firm boss.
America's Tax Policy Centre says about 46% of Americans owed no federal income tax in 2011, although many of them paid other forms of taxes.
Mr Obama's campaign called the video "shocking" and aides said it would help them paint Mr Romney as clueless about the concerns of average Americans.
"It's hard to serve as president for all Americans when you've disdainfully written off half the nation," said campaign manager Jim Messina.
Mr Romney has been criticised for being out of touch in the past.
During the primary campaign he insisted he was "not concerned about the very poor" and that his wife drove "a couple of Cadillacs".