The Romney video and the reaction

At 10 this morning, we’ll be talking to David Callahan, co-founder and senior fellow at Demos, Nicholas Eberstadt, author of the forthcoming “A Nation of Takers: America’s Entitlement Epidemic,” and political scientist Jason Johnson.

We’ve had this show booked for a week or so but it is suddenly very, very timely since we’ll be talking about entitlement programs and the size and ultimate purpose of the government.

We’ll start the conversation discussing the newly revealed video of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney talking about the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income tax that he said “believe they are victims.”

Take a look yourself:

The Wall Street Journal reports that Romney stands by his words but called them “not elegantly stated.”

“I recognize that among those that pay no tax…I’m not likely to be highly successful with the message of lowering taxes,” Mr. Romney said Monday evening. “That’s not as attractive to those who don’t pay income taxes as it is to those who do. And likewise those who are reliant on government are not as attracted to my message of slimming down the size of government.”

In The Washington Post, Ed Rogers says that what Romney said isn’t as egregious as Obama’s “they cling to guns or religion” gaffe from 2008 but that “Romney keeps handing President Obama distractions so that the president doesn’t have to talk about the economy.”

I wish Romney were a better candidate. I wish he had the wisdom and discipline to stick to a script. He has to realize his job is to be the focal point on the stage. He is tired and under pressure, he doesn’t have time to write everything himself and so he has to stick to a script prepared by others. He isn’t artful enough to ad-lib and wing it. Romney, take note: Obama’s use of a Teleprompter is more about effective message discipline than about a weakness of the president. Whoever makes the most mistakes often loses.

David Brooks wrote a commentary in the New York Times about the video that NPR’s Steve Inskeep called “withering.” He said that Romney’s comments make it appear that he “doesn’t know much about the political culture.”

First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?

What was your take?

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host