Romney’s ‘47 Percent’ Remark Might Be More Damaging Than Obama’s ‘Guns and Religion’ Comments

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On tonight's Hardball, host Chris Matthews asked the panelists how politically damaging Mitt Romney's recently released remarks from a May fund-raiser will be to his campaign, compared to comments President Obama made in 2008 when he implied that some voters in small towns were "bitter" and clinging to guns and religion. John Heilemann weighed in first, noting: "When President Obama said that, it was also condescending and it was also contemptuous ... but if you look at the whole quote he says, 'This is the way these people are but that doesn't mean I'm not going to go campaign for their votes.' That's exactly the opposite of what Romney was saying."

Jonathan Chait weighed in on how the Romney camp can spin the comments in their favor: "I don't think this is going to be a big political hit on Romney ... It is actually not going to hurt or possibly help him a little bit if he can frame it as being for the middle class against these 'poor lazy people trying to take your money' —  then that is an effective attack."