Mitt Romney has said the “47 percent” video that helped him lose the election was “not elegantly stated,” but as it turns out he made another mistake: failing to acknowledge his servers’ existence. On Wednesday night’s Ed Show, the man behind the video was revealed to be Scott Prouty, a college-educated bartender in his late thirties, who was recording Romney’s remarks as a souvenir when he realized, “This is not a normal stump speech.” Prouty was initially undecided on whether or not to release the tape, but says, “I felt an obligation for all the people that couldn’t be there. You shouldn’t have to be able to afford $50,000 to hear what a candidate actually thinks.”
Before appearing on MSNBC, Prouty told the Huffington Post that he actually met Romney at a previous private fund-raiser, and the candidate didn’t make a good impression. As opposed to Bill Clinton, who made an effort to greet the cooks and waiters at another event, Romney didn’t acknowledge Prouty’s presence when he gave him his drink of choice, diet coke with a lemon twist, without asking. “He took it and turned and didn’t say anything,” says Prouty. “I presented him the exact right drink that he wanted … Had it there, sitting there on a napkin. He took it out of my hand and turned his back without a ‘thank you’ or anything else.”
Prouty felt Romney’s attitude was telling, and didn’t like that he made a crack about speeding up his service soon after arriving at the fateful dinner party on May 17, 2012. However, what offended Prouty was Romney’s description of touring a factory in China where workers are packed into dormitories surrounded by barbed wire (to keep out all the people desperate to work there, the bosses told Romney). “He just walked though this horrendous place and thought, ‘Hey, this is pretty good,’” said Prouty.
Interestingly, while it was the “47 percent” comment that caught America’s attention, Prouty remained more focused on Romney’s warped view of the Chinese factory. While researching the issue, he found an article by David Corn of Mother Jones and got in touch with his researcher, James Carter IV. On Wednesday night, Corn shared a more detailed account of how he collaborated with Prouty, and their concerns for his privacy.
Prouty told Ed Schultz that he deliberated about releasing the video for about two weeks, and was leaning against it when he came to a realization in the middle of the night. “I walked into the bathroom and I just looked in the mirror and the words ‘you coward’ just came out of my mouth,” he said. “I just looked in the mirror and said, ‘You’re a coward. You’re an absolute coward.’”
Still, Prouty decided to remain anonymous during the election, partly because he was worried about losing his job and becoming the target of a smear campaign, but also because he didn’t want to distract from the video. “I wanted Mitt Romney’s words and Mitt Romney’s only,” he says. “I wanted his words to be the center of attention.” It’s a bit surprising to see someone hold off on claiming their fifteen minutes of fame these days, but it sounds like that’s the kind of guy he is. Corn explains that after a bit of Googling he confirmed that the filmmaker isn’t one of the two David Proutys who have been arrested or incarcerated, but the one who saw a woman drive her car into a Florida canal and heroically jumped in to save her.