Romney says comments in video were badly stated but sticks by them

COSTA MESA, California Tue Sep 18, 2012 6:00pm IST

U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is seen on a screen as U.S. Secret Service agents provide security at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting in Los Angeles, California, September 17, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young

U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney is seen on a screen as U.S. Secret Service agents provide security at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce meeting in Los Angeles, California, September 17, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Young

COSTA MESA, California (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Monday that disparaging remarks he made about supporters of President Barack Obama in a secretly filmed video were not well stated but he did not back away from them.

"It's not elegantly stated. Let me put it that way," Romney said at a hastily arranged news conference in California to respond to his latest stumble on the campaign trail.

In the video Romney was shown telling fundraisers he has no way of attracting support from 47 percent of U.S. voters because they are dependent on government and pay no taxes.

The Obama campaign leaped on the video and declared Romney elitist and out of touch with most Americans, who will vote in a presidential election on November 6.

"I'm sure I could state it more clearly and in a more effective way than I did in a setting like that," Romney said.

However, he did not back away from his comments and said it was a message that he would continue to carry.

"Frankly, my discussion about lowering taxes isn't as attractive to them and therefore I'm not likely to draw them into my campaign as those in the middle," he said.

"This is really more about the political process of winning the election and of course I want to help all Americans have a bright and prosperous future and I'm convinced that the president's approach has not done that and will not do that."

(Reporting by Steve Holland; editing by Christopher Wilson)

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