Romney’s ’47 percent’ chosen as year’s best quote

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by John Christofferson
Associated Press Writer

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) — Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s comments about 47 percent of the population dependent on the government and “binders full of women” topped this year’s best quotes, according to a Yale University librarian.

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QUOTABLE– In this Nov. 5 photo, Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign event at the Verizon Wireless Arena in Manchester, N.H. Romney is telling top donors that President Barack Obama won re-election because of the “gifts” he had already provided to blacks, Hispanics and young voters. Romney also cites as a reason for his loss the president’s effort to paint Romney as anti-immigrant. In a call Nov. 14, to those donors, Romney said Obama’s campaign focused on giving targeted groups what he called “a big gift” while his campaign had been about, in his words, “big issues for the whole country.” (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Fred Shapiro, associate librarian at Yale Law School, released his seventh annual list of the most notable quotations of the year.

“Debate remarks and gaffes actually seemed to play an important role in the ups and downs of the election campaign and may even have affected the ultimate outcome of the election,” Shapiro said.

Romney, who lost the November election to President Barack Obama, made the 47 percent comment at a private fundraiser in May that was secretly recorded and posted online in September by Mother Jones magazine.

“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. … These are people who pay no income tax. … and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives,” Romney said.

Romney spoke about reviewing “binders full of women” as governor when he sought to diversify his Massachusetts administration.

“It contributed to an image of him as being somewhat out of touch and maybe particularly out of touch with issues related to women,” Shapiro said.

Obama made the list, too, for his “you didn’t build that” comment, his contention that people who built businesses had help, from teachers, family and other supporters — and sometimes the government.

“It was probably the leading line that Obama wished he hadn’t made during this year,” Shapiro said.

Obama’s “horses and bayonets” debate rebuke of Romney in an exchange over the size of the Navy also made the list.

The original “Yale Book of Quotations” was published in 2006, and Shapiro has updated it with an annual list of the top 10 quotes. Shapiro picks quotes that are famous, important or revealing of the spirit of the times, not necessarily ones that are the most eloquent or admirable.

Here’s the list:

1. “There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what … who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims. … These are people who pay no income tax. … and so my job is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them that they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”

Mitt Romney, remarks at private fundraiser, Boca Raton, Fla., May 17

2. “We took a concerted effort to go out and find women who had backgrounds that could be qualified to become members of our cabinet (in Massachusetts). I went to a number of women’s groups and said, “Can you help us find folks?” and they brought us whole binders full of women.”

Mitt Romney, second presidential debate, Hempstead, N.Y., Oct. 16

3. “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”

Barack Obama, remarks at campaign appearance, Roanoke, Va., July 13

4. “Please proceed, Governor.”

Obama, second presidential debate, Hempstead, N.Y., Oct. 16 (lead-in to Romney’s denial that Obama had called Libya attack an act of terrorism)

5. “You mentioned the Navy, for example, and that we have fewer ships than we did in 1916. Well, Governor, we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military has changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines.”

Obama, third presidential debate, Boca Raton, Fla., Oct. 22

6. “If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”

Missouri senatorial candidate Todd Akin, KTVI-TV interview, Aug. 19

7. “You hit a reset button for the fall campaign; everything changes. It’s almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.”

Romney senior campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, CNN interview, March 21

8. “I’m an honorary consul general, so I have inviolability.”

Socialite Jill Kelley, telephone call to a 911 dispatcher, Tampa, Fla., Nov. 11, about media crews that came to her home as news broke of her involvement in the scandal over the resignation of CIA director David Petraeus

9. “Oppan Gangnam style.”

South Korean rapper PSY, “Gangnam Style” (song)

10 (tie) “Under current law, on January 1st, 2013, there is going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases.”

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testimony at House Committee on Financial Services hearing, Feb. 29

10 (tie) “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge.”

Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss, WMAZ-TV television interview about Taxpayer Protection Pledge, Nov. 21

10 (tie) “I have a job to do. … If you think right now I give a damn about presidential politics, then you don’t know me.”

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Fox News interview about Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 30

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