Obama Responds To Mitt Romney's "47 Percent" Comment With Letterman: [ send to a friend ]
President Barack Obama sat down with David Letterman on Tuesday night to talk about everything from Mitt Romney's secretly taped comments to the anti-Islam film that has spurred protests around the Middle East.
But before they could get down to business, the interview started with an exchange in which Letterman asked Obama how much he weighed and told him he carried it well.
"You look great," said Letterman. "One-eighty looks good on you because that's just about where I am and I don't look so good at 180,"
"You know, you look sharp," complimented Obama.
"You haven't seen me naked," quipped Letterman as Obama responded, "we're going to keep it that way."
Letterman then asked the president about the secretly taped Romney comments in which the presidential candidate said he wasn't trying to get the votes of 47 percent of the country because they would vote for Obama no matter what because "these are people who pay no income tax" and are "dependent on government, who believe that they are victims, who believe government has the responsibility to care for them, who believe they are entitled to healthcare, to food, to housing."
"Is that what rich guys at country clubs are talking about?," asked the host.
"Well, I don't know what he was referring to, but I can tell you this: when I won in 2008, 47% of the American people voted for John McCain," Obama said. "They didn't vote for me. And what I said on election night was, 'Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your President.'"
"And one of the things I've learned as President is you represent the entire country. My expectation is that if you want to be President, you've got to work for everybody, not just for some."
"This is a big country. And people disagree a lot, but one thing I've never tried to do and I think none of us can do in public office is suggest that because someone doesn't agree with me that they're victims or they're unpatriotic."
Obama also said he disagreed that many citizens were simply waiting for hand-outs.
"The other thing you discover as you travel around the country is, boy, the American people, they work so hard... And you don't meet anybody who doesn't believe in the American dream and the fact that nobody's entitled to success, that you've got to work hard, and so I promise you, there are not a lot of people out there who think they're victims, there are not a lot of people who think that they're entitled to something."
"What I think the majority of people, Democrats and Republicans, believe is that we've got some obligations to each other, and there's nothing wrong with us giving each other a helping hand... I think that's a good investment for America, and that's – if you want to be President and you want to bring people together, I think that's the attitude that you've got to have."
Obama also called the man behind the anti-Islam film that ignited violence across the Middle East a "shadowy character."
"Extremists and terrorists used this as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies, including the consulate in Libya," he said. "But they don't represent what the Libyan people think and as offensive as this video was... that's never an excuse for violence."
"We can wind down our military activities in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, but we have to remain engaged because whether we like it or not, America remains the one indispensable nation. And even countries that criticize us end up looking to us for leadership, because without our presence, without our involvement and our engagement, things would be an awful lot worse."