The controversial video of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney threatening to roil the race for the White House was taken at the home of a prominent hedge fund and private equity manager.
Romney's impolitic comments about 47% of the American electorate were made during a May 17 fundraiser at the Boca Raton, Fla., home of Marc Leder, co-founder of Sun Capital Partners. Leder and Sun Capital's other co-founder, Rodger Krouse, have been generous donors to the G.O.P.
The video, posted yesterday by the liberal magazine Mother Jones, shows Romney addressing the $50,000-per-person fundraiser with the warning, "There are 47% of the people who will vote for the president no matter what."
"All right, there are 47% who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that's an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what."
"These are people who pay no income tax," Romney continues. "My job is not to worry about those people. I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Romney also made some harsh comments about the Palestinians, telling the donors that they "have no interest" in peace with Israel and that Israel giving up territory to a Palestinian state—a centerpiece of just about every peace plan that has been mooted—"is the worst idea in the world."
Romney is also heard joking that he'd have a better chance of winning the presidency if he were a member of a minority group, like the president.
"My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company," Romney says. "But he was born in Mexico, and, uh, had he been born of, uh, Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this."
Last night, Romney defended the content of his statements, although he acknowledged that they were "not elegantly stated."
As for the man whose home hosted the controversial comments, Romney is more than just Leder's favored candidate for the White House—he's something of a mentor; Leder was inspired to go into private equity after a visit to Bain Capital, the p.e. firm founded by Romney. And, of course, Mother Jones cited reports from the New York Post last year that Leder hosted a "sex party" at his rented Bridgehampton, N.Y., estate.
"Guests cavorted nude in the pool and performed sex acts, scantily dressed Russians danced on platforms and men twirled lit torches to a booming techno beat," the tabloid wrote.