NEW YORK -- Rebuking Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that Americans are not "victims" and that voters want to make sure that their president is "not writing off big chunks of the country."
Obama's remarks came after a secretly taped and newly released video showed the Republican presidential nominee describing "47 percent of the people" as Obama supporters who depend on government and believe they are victims.
"My expectation is that if you want to be president, you have to work for everyone, not just for some," Obama said in a taping of the "Late Show" with David Letterman.
It was Obama's first response to the Romney video, which roiled Romney's campaign and put him on the defensive about his views about nearly half the nation. The president appeared on the TV show before a night of fundraising in New York City.
In the video, taken during a May fundraiser and posted online Monday, Romney said it is not his job "to worry about those people." He was referring to what he called Obama's locked-in supporters who believe they are "entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it."
Romney has since said he made his point inelegantly in trying to describe differing visions for the nation.
"There are not a lot of people out there who think they are victims" or simply entitled, Obama said.
Obama said people understand that the presidential candidates will make mistakes on the campaign trail. He said that includes one he regrets from 2008, when audio from one of his own private fundraisers had him saying that some residents of depressed rural areas get bitter and "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them."
Having said that, Obama added: "One thing I've learned as president is that you represent the entire country."
The president and Letterman also bantered over lighter subjects, with Obama joking about the Florida pizza restaurant owner who lifted him off the ground in a bear hug last week. `'I think he fixed something in my back," Obama said.
The two men exchanged compliments on their appearances.
"You look good," Obama said.
"You haven't seen me naked," Letterman said.
Obama replied: "We're going to keep it that way."
Later, Obama spoke to about 200 people at a fundraiser at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Tickets for the event started at $12,500 per family.
He ended the night at a fundraiser hosted by pop star Beyonce and her husband Jay-Z at the rap mogul's 40/40 Club. About 100 supporters paid $40,000 per person to attend the party, which was expected to raise about $4 million for Obama's campaign and Democratic Party organizations.
Beyonce, dressed in a red dress, said she and her husband support Obama because he shares their vision for America. She said the two were "pleased and proud" to host the event.
Obama praised "Jay" and "B" and said first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia were upset with him because they were unable to go on the trip. Normally they are just as happy to skip campaign events, he said.
Obama called Beyonce a role model for his daughters and other young people, and said she and Jay-Z are "generous" supporters of his campaign.
Obama said he and Jay-Z share a special bond, beyond interest in basketball: "We both have daughters and our wives are more popular than we are."
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"That's not the way I view the world. As someone who grew up in tough circumstances, I know that being on public assistance is not a spot that anyone wants to be in. Too many people today who want to work are being forced into public assistance for lack of jobs," Scott said in an email to <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/senate-races/250157-sen-scott-brown-denounces-romney-comments" target="_hplink">The Hill</a>.
"He was obviously inarticulate in making this point," Ryan <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/paul-ryan-mitt-romney-video_n_1895403.html" target="_hplink">said</a> during an interview with a Nevada television station.
"This could be the opportunity for Romney, and for that campaign, to finally take the gloves off and take the fear off and just start explaining conservatism, start explaining liberty to people and what it means," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/18/rush-limbaugh-mitt-romney_n_1893882.html" target="_hplink">Limbaugh said</a> Tuesday. "And explain that they don't need to be in that 47 percent. There's no reason for them, for everybody to be -- essentially having given up on their future in this country. There's no reason for it. This is, to me, such an opportunity to espouse conservatism."
"Mitt Romney probably could have better explained himself. I think he was a little clumsy in doing this," <a href="http://thehill.com/video/house/249975-rep-allen-west-romney-a-little-clumsy-with-47-percent-comment" target="_hplink">West said</a> on Fox News.
"Sure, there are some government programs that cultivate patterns of dependency in some people. I'd put federal disability payments and unemployment insurance in this category. But, as a description of America today, Romney's comment is a country-club fantasy. It's what self-satisfied millionaires say to each other. It reinforces every negative view people have about Romney," <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/18/opinion/brooks-thurston-howell-romney.html?ref=davidbrooks" target="_hplink">Brooks wrote</a>. "He's running a depressingly inept presidential campaign. Mr. Romney, your entitlement reform ideas are essential, but when will the incompetence stop?"
"It remains important for the country that Romney wins in November (unless he chooses to step down and we get the Ryan-Rubio ticket we deserve!). But that shouldn't blind us to the fact that Romney's comments, like those of Obama four years ago, are stupid and arrogant," <a href="http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/note-romney-s-arrogant-and-stupid-remarks_652548.html" target="_hplink">Kristol wrote</a>.
"He has to not apologize, because we've seen enough apologizing already, and he cannot apologize," <a href="http://thehill.com/video/campaign/249993-trump-romney-cannot-apologize-for-inartful-comments-at-fundraiser" target="_hplink">Trump said</a> on NBC News. "What he said is probably what he means." Trump also said that Romney's words were "inartfully stated."
"The Romney campaign should double down on what he said. They should own it. The trouble for the left and media (but I repeat myself) is that most Americans agree with Mitt Romney. Most Americans consider themselves part of the 53% and it is not a winning proposition for Barack Obama to convince Americans they are less than they think they are when most Americans already recognize he has made them less than they were," <a href="http://www.redstate.com/2012/09/17/treat-the-press-as-enemy-collaborators/" target="_hplink">Erickson wrote</a> in a blog post on RedState.com.
"[Romney] believes that every American has got to have skin in the game...he doesn't want what the president wants," <a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/burns-haberman/2012/09/christie-romney-wants-to-empower-people-135893.html" target="_hplink">Christie said</a> on Fox News, adding that Romney wants to "empower individuals...and that's what he's really talking about."
"The idea that you're declaring, 'Well, the race is over. Mitt Romney doesn't care about people,'" <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/tv/laura-ingraham-fired-up-over-romneys-47-tape-its-ridiculous-this-is-getting-airtime/" target="_hplink">Ingraham said </a>on Fox News. "Meanwhile, you have a president whose policies have undermined the 47 percent. ... I'm very pumped up about this. I think it's ridiculous that people are seizing on it and that we're even giving all that much airtime to it, frankly."
"I disagree with Governor Romney's insinuation that 47% of Americans believe they are victims who must depend on the government for their care. I know that the vast majority of those who rely on government are not in that situation because they want to be. People today are struggling because the government has failed to keep America competitive, failed to support job creators, and failed to get our economy back on track," <a href="http://www.lindaforsenate2012.com/news/press-releases/2012/09/18/linda-mcmahon-response-to-mitt-romneys-remarks/" target="_hplink">McMahon said</a> in a statement.
"To read many of the reactions on Twitter, you'd think Mother Jones had just found video of Mitt Romney strangling a hooker with her own pantyhose," <a href="http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/322394/quick-thoughts-freeloaderdammerung-jonah-goldberg" target="_hplink">Goldberg wrote</a>. "Indeed, many people understand what Romney is getting at here, even if he's saying it badly."