Still on damage patrol after the release of footage secretly recorded at a fundraiser, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney penned an op-ed Wednesday saying he would "create space" for Americans to better themselves rather than remaining dependent on government.
"Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency," Romney wrote in USA Today. "My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility."
"My course for the American economy will encourage private investment and personal freedom," he wrote. "Instead of creating a web of dependency, I will pursue policies that grow our economy and lift Americans out of poverty."
Although he doesn't reference it specifically, the op-ed is a clear response to controversy over a video released Monday of Romney at a fundraiser earlier this year. The video, which was recorded without Romney's knowledge, shows him calling the 47 percent of Americans who pay no income taxes "victims" and saying he will "never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
While it is true about 47 percent of Americans don't pay federal income taxes, nearly all pay other taxes on the federal, state and local levels. Many do not pay income taxes because they are elderly or too poor.
Since the release of that footage on Monday, Romney has attempted to spin it as an expression of his concern at the number of Americans impacted by the economy who need assistance from the government. He said during a Monday press conference his points were "not elegantly stated."
He also argued during a Tuesday interview on Fox News -- a point he repeated in his op-ed -- that people want to be working, going against his statement that about half of Americans do not want to take responsibility for their lives.
"When the economy is growing and Americans are working, everyone involved has a shared sense of achievement, not to mention the basic sense of pride that comes with the paycheck they earn," he wrote in the op-ed.
Romney went on to say government "has a role to play" in aiding Americans who "do need help from the government," but that Obama is providing the wrong type of aid.
"My experience has taught me that government works best when it creates the space for individuals and families to pursue success and achieve great things," he wrote. "Economic freedom is the only force that has consistently succeeded in creating sustained prosperity and lifting people out of poverty."
Read the full op-ed here.