Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) slammed Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney for his charge that 47 percent of Americans pay no taxes and think that they are victims.
"Mitt Romney has failed the character test," Sen. Udall said during a press conference in Sunken Gardens Park, Fox31 reported.
Udall added: "You really know the character of an individual by what they say in private. And, yes, this is an election about the economy and jobs. But, it's also an election about character and vision."
Udall also took to Twitter to voice more criticism of Romney:
Romney's comments to wealthy donors back in May were aimed at explaining why many people won't vote for him, but they broadened into an indictment of the 47 percent of Americans who pay no federal income taxes -- although they do pay federal payroll and many other taxes.
"There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what," Romney said in the secretly recorded remarks. "There are 47 percent who are with [President Barack Obama], who are dependent on government, who believe that, that they are victims, who believe that government has the responsibility to care for them. Who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing."
"My job is not to worry about those people," he continued. "I'll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."
Other leading Democrats have attacked Romney for his comments including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) who hammered Romney today suggesting that Romney himself might not have paid federal income taxes in some years and that he only wants to represent some of the country. "For all we know, Mitt Romney could be one of those who has paid no federal income tax," Reid said in a renewal of his claim that Romney may have paid no tax in some years.
But it's not just Democrats that find the comments controversial. Downticket, Romney's fellow Republicans -- specifically those that find themselves in tight races -- are finding his remarks to be toxic. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who is in a tight reelection battle against Rep. Shelley Berkley (D-Nev.), had emerged as the favorite of late, owing to Berkley getting caught up in an ethics investigation. But this donor party video has forced Heller to put some distance between himself and Romney, with Heller insisting that he has a “very different view of the world” than his party's standard-bearer. Rosalind S. Helderman of the Washington Post captures Heller's remarks:
Keep in mind, I have five brothers and sisters. My father was an auto mechanic. My mother was a school cook. I have a very different view of the world. And as United States Senator, I think I represent everyone, and every vote’s important. Every vote’s important in this race. I don’t write off anybody.
Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and Connecticut Senate candiate Linda McMahon (R) also distanced themselves Tuesday from Romney's remarks, The Hill reports.
Since the remarks leaked, Romney has proceed to defend the essence of the statement that, for some, has called into question the viability of his candidacy. "The question of this campaign is not who cares about the poor and the middle class? I do. He does," Romney said about the statements and President Obama. "The question is who can help the poor and the middle class? I can! He can’t!"