ATLANTA—Looking to regain momentum after days of campaign turmoil, Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of supporting a "government-centered society" that won't help poor and middle class Americans.
Speaking at an afternoon fundraiser here, Romney made no reference to the secret video of a Florida fundraiser that caught him suggesting the 47 percent of Americans who back Obama have a "victim" mentality and are dependent on government handouts. But speaking to a crowd of nearly 1,000 donors, Romney offered a clear defense of those comments—suggesting Obama wants the country to "become dependent on government."
"The question of this campaign is not who cares about the poor and the middle class. I do. He does," Romney said. "The question is who can help the poor and the middle class? I can! He can't!"
Romney's comments come two days after a secret video of the candidate speaking at a May fundraiser in Florida was leaked to Mother Jones magazine. Amid criticism from Democrats and some Republicans, Romney has repeatedly stood behind his comments—even as he acknowledged they were "not elegantly stated."
On Tuesday, he and his campaign tried to change the subject by focusing on an audio clip of Obama in 1988 speaking favorably of the "redistribution" of wealth among Americans.
Addressing supporters in Atlanta, Romney revived Obama's stance on redistribution, calling it "an entirely foreign concept that will not work, that has not worked."
"He really believes in what I'll call a government-centered society," Romney said of his opponent. "I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others then we'll all be better off. It's known as redistribution. It's never been a characteristic of America. There's a tape that came out just a couple of days ago where the president said, yes, he believes in redistribution. I don't. I believe the way to lift people and help people have higher incomes is not to take from some and give to others but to create wealth for all."