Bob Beauprez, the Republican nominee for governor in Colorado, seems to have criticized the so-called freeloading 47 percent of Americans who don’t make enough to pay federal income tax before former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney did.
“I see something that frankly doesn’t surprise me, having been on Ways and Means Committee: 47 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax,” Beauprez said during a speech at the Denver Rotary Club in 2010, which resurfaced on Wednesday.
“I’m guessing that most of you in this room are not in that 47 percent —God bless you— but what that ells me is that we’ve got almost half the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill, and most of that half is you all,” he continued.
Beauprez went on to say that Democrats saw an incentive to make that the status quo.
“I submit to you that there is a political strategy to get slightly over half and have a permanent a permanent ruling majority by keeping over half of the population dependent on the largesse of government that somebody else is paying for,” Beauprez added.
Democrats, who flagged the video to The Denver Post, strongly criticized Beauprez for his remarks.
“If he’s talking about unity, this is a funny way to show unity with Coloradans,” Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio told the Post. “He must be talking about unity with other Republicans, because he didn’t say anything about anybody else.”
Beauprez campaign manager Dustin Olson said he didn’t see any controversy in the remarks.
“I don’t see why it would be controversial to want more people to prosper,” Olson said to the Colorado newspaper. “We should be focused on building up our economy so more people have jobs and prosper. It is a sad state of affairs when people are in an economic situation where they are not able to pay federal income tax.”
Beauprez is running against Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and served in Congress from 2003 to 2007.
Watch the video below: