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The Brief: Sept. 19, 2012

Mitt Romney hit up Dallas donors on Tuesday as he struggled to move past the "47 percent" controversy overwhelming his campaign.

Mitt Romney speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars conference in San Antonio on Aug. 30, 2011.

The Big Conversation:

Mitt Romney hit up Dallas donors on Tuesday as he struggled to move past the "47 percent" controversy overwhelming his campaign.

A day after the unearthing of a video in which Romney tells a group of wealthy donors that he'll never win the support of the 47 percent of Americans who are "dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims," the embattled candidate spoke at a high-dollar fundraiser at a Dallas hotel, where he avoided any mention of the controversy.

"The reason this economy is stumbling along, and so many people are suffering, is the president is trying to put in place something which is not the way America has ever worked before," Romney told a crowd of about 500 in what The Dallas Morning News described as a routine stump speech. "I want to bring back America. I want to restore the principles that made our economy work. I’ll get people to work again, get rising incomes again."

Romney, who was introduced at the event by U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and energy magnate T. Boone Pickens, accused President Barack Obama of seeking to "redistribute the wealth," likely a reference to another video featuring Obama that Romney and conservatives attempted to seize on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Texas Democrats like U.S. Trade Rep. Ron Kirk joined the Romney pile-on ahead of his visit.

"This is a man who has a disdain for middle- and working-class families," Kirk, the former Dallas mayor, said on a conference call arranged by the Democratic National Committee. "What we need is a president who will stand up for all Americans, whether they support him or not."

State Rep. Stefani Carter, a Dallas Republican whom the Romney campaign recently picked up as a surrogate, challenged Kirk.

"The benefit of the Republican Party ticket is that we selected individuals who believe that hard work and determination drives future success," she told the Morning News.

Outside of Texas, though, several Republicans — including two U.S. Senate candidates — tried to publicly distance themselves from Romney's comments. Many conservative pundits and writers even laid into Romney, though others called the episode overblown. What most agreed on, however, was that with just under 50 days left until Election Day, Romney still has time to recoup his losses in a race where most polls show him behind Obama by only 2 or 3 points. As one of today's lead Politico stories puts it: "Romney RIP — not so fast."

Culled:

  • State Board of Education candidate Martha Dominguez's absence from the campaign trail has sparked criticism from her Republican opponent and members of her own party alike. But as the Tribune's Morgan Smith reports, that may not stop the El Paso Democrat — who has spent $45 on her campaign so far — from winning her race.
  • According to the Austin American-Statesman, the University of Texas at Austin's police department said Tuesday that last week's bomb threat hoax was related to similar episodes that have evacuated several college campuses across the U.S. within the past week. North Dakota State University received a threat Friday, the same day as UT; Louisiana State University received one Monday and Arkansas State University on Tuesday. UT police, however, didn't offer any specific information about the possible links.
  • U.S. House candidate Randy Weber, the Republican state representative from Pearland facing Democrat Nick Lampson in Congressional District 14, has released a new TV ad — his first of the general election — centered on Obama's "You didn't build that" line.

"It gives me the sense that he is cynical or completely tone deaf." — Texas-based political strategist Mark McKinnon to Current TV on Mitt Romney's "47 percent" comment

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