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Rep. reacts to GOP candidate comments
A video showing Republican presidential Mitt Romney saying that 47 percent of Americans who don't pay federal income taxes "believe they are victims" and he is not worried about them has the incumbent Republican congressman for southeast Georgia calling it a "stupid comment," and the state's two Republican senators sidestepping commenting on it.

In the video, Romney said 47 percent of people will not vote for him, no matter what.

"There are 47 percent who are with (President Barack Obama), who are dependent upon government, who believe they are victims, who believe government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it," Romney said.

Romney said he will "never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives."

Among the 47 percent who don't pay federal income taxes - but pay other types - are students, older retirees and low-wage workers who don't earn enough money to qualify to pay taxes.

"It was a stupid comment," U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-1, conceded. "It's more of an 'I gotcha.'"

Kingston said Romney's comments will impact the presidential campaign, but "it's something he can survive."

Even so, Kingston said he is baffled why people are making Romney's comments an issue when embassies are being attacked and Americans killed.

Kingston has said he believes Romney was trying to say some people who are not paying taxes are probably happy with the status quo.

"With 23 million people unemployed or under-employed, we all want jobs right now," Kingston said. "Probably, it would have been better to focus on what we are going to do to get people paying taxes and in the work force."

Lesli Messinger, the Democratic candidate in the 1st District, said she was "bewildered" by Romney's comments.

"I believe that most hard-working Americans who fall into his 47 percent would take exception to Mr. Romney's negative characterizations," she said.

"As I understood Mr. Romney's comments, this 47 percent includes our senior citizens, retirees, current members of the armed forces and our brave veterans," she said.

U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson, Georgia's two Republican senators, did not respond to questions about the video and the fallout.

Romney's estimate on the percentage of people who do not pay federal income taxes is slightly off. The percentage is actually 46 percent, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center.

An estimated 16 million elderly retirees do not pay federal income taxes because of limited incomes and tax breaks that only apply to seniors. In other instances, some families with children qualify for enough tax breaks to avoid paying federal income taxes, according to the center.



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