Man who took Romney "47 percent&quo

March 14 [Thu], 2013, 17:40
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Scott Prouty was at a fundraiser for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney last year as the bartender, and ended up secretly taping a video that changed the trajectory of the 2012 presidential campaign.

Prouty went public with his story on Wednesday after months of speculation as to who might have been the source of the video that dealt a body blow to Romney's campaign.

Last May at a Florida fundraiser, Romney said 47 percent of voters were dependent on government and "will vote for the president no matter what."

When Prouty handed the tape over to Mother Jones and the magazine published it in September, Romney was put on the defensive for weeks and never really recovered, losing to President Barack Obama on November 6.

"I didn't go in there with a grudge against Romney. I was more interested as a voter," Prouty told MSNBC.

Mother Jones also confirmed that Prouty was the person who taped the video.

He described himself as a "regular guy, middle class, hard-working guy" and was tending bar at the event which donors had paid thousands of dollars to attend.

Prouty said he was initially motivated to release the tape by a different comment that Romney had made in which he expressed interest in having his private equity firm buy a Chinese factory that employed 20,000 people who earned little money.

The news media seized on the 47 percent section of the speech. Prouty said he felt it changed the course of the election.

"I think it defined him at a critical point, defined him for exactly who he was," said Prouty.

He said he had no contact with the Obama presidential campaign over the tape.

"I voted for President Obama, but I'm actually (a) registered independent," he said.

(Reporting by Aruna Viswanatha and Steve Holland; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)



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