(Jim Young/Reuters)MIAMI--Still in damage control mode over his "47 percent" remark captured by a hidden camera, Mitt Romney repeatedly insisted Wednesday that he is running to represent "100 percent" of America and that he has a record of being inclusive.
"My campaign is about the 100 percent of America," Romney said in a forum sponsored by the Spanish-language network Univision.
Romney made his comments just days after a video came to light that captured Romney suggesting President Barack Obama's supporters?which he identified as 47 percent of the voting electorate?had a "victim" mentality and were dependent on government handouts. The video was recorded on a hidden camera at a Florida fundraiser earlier this year.
Asked about the video, Romney insisted he was running to represent all Americans, using the phrase "100 percent" four separate times. He pointed to his record as governor of Massachusetts, a mostly Democratic state, as proof that he can lead all people, regardless of political party.
"I have a record," Romney insisted. "I have demonstrated my capacity to help the 100 percent."
Addressing a large Hispanic audience, Romney tempered his rhetoric on the subject of immigration?insisting his policy will not be to "round up people and deport them."
"Our system isn't to deport people," Romney insisted.
Echoing a speech he delivered earlier this week before a Hispanic business group, Romney cited the importance of "legal immigration" in America's culture and history and said the issue of immigration reform has been a "political football" for too long.
The GOP candidate slammed Obama for not delivering on a campaign promise to overhaul the nation's immigration system.
"It needs to be fixed," Romney said. "When I'm president, I will actually do what I promise, I will put in place an immigration reform system that resolves this issue."
But Romney repeatedly dodged the question when asked how we would address the issue of so-called "DREAMers," young immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally by their parents. He criticized Obama's decision earlier this year to offer a temporary waiver allowing those young illegals to obtain work permits without fear of being deported--suggesting it has hurt the larger cause of implementing immigration reform.
"These kids deserve something better than temporary," Romney said. "They deserve a permanent solution."
But Romney declined to say specifically how he would handle the "DREAMers" or whether he would keep the waiver approved by Obama in place permanently. But he insisted repeatedly he would not "round up people" and deport them.
"We're not going to round up 12 million people, and that includes the kids," Romney said, referring to the estimated number of illegal immigrants in the country. "We need to provide a long-term solution."