romney sot responds to fundraiser video _00000014
Romney explains fundraiser video
02:23 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

King: Romney's "47%" figure may not be statistic about who pays federal income taxes

Democrats are gleeful over Romney's comments; GOP strategists in Washington see remarks as self-inflicted wound

Release of secretly videotaped remarks comes as race appears to be trending in Obama's favor

Washington CNN  — 

First Mitt Romney makes two references to 47 percent. Then he suggests President Barack Obama “starts off with 48, 49.”

“These are people who pay no income tax,” Romney said at a May fund-raising event that was secretly recorded and is now at the center of a campaign controversy.

Because of that remark, most of the commentary has understandably assumed he was referring at all times to the roughly half of Americans who don’t pay income taxes. Romney’s ’47%’ - Washington’s tax break obsession to blame

I think not.

The first reference – 47 percent – is the ballpark number smart pollsters in both parties consistently use to describe the president’s most loyal base.

The math behind that?

Begin with the president’s steady support among African-Americans, Latinos and other non-white voters. Then add in his backing among white, college-educated women.

So when Romney told the fund-raiser crowd there are “47 percent of the pe