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Bartender who taped Romney’s ‘47 percent’ comments speaks out

WASHINGTON — The bartender did it.

Scott Prouty came forward to say he secretly taped the video last year in which GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney told donors that 47 percent of Americans are “dependent on the government” and “believe they are victims.”

Prouty was revealed Wednesday night during an MSNBC interview with Ed Schultz. The Huffington Post also interviewed Prouty, a Florida man, several times and agreed not to disclose his name until after the TV appearance.

The secretly taped video was posted online by Mother Jones magazine in the fall, several months after the May fund-raiser in Boca Raton where Romney spoke. The video created a national uproar as President Barack Obama and his Democratic allies used Romney’s words to illustrate that the Republican was out of touch.

Obama defeated Romney in the election, and Romney garnered about 47 percent of the vote.

Prouty, who worked for a catering company hired for the fund-raising event, told MSNBC that he wanted people to hear the candidate and make their own judgments about his motivation.

“The guy was running for the presidency, and these were his core beliefs. And I think everybody can judge whether that’s appropriate or not or whether they believe the same way he does,” he told MSNBC. “I felt an obligation to expose the things he was saying.”

Prouty described himself as a middle-class, hardworking “regular guy.” He said he agonized for weeks about what to do, fearful that the video could be traced back to him because of where he positioned the camera at the fund-raising event.

A clip of the video was found online by James E. Carter IV, a grandson of former president Jimmy Carter, who traced the source of the tape and gave the full video to Mother Jones. Obama met the younger Carter in Atlanta last month and thanked him for his role in the tape’s wide distribution.

In his first post-election interview, Romney told Fox News last week that his videotaped comments were “unfortunate” and “very harmful.”

“What I said is not what I believe,” Romney said. “My whole life has been devoted to helping people, all of the people. . . . But that hurt. There’s no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign.”

Romney will speak Friday at the Conservative Political Action Conference, a high-profile gathering of activists held in a Washington suburb.

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