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The man who captured Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments has revealed himself to be Scott Prouty, a bartender who was serving at a Florida fundraising dinner for the former presidential candidate.
Appearing on MSBC’s The Ed Show on Wednesday, Prouty described himself as a “regular,” “hardworking guy” who grew up in a blue-collar Boston suburb.
“I like to think I have a good moral compass and core,” Prouty said. “I think I have a little more empathy than Mitt Romney had.”
Prouty said he and other staff members brought cameras to the May 17 dinner, thinking Romney might take pictures with the staff afterward. He claimed to have had no anti-Romney agenda going into the dinner but was startled by the candidate’s comments as the evening progressed.
The turning point came when Romney spoke of his former private equity group buying a factory in China, which employed young women who lived on-site under rough conditions.
“At this point, I realized this was not your typical speech,” he said.
Ed Show host Ed Schultz played Romney’s 47 percent comments, in which he said a portion of Americans would vote for President Barack Obama no matter what because they believed they were victims and deserved help from the government.
“I don’t think he has any clue what a regular American goes through on a daily basis,” Prouty told Schultz.
Prouty revealed that after the dinner, he spent two weeks deciding if he should release the video. He lost sleep and feared he might lose his livelihood if he went public. One night he walked into his bathroom, looked at himself in the mirror and the words “you coward” came out of his mouth.
That’s when he decided he wanted to go public with the footage. He reached out to journalist David Corn, who wrote a Mother Jones article claiming Romney had invested in a Chinese firm that outsourced U.S. jobs. In a stroke of Democratic kismet, Prouty reached Corn though President Jimmy Carter’s grandson, James Carter, who worked as Corn’s research assistant. Corn helped Prouty get the video clips out and the undercover videographer also posted them on liberal blogs.
Leading up to the election, Prouty said he received numerous offers to be interviewed on TV, including on NBC’s Today, but he chose not to reveal his identity because he wanted Romney’s words to be “the center of attention.”
During the interview, Prouty noted the fundraising dinner was $50,000 a plate and that he released the video so those who could not afford to pay such a price would be able to hear what Romney said behind closed doors.
Prouty is registered as an independent, but tends to vote Democratic, and said he had no contact with the Obama campaign during election season. For him, the highlight of his experience from the video came when Obama referenced Romney’s 47 percent comments during his closing statement of the second presidential debate.
“A cheer erupted in the room at the time,” Prouty said.
Watch the interview below.
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