By Katie Glueck
Rep. Elijah Cummings dismissed on Friday an attempt by Mitt Romney to walk back disparaging comments about 47 percent of Americans, saying that he thinks the GOP hopeful believes his initial statement.
"I think what he is trying to do is to come back and say, "You know what, I know that probably the most damaging thing I have done in this election is that; now let me go try to straighten it out,'" the Maryland congressman said on CNN's "Starting Point. "You cannot straighten it out. I believe that's what he believes."
Cummings' comments came a day after Romney retreated from his statement -- captured on tape at an off-the-record fundraiser -- about the 47 percent of people who don't pay income tax and whom he called "dependent upon the government." Romney, in an interview Thursday with Sean Hannity on Fox News, said that remark was "completely wrong" and that his "whole campaign is about the 100 percent."
"Mr. Romney knows that was extremely damaging," Cummings said. "He knows no matter what he says, that image of him sitting with people, drinking their wine and having a nice time [at the fundraiser], and him saying that about 47 percent of the population -- by the way, our constituents, our veterans and our seniors and other folks and hard-working Americans that I saw at 5:30 this morning getting on the early bus to go to work -- that's what he said about them. And he knows, no matter what he says, it is overshadowed by that."