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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Interview With Mother Jones' David Corn, Journalist Who Broke The Secret Romney Video

Michael Juliani |
September 18, 2012 | 1:47 p.m. PDT

Assistant News Editor

Mother Jones's Washington bureau chief David Corn.  (Wikimedia Commons)
Mother Jones's Washington bureau chief David Corn. (Wikimedia Commons)
Mother Jones published an exclusive video on Monday and Tuesday that showed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney speaking to donors at a May 17 private fundraiser at the home of private equity mogul Mark Leder.

The video showed Romney saying his opinions on Obama voters, the 47 percent of Americans who Romney said he'll "never convince [that] they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives" because they rely on the government.

In a phone interview from his Mother Jones office, Corn described the process of obtaining the secret videotape.

While working on stories about Romney's time at Bain Capital, Corn became aware of a clip on the Internet that showed Romney talking about visiting a factory in China.

Corn had help from a research assistant, who happens to be former president Jimmy Carter's grandson.

Carter then decided to help Corn find out who had posted the videos of Romney talking about China, with the hopes of possibly uncovering more of the same video.

Carter was able to track down the person, who had posted the video online under the username "Anne Onymous" and put the person in touch with Corn in mid-to-late-August.

Corn and the source communicated through private tweets, emails and phone calls, and "developed a relationship of trust."

Corn was then able to persuade the source to share the full video.

According to Corn, the timing of the video's release had no relationship with last week's backlash against Romney's comments about the way President Barack Obama responded to the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya.

"There was no strategic intent to this," Corn said.

The source had already posted bits of blurry clips and audio files online, on YouTube, and "nobody had really picked up on it," Corn said.

"There was no effort made by the source to push this out at this particular point," Corn said.  "It wasn't like we had this for a long time and sat on it.  I got the story out as fast as I could, having pursued it responsibly, deliberatively, making sure to authenticate the video."

When asked his opinion on whether this spells the end of Romney's chances for the White House, Corn said, "I don't know.  I'm too close.  I can't say whether this will be a knockout blow or [if it will] blow over."

"The campaign obviously is upset about this or worried about it because they had that hastily called press conference last night," Corn said.  "You don't do that unless you're worried about something."

Corn said that if he had more impending bombshell pieces like this one in the works he wouldn't mention them in an interview. 

Corn thinks that Romney should be pressed during the upcoming presidential debates about the comments he made in the video.

"Does he really believe that half of America doesn't take personal responsibility for themselves?  Does he really believe that half of America feels entitled to housing, food and healthcare and consider themselves victims?  I think these remarks are very sweeping and very derogatory towards half of the electorate.  How can you be a president for everybody if this is your attitude towards one half of your fellow citizens?" Corn said.


Read more of Neon Tommy's coverage of the 2012 presidential election at our blog Politically Correct.

Reach Assistant News Editor Michael Juliani here.  Follow him on Twitter here.



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