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Obama: As President, You Work Hard For The Entire Country

President Obama responded to Mitt Romney's controversial "47 percent" comments in an interview with David Letterman this afternoon.

"My expectation is that if you want to be president, you have to work for everyone, not just for some," Obama said according to a pool report.

In secretly taped comments at a fundraiser, Romney said 47 percent of the country was dependent on the government and felt they were "victims" and entitled to government benefits. Those people, Romney said, would never vote for him.

The AP reports that Obama said Romney was wrong to write off a "big chunk of the country." The AP adds:

"'When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain," Obama said. 'They didn't vote for me and what I said on election night was: "Even though you didn't vote for me, I hear your voices, and I'm going to work as hard as I can to be your president."'

"Obama said presidential candidates are always under the microscope and are going to make mistakes. Letterman reminded the president of his own gaffe in the 2008 campaign, when he spoke of conservatives who 'cling to guns or religion.' But Obama noted that he immediately apologized for the statement — an apparent contrast to Romney's defense of his comments, which Romney called 'inelegant' but reflective of his views."

Obama also struck back at the victims comment.

"There are not a lot of people out there who think they're victims," he said. "There are not a lot of people who think they're entitled to something."

Obama added: "We've got some obligations to each other, and there's nothing wrong with us giving each other a helping hand so that that single mom's kid, even after all the work she's done, can afford to go to college."

The Late Show interview is scheduled to air tonight on CBS, which said this is Obama's second appearance on the late-night show since he became president.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.