For months, the identity of the person who recorded Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% remarks at a $50,000-per-person fundraising dinner during the presidential campaign remained a mystery.
That was until Wednesday night during an exclusive interview with MSNBC’s Ed Schultz. Scott Prouty said he wrestled with whether or not to go public with the tape for a few weeks. But once it was out, what was his reaction to how it played out in the campaign?
PROUTY: “I watch MSNBC religiously….You know, I’d turn on the channel and it would be on another show and another show… I didn’t know how long that story was going to play out, but I thought, boy, this is certainly having an effect that I had hoped and, you know, and it did. And it continued probably longer than I could have ever imagined it would.”
But I think it defined him [Romney] at a critical point… and it defined him exactly for who he was.
President Obama did not refer to Romney’s 47% remarks during the first debate, to the disappointment of many of his supporters and the surprise of most political analysts. Here’s Prouty’s reaction, in his discussion with Schultz, to how President Obama used Romney’s 47% remarks in the second debate:
SCHULTZ: President Obama used your material to close a debate at a very crucial time after his first debate was heavily criticized. This is his closing statement. What was going through your mind at that point?
PROUTY: Oh, it was–it was the last line of the debate and I think I was sitting on the edge of my couch at the time just waiting. I had watched the first debate, and, you know, there was no mention of it. And I…there was a–certainly a cheer erupted in the room at the time. I was thrilled that he hit him with it when he did. And it was well done.
SCHULTZ: Did that validate your instincts about how important this tape was when you saw the president use it?
PROUTY: Yes. I was glad. … I was kind of wishing that he had used it in the first debate. But it all, you know, it all worked out well. In a way, it worked out exactly the way I would have hoped it would. You know, I — I’m thrilled that he mentioned it and I think he used it to great effect, for sure.
So does Prouty think the video influenced the outcome of the election?
“Yes, I think it did,” Prouty told Schultz. “It defines him [Romney] at a point when he needed to be defined for the American public and that it defined him in a real negative light, but in an honest light.”
Read more about Prouty’s other “incredibly brave and incredibly stupid” acts.