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President Barack Obama On Mitt’s 47 Percent: 'You Gotta Work For Everybody, Not Just For Some'

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Sep. 18 2012, Published 2:00 p.m. ET

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By Staff

President Barack Obama, appearing on The Late Show with David Letterman Tuesday, responded to election rival Mitt Romney's comment that 47 percent of Americans “believe that they are victims," which were covertly recorded during a May fundraiser.

"I don't know what he was referring to," the president said. "But I can tell you this: When I won in 2008, 47 percent of the American people voted for John McCain. 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.'"

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The president said that one big lesson he's had in office is that "you represent the entire country," not just your political supporters.

"And when I meet Republicans as I'm traveling around the country, they are hard-working family people who care deeply about this country. And my expectation is, is that if you want to be president, you gotta work for everybody, not just for some," the president said to applause from the audience.

The president cut Romney a bit of slack for the gaffe, saying that "people understand you're going to make mistakes on the campaign trail.

"What I think people want to make sure of, though, is that you're not writing off a big chunk of the country," he said. "This is a big country: And people disagree a lot, but one thing I've never tried to do -- and I think none of us can do in public office -- is suggest that because someone doesn't agree with me that they're victims or they're unpatriotic."

David Letterman
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