The 47 percent story came to prominence, Carter says, only because he'd worked on the sweatshop story. "I wondered, Why does this [person] from South Florida care about sweatshops in China?"

On September 10, a CD from Florida materialized on Corn's D.C. desk. Not expecting much, the editor popped it into his computer. But when he heard Romney say those words — 47 percent — he stopped the video. His blood was pumping. "When I saw it, I had to play it again," Corn says. "To see a presidential candidate, in his own words, show such detachment and ignorance was stunning."

Corn soon discovered that reporters at the Huffington Post were hounding Onymous for the video as well. She demurred but then demanded that Corn blur everyone's face — except Romney's — if he were to show the video.

Within a week, the video was up. It went viral within hours. The reason, says Bryan Marshall, a political science professor at Miami University in Ohio, is that "voters were primed... When the 47 percent video came out, it solidified their impression of him."

Obama's campaign manager, Jim Messina, issued a statement condemning the comments, and Romney's camp foundered under the scrutiny. Conservative political commentator Sean Hannity made perhaps the most ridiculous suggestion of the whole election: "If I'm Governor Romney, I run with this all day long."

Soon, Carter appeared on MSNBC's Hardball and NBC's Today and even snared inquiries from an agent asking him to write a book. It was vindication. For months, Romney had derided Carter's grandfather on the stump.

Carter, who doesn't know Anne Onymous's real name, says he suspects the videographer is a middle-aged white man. Leder, who threw the fundraiser for Romney, theorizes she was probably a member of the catering crew. But neither explanation fits with what we know about her. Why would a middle-aged white guy care so much about the factory girls of China? And why would someone on a catering crew not capitalize on this moment — write a book, make a movie, get famous?

What's holding Anne Onymous back? Perhaps it's the law or an embittered Mitt Romney trolling for scapegoats. Or maybe it's something else entirely. What if Anne Onymous is one of the millionaires who paid a bundle to attend? We don't know. The last thing we heard from her, by email of course: "I just can't talk right now." And then — poof — she disappeared.

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3 comments
drakemallard
drakemallard topcommenter

to mitt the twit when are you ever going to learn? that sliver spoon in your mouth gives you ideals! Above your position. If you weren't such an i di ot you probably will have won and what make it worse. Is you can't even see that! you call forty-seven percent of the citizenry shiftless moochers and still hope to win the presidency. Tax policy is made up of small mystical creatures and health problems are already solved through the miracle of .emergency rooms!

voicesofthe51percent
voicesofthe51percent

Social media has changed what candidates can get away with  - when Romney was running, then elected governor here in MA just 8 years ago,  there were sooo many moments that, if we had video cameras that would record quality videos in our phones, we'd have so much more material  to work with!

 
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