Romney continues "dependency" critique as one prominent Republican suggests he needs to shake up his campaign

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses a fundraising event on September 18, 2012, in Salt Lake City. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages

mitt romney
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney addresses a fundraising event on September 18, 2012, in Salt Lake City.
NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/GettyImages
(CBS News) In an op-ed in USA Today, Mitt Romney stuck to the defense he has waged following Monday's release of a video that created a political firestorm, in which he is shown criticizing the "47 percent" of Americans who don't pay federal income tax.

Fact checking Romney's "47 percent" comment

"Efforts that promote hard work and personal responsibility over government dependency make America strong," Romney wrote in the op-ed published in Wednesday's USA Today. "Under President Obama, we have a stagnant economy that fosters government dependency. My policies will create a growing economy that fosters upward mobility."

"Government has a role to play here. Right now, our nation's citizens do need help from government. But it is a very different kind of help than what President Obama wants to provide," he wrote. "My experience has taught me that government works best when it creates the space for individuals and families to pursue success and achieve great things."

Romney continues to stand by his comments at the May fundraiser that was caught on tape, arguing that they were "not elegantly stated," though he maintains his message has been consistent. While many Republicans came to Romney's defense after the release of the video, cracks are starting to show among conservatives.

The coming war within the Republican Party
Conservatives defend Romney's "47 percent" remark

Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan had little positive to say about the Republican nominee Tuesday.

"What should Mitt Romney do now? He should peer deep into the abyss. He should look straight into the heart of darkness where lies a Republican defeat in a year the Republican presidential candidate almost couldn't lose."

"This is not how big leaders talk, it's how shallow campaign operatives talk: They slice and dice the electorate like that, they see everything as determined by this interest or that. They're usually young enough and dumb enough that nobody holds it against them, but they don't know anything. They don't know much about America," Noonan continued.

"An intervention is in order. 'Mitt, this isn't working,'" Noonan added. "If you're gonna lose, lose honorably. If you're gonna win do it with meaning."

In addition, the right-leaning editorial board of the Wall Street Journal and the left-leaning editorial board of the New York Times hounded Romney for his comments and his response.

"Mr. Romney may have been talking about electoral tactics: those people are going to vote for Mr. Obama, so let's concentrate on our kind of people. It's also possible that he was mouthing the words of the extreme right without really believing them. But all the possible explanations say terrible things about Mr. Romney's character," The New York Times editorial board wrote.

"Surely a man as smart as the former CEO of Bain Capital can give a better speech on taxes and dependency than he delivered at that fundraiser. If he can't, he'll lose, and he'll deserve to," The Wall Street Journal editorial writers opined.

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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