WASHINGTON The bartender working the private Florida fundraiser where Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney made his comments about "47 percent" of Americans says he didn't make the secret recording as a political partisan.
In his first public interview, Scott Prouty tells MSNBC's Ed Schultz that he lost sleep and struggled for weeks before deciding to release the recording to the magazine Mother Jones.
But Prouty says he thought it was important that people heard Romney and knew what he was really thinking.
In the video, Romney tells donors paying $50,000 apiece that 47 percent of Americans are dependent on government, see themselves as victims and believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.
Romney's critics used the video to argue that he was out of touch with average Americans, and the video is seen by many pundits to have played an important role in Mr. Obama's re-election.
The Reuters news agency observes that, "When Prouty handed the tape over to Mother Jones and the magazine published it in September, Romney was put on the defensive for weeks and never really recovered."
"I didn't go in there with a grudge against Romney. I was more interested as a voter," Prouty told Schlultz.
Mother Jones also confirmed that Prouty was the person who taped the video, Reuters say.
He described himself as a "regular guy, middle class, hard-working guy" and was tending bar at the event donors had paid $50,000 to attend.
"Prouty said he was initially motivated to release the tape by a different comment that Romney had made in which he expressed interest in having his private equity firm buy a Chinese factory that employed 20,000 people who earned little money" and worked under very poor conditions, Reuters notes.
The media seized on the 47 percent comments.