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President Addresses Controversial Romney Comments During Sit-Down With Letterman

President Barack Obama and David Letterman (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

President Barack Obama and David Letterman (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — President Barack Obama has left town following a pair of fundraisers Tuesday. But before them, he taped an episode of the “Late Show” with David Letterman, where he addressed comments made by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Rebuking Romney, Obama said Americans are not “victims” and that anyone seeking the presidency ought to be working for “everyone, not just for some.”

Obama’s remarks came after a secretly taped and newly released video of the Republican presidential nominee showed Romney describing “47 percent of the people” as Obama supporters who depend on government and believe they are victims.

“My expectation is that if you want to be president, you have to work for everyone, not just for some,” Obama said during the taping with Letterman.

It was Obama’s first response to the video, which roiled Romney’s campaign and put him on the defensive about his views regarding nearly half the nation.

In the video, taken during a May fundraiser and posted online Monday, Romney said it is not his job “to worry about those people.” He was referring to what he called Obama’s locked-in supporters who believe they are “entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you name it.”

Romney has since said he made his point inelegantly in trying to describe differing visions for the nation.

“There are not a lot of people out there who think they are victims” or simply entitled, Obama said.

Obama also said he did not know what Romney was even referring to with his “47 percent reference.”

The president said that when he won in 2008, 47 percent was the amount of voters who went for his opponent, Republican Sen. John McCain. McCain actually got about 46 percent of the popular vote.

Current polling shows Obama with a slight edge over Romney.

Obama said people understand that the presidential candidates will make mistakes on the campaign trail. He said that includes one he regrets from 2008, when audio from one of his own private fundraisers had him saying that some residents of depressed rural areas get bitter and “cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren’t like them.”

Having said that, Obama added: “What I think people want to be sure of is you are not writing off big chunks of the country.”

Obama said the American people work hard and just want politicians of both parties to work together to solve problems.

“One thing I’ve learned as president,” Obama said, “is that you represent the entire country.”

The president appeared on the TV show before a night of fundraising that included one hosted by Beyonce and Jay-Z at the rapper’s 40/40 Club in Chelsea.

(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)