My name is Scott Prouty. Um, I'm a regular guy. [shrugs] Uh, middle-class, hard-working guy. Um, you know, I—I'd like to think I have a good moral compass, and a core, um, and I think I have a little bit of empathy. I think I have a little bit more empathy than Mitt Romney had. I don't know how to describe myself [grins] but I, uh, I was behind this, this whole thing. I was bartending that night, uh, for the Romney fundraiser.
I brought the camera, and a lot of other people brought cameras, you know, like I said, for thinking he would come back and take pictures. [Former President Bill] Clinton in the past had come back with the staff and taken pictures, and that was, you know, really my thought. I, you know, I hadn't really made up my mind—you know, I was willing to listen to what he had to say; I was interested to hear what he had to say. I didn't, um, go there with a grudge, you know, against Romney. I was more interested as a voter.
I just carried [the camera] in my backpack. You know, again, they had never—they had never said, 'Don't bring cameras; don't film.' You know, that was never said, and, you know, I just thought, you know, why not? ...I really had no idea he would say what he said. I thought he would say basically the same things he was saying in public. [shakes head] I had no idea it was going to be this big thing that it turned out to be. I had no idea.
There's a lot of people that can't afford to pay $50,000, you know, for one night, for one dinner. And I felt an obligation, in a way, to release it—I felt an obligation for all the people that can't afford to be there. You shouldn't have to be able to afford $50,000 to hear what the candidate actually thinks.
I had gone back and forth—in that two-week period, I had gone back and forth, and said, you know what? I have a pretty comfortable life. I struggle like everybody else, and, you know, and, um, why am I gonna do this? Why am I gonna risk everything? Should I risk everything? Should I put myself in jeopardy? Should I put myself in legal jeopardy? And I, you know, and there was times I kinda went back and forth a little bit, and I, you know, I woke up in the middle of the night one night, and I was, you know, in the darkness of my house, just kinda, just looking out the window and just thinking about it, and I walked into the bathroom and I just looked in the mirror, and the words "You—you coward" just came outta my mouth, and I just looked in the mirror and just said, "You're a coward. You're an absolute coward." And, you know, because I was kinda leaning to not putting it out. And it just kinda came outta my mouth. And I, you know, I went back to bed, and said, "All right, well, that's not gonna work, you know?" [grins] I'm gonna put it out; I'm gonna be proud I did it; I'm gonna do it, and I'm gonna do it to the best of my ability; and I'm gonna make sure as many people as possible hear it. And then at least when I turned that corner, I felt good about it; I felt like I was doing the right thing. And I went down the path and never looked back.
[on the 47% section of the video] You know, I knew where [Romney] came from—he was born with all the advantages, you know, advantages that few people have: The son of a governor, CEO, you know, prep school educated, Harvard educated, you know. And I don't think he has any clue what a regular American goes through on a daily basis. I don't think he has any idea what a single mom, you know, taking a bus to work, dropping her kid off at a daycare, you know, that she can barely afford, and hopping on another bus—you know, the day-in day-out struggles of everyday Americans. That guy has no idea. No idea. And, you know, I don't think he'll ever have an idea.
I wanted the conversation. When [David Corn of Mother Jones] went public with it and he released the full video, um, I had offers [to do interviews], and I thought it was absolutely the wrong thing to do. All along, with David, I wanted Mitt Romney's words, and Mitt Romney's words only. He's the guy running for president—I wanted his words to be the absolute center of attention. And, you know, maybe it'd be fun to go on a show, or do this show or that, but I thought that would change the, the topic of the conversation away from the primary thing that was most important to me.And here is David Corn's excellent piece about working with Prouty to release the video. This seems a good time to revisit a quote shared by many of you in yesterday's QOTD, care of my dear friend and colleague Maud, whom I still miss so much: "There are times when you must speak, not because you are going to change the other person, but because if you don't speak, they have changed you."
Thank you, Mr. Prouty, for sharing that video. It won't ever change Mitt Romney, but I hope every time you look in the mirror, you feel brave.