The bartender did it.
Who shot the infamous "47 percent" video, surreptitiously recorded west of Boca Raton, was one of the biggest lingering mysteries of the 2012 election season.
Scott Prouty, a bartender, appeared on television Wednesday to claim credit for delivering a sucker punch to Mitt Romney's presidential aspirations.
"I feel good about it. I feel good about the way it turned out. I don't have any regrets. It turned out exactly the way I hoped it would," he said. "People need to hear what someone really believes. People need to hear what he really thinks. And he was saying exactly the opposite in public," he said in a lengthy interview on "The Ed Show" on MSNBC, the cable channel favored by Democrats.
The Multimedia Mixologist didn't say where he lives, but public records indicate that Prouty may live in a condo in South Florida. He's not listed as the owner, and he described himself to interviewer Ed Schultz as "a regular guy" and a "working guy."
"I'd like to think I have a good moral compass and a core. And I think I have a little bit of empathy. I think I have a little bit more empathy than Mitt Romney had," he said.
Prouty had a huge impact on the 2012 presidential campaign when he came forward with the video that showed Romney describing 47 percent of Americans as people who don't take responsibility for their lives, think government should take care of them, and believe they're entitled to health care, food and housing.
After hearing what Romney said, Prouty said he concluded that the Republican presidential nominee had no idea what regular Americans go through on a daily basis. "And I don't think he'll ever have an idea."
At first, he said, he thought the fundraiser at the home of Marc Leder, a Republican moneyman and co-chief executive of the private investment firm Sun Capital Partners, was "just another typical party," albeit at a $3 million residence west of Boca Raton.
He said he brought a camera to the event not to make history, but because he thought he might get a chance for a photo with a man who had a chance to become president. "I was willing to listen to what he had to say," Prouty said. "I hadn't gone there with a grudge against Romney.
"I really had no idea he would say what he said. I thought basically he would say the same things he was saying in public. I had no idea it would turn out to be this big thing it turned out to be," he said.
Still, he sounded skeptical about Romney and his supporters, who paid $50,000 a person to attend the event. "Nobody I know can afford to pay $50,000 for dinner. I just don't know anybody that can do that."
After the event, he said he was conflicted about releasing the video, wondering, "Why am I going to do this? Why am I going to risk everything? Should I put myself in jeopardy? Should I put myself in legal jeopardy?"
One night, he said, he woke up, walked into the bathroom and looked at himself in the mirror. "The words 'you coward' just came out of my mouth," he said. He concluded he had "an obligation in a way to release it."
He said he turned to the liberal magazine Mother Jones because of an article he read on its website about deplorable working conditions at a factory in China. He went to James Carter, the grandson of former President Jimmy Carter not because of politics, but because Carter was credited as the research assistant on the article.
Prouty said he hasn't received any money for interviews, and Schultz said his show doesn't pay for interviews.
Though Prouty recorded the interview in May, he and Mother Jones didn't release it until after Labor Day, a critical period for a political campaign.
Prouty said on MSNBC that he's a registered independent, but voter registration records show he was a registered Democrat from 2002 at least through the 2010 gubernatorial election.
He said he voted for Obama, and the Twitter feed @AnneOnymous670, which takes credit for the 47 percent video, is largely a political, with tweets including the view that National Rifle Association leader Wayne LaPierre "is an evil man," that big retailers must be held accountable for worker deaths in a factory fire, and labor unions are necessary.
When Obama used the "47 percent" comments to attack Romney at the end of their second debate, Prouty said he was "thrilled that he hit it with it when he did."
The 47 percent video left Romney's campaign reeling.
Charles Zelden, a professor of history and legal studies who specializes in politics and voting at Nova Southeastern University, said the video fit the narrative that President Barack Obama's supporters were trying to paint of Romney as an out-of-touch rich guy.
"When it came out, it just put him in the worst possible light, and it was the light that he was already in for most," Zelden said. "If you were a swing voter you were looking for a reason to sit back and say, 'This guy isn't that bad.' This [video] said he really was that bad."
Ira Sabin, chairman of the Palm Beach Republican Party, said the video "fed into the kind of stereotypical image they were presenting of Romney. It gave them more ammunition."
Broward Democratic Chairman Mitch Ceasar said that's exactly why it had such an impact.
"This was Mitt Romney live, uncensored, and on his own stage," Ceasar said. "People had a preconceived notion of who they really thought Mitt Romney really was. This confirmed their greatest fears or their greatest suspicions."
Staff researcher Barbara Hijek and staff writers Anne Geggis and Wayne K. Roustan contributed to this report.
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