I heard there was some controversy about Romney and a 47% comment - his opponents claimed he called 47% of the population useless eaters and his supporters claimed he had said something quite different. I didn't follow it, don't know the exact quote and context, and so won't weigh in, neither on what he said, nor what I think he actually meant.
I thought of that comment today, however, as the union people who are around a lot where I work were handing out election fliers as I walked in. (Nice people. I resent that NH SEA affiliated with national, read corrupt, unions, but the people here are regular folk.) The phrase that they use for union members is "Working Families." When they outline what Obama and Romney will do for (or to) Working Families, it is always limited to what their positions are on union legislation.
This irritates me, for it is a claim that union members are the people who work and the people who have families. It's a deniable claim if people call them on it, but it's pretty blatant. I imagine the people who thought Romney said that 47% of the people were sucking off the rest of us had a similar feeling. Rightly or wrongly, once you've taken in that thought, any explanation sounds like an excuse.
I dislike that political strategy, however effective it might be.