Published: Sep 17, 2012 11:14 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 18, 2012 6:30 AM EDT

COSTA MESA, Calif. (AP) - Republican Mitt Romney says a video clip in which he said that nearly half of Americans think they are "victims" was "not elegantly stated." But he says President Barack Obama's approach is "attractive to people who are not paying taxes."

Romney spoke to reporters Monday evening in a hastily called news conference after the emergence of a video in which the GOP presidential nominee told donors that almost half of American voters "believe that they are victims."

The Republican nominee did not disavow the comments but said they were made during a question-and-answer session. He said it was indicative of his campaign's effort to "focus on the people in the middle."

The website of the magazine Mother Jones posted a video of Romney's comments from a private fundraiser.