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DENVER — Democrats may have tried to take out Bob Beauprez in the Republican primary — but they saved plenty of bullets for the general election.

Eight days after Beauprez’s primary win, just as the GOP gubernatorial nominee is barnstorming the state on a “Unity Tour” with his former rivals and newly-minted running mate, Colorado Democrats released a video of a Beauprez speech from a Denver Rotary Club appearance back in 2010 in which the then-retired politician riffed about the 47 percent of Americans who don’t pay taxes.

“I see something that frankly doesn’t surprise me, having been on Ways and Means Committee: 47 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax,” Beauprez said (at 5:35 into the video clip below).

“I’m guessing that most of you in this room are not in that 47 percent — God bless you — but what that tells me is that we’ve got almost half the population perfectly happy that somebody else is paying the bill and most of that half is you all.”

Like Mitt Romney, the 2012 presidential nominee whose campaign floundered after video surfaced of him making almost identical remarks to high-dollar donors during a private fundraiser, Beauprez intimated that Democrats want a large portion of the population dependent on government for political reasons.

“I submit to you that there is a political strategy to get slightly over half and have a permanent ruling majority by keeping over half of the population dependent on the largess of government that somebody else is paying for,” Beauprez said.

The video, which has been on the internet for some time, was first reported Wednesday by the Denver Post after being alerted to it by the Colorado Democratic Party.

“It’s shocking that a candidate for Governor would basically accuse half of the population of being freeloaders,” said Colorado Democratic Chairman Rick Palacio. “Not only is Beauprez out of touch, but his elitist remarks show that he has no respect for Colorado’s seniors, our veterans or hard working families that are struggling to get by.”

Beauprez’s campaign is standing by the remarks.

“In full context, it’s clear [Bob’s] saying that it’s sad more people are not doing well enough to pay federal income tax,” said Dustin Olson, Beauprez’s campaign manager. “Bob’s focused on strengthening our economy so more people have jobs and can prosper. Like Bob has been saying we should be focused on lifting people up and creating more opportunity.

“It’s an unfortunate fact that after years of President Obama and Gov. Hickenlooper’s failed policies, that too many hardworking Americans are not making enough money to pay taxes.”