Obama camp pushes context in web videos
July 24th, 2012
09:03 AM ET
2 years ago

Obama camp pushes context in web videos

(CNN) – As Mitt Romney and fellow Republicans ramp up their attacks on President Barack Obama for his remarks on small business, the president's operation is pushing back with a duo of web videos arguing the comments are out on context.

The battle stems back two weeks, when Obama told a crowd in Roanoke, Virginia, that successful small businesses got that way with the help of governmental support like roads and educators.

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"If you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," Obama said. "There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet."

Various bits and pieces of that line have been used in attacks from Romney, the presumptive GOP nominee, as well as the Republican National Committee and others seeking to defeat Obama in November. Last week Romney's campaign released a television spot using a portion of Obama's quote, paired with sharp criticism of the president along from the owner of a metal fabricating company.

In two web videos released Monday and Tuesday, Obama's team says the attacks are taking the president out of context. In one 30-second spot, the campaign portrays the effort as part of a pattern.

"Seen this ad?" the video begins, playing a clip of Romney's spot from last week.

"Wait a minute," continues the narrator in the Obama's web video. "Romney deliberately altered the meaning of the president's words. Actually he was talking about building infrastructure and education, not that individuals don't build their own businesses."

The narrator asserts that "Romney's been caught doing this before," citing the first ad Romney's campaign purchased in his bid for the presidency in November. In that spot, Obama is shown saying in 2008, "If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose."

Obama's entire line was: "Senator McCain's campaign actually said, and I quote, 'If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose.'"

A second video from Obama's campaign features deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, urging supporters to explain to their family and friends the full thrust of Obama's words.
"We all have a relative who spends all their time forwarding those crazy email chains. So make sure they get the facts too," Cutter says.

The RNC, which launched an attack effort Tuesday using Obama's small business remarks, scoffed at the Obama campaign response.

"Steph Cutter and Team Obama continue throwing their fake tantrum over the context of the president's economic comments thinking we'll overlook reality," RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski wrote. "The fact is from his 'you didn't build that' and the private sector is 'doing fine' comments to the fact that he hasn't met with his jobs council in 6 months and hasn't had a daily economic briefing in over a year, we know these aren't gaffes or out of context – they are Obama's beliefs."

Romney, appearing on CNBC Monday, claimed that even within context Obama's words were troubling.

"I found the speech even more disconcerting than just that particular line. The context is worse than the quote," Romney said. "The context, he says, you know, you think you've been successful because you're smart, but he says a lot of people are smart. You think you've been successful because you work hard, a lot of people work hard."

Romney continued by slammed Obama, saying "This is an ideology which says hey, we're all the same here, we ought to take from all and give to one another and that achievement, individual initiative and risk-taking and success are not to be rewarded as they have in the past. It's a very strange and in some respects foreign to the American experience type of philosophy."

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Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. Mike

    The Republicans are using methods honed by Breitbart – take a edit out everything but a sentence fragment until you have something that fits your preconceived narrative. What Obama said is write, and articulated a truth often ignored by "job creators" (i.e. rich) who think they made their wealth alone. In fact, the more you earn, the more you made use of our nation's education, transportation, defense, etc infrastructure, which completely justifies a higher rate of tax. Obama's error was in shorthand phrasing. "You didn't build that" should have been "You didn't build that alone". That's what he explained in every other sentence.

    July 24, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  2. Larry

    Romney made his fortune the old-fashioned way... his daddy gave it to him.

    July 24, 2012 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Rudy NYC

    Last week Romney's campaign released a television spot using a portion of Obama's quote, paired with sharp criticism of the president along from the owner of a metal fabricating company.
    -----------------
    Government has played the role as the "The Great Enabler" for American businesses. That guy got a degree going to college on a government student loan, as probably did most of his top inner circle of executives. Materials come and go from his business on roads built, maintained and paid for by American taxpayers. The public utilities bring power and water to his business. The free press allows him to advertise. All of that and more exist because government has fostered the conditions that enabled the infrastructure to grow.

    The business succeeds because there is a rich customer base of American middle class consumers. American businesses achieve their highest success win everyone else succeeds, too. Republicans always talk about how the role of government is not to create jobs, but to nurture the conditions that allow for jobs growth. I heard Pres. Obama spelling out that the same idea in more specific terms, compared to the broad brush Republicans always like to use.

    July 24, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  4. Dave

    Obama has recently changed immigration laws and work requirements for welfare recipients without going through Congress. All Hail King Obama!!!

    July 24, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. Sniffit

    ""The fact is from his 'you didn't build that' and the private sector is 'doing fine' comments to the fact that he hasn't met with his jobs council in 6 months and hasn't had a daily economic briefing in over a year, we know these aren't gaffes or out of context – they are Obama's beliefs."
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    Absolutely! And keep hammering the point home. It is Obama letting glimpses of what he believes out, one slip at a time. Why doesn't this socialist just come clean with the American people and tell us the truth?

    You might want to also dig up Obama's "spread the welath around" comment."
    ===========

    Total nonsense. The jobs council made its recommendations and many of them were incorporated IN JOBS LEGISLATION THE GOP/TEATROLLS BLOCKED LAST WEEK.

    July 24, 2012 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  6. jujube

    I hope for America's sake that people wake up and see what Barry is truly all about.

    Nothing was out of context in his speech – except for him. Everything that he is about was exposed in that speech. No one twisted his words, no one twisted its context – it all came out of his mouth. He exposed himself and showed America what he is truly about.

    July 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  7. Southeast

    Mitt has said a lot more, cutting education, I wouldn't vote for anyone who did that. Tax me but not his buddies, cut Medicade for the old and poor. He's a joke.

    July 24, 2012 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  8. Sniffit

    "Romney made his fortune the old-fashioned way... his daddy gave it to him."

    And, in light of people like the Koch's and Adelson's offered purchase prices for his decision-making, he's now also engaged in the oldest profession on Earth.

    July 24, 2012 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  9. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama

    The internet was created by the military as a form of communication. Is was not created by the government for all companies to make money.

    July 24, 2012 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
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