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. GL

    Mitt Romney is running one of the most dishonest campaign ever.

    July 24, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  2. PJ, TX

    Mitt, Mitt, when will you tell us your plans? What will you promise Netanyahu, and when will we know what
    was said. We are tired of your lame Obama bashing, half-truths, and stonewalling on your tax records.
    Guess you didn't know, or care, that one of your ads, Gilchrist Metal Fabricating, actually got a government loan to
    start their business. That makes President Obama right, and you wrong, as usual.
    The "truth will set you free".

    July 24, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Af

    Everybody knows that Romney is not siding with middle class paople. that is why he has 43000 donors who gave him $100million. 43 000 donors? let do the math: $100.000.000/ 43000 =$2325.58 the average. How many middle class people can afford to pay $2325.58 for candidate?
    le's see for Obama. Obama recived $71.000.000 from 500.000 donors . the math: $100.000.000/500.000 = $142 in average per donor. Most middleclass people can afford $142 but $2325 like romney's donors

    July 24, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  4. Sandy

    Romney = serial LIAR!

    July 24, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  5. TexJB

    So, Mr. Romney are you saying that the government doesn't help people build their businesses? It sounds like you are saying that the businesses themselves should be responsible for building the roads and the bridges and the rest of the infrastructure?

    July 24, 2012 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  6. Sandy

    Why no link to the ads so we can view them?

    July 24, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  7. love344@tiscali.it

    the GOP = lies and deception...

    July 24, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. John

    Romney thinks all these businesses made it on their own however almost all of them had Government loans to get them going. The roads,highways, bridges,sewers,water,electricity that business needs to survive were not created by them but by the so called Big,bad Government. Romney is out of touch and is lying. Private business did much of the hard work but to say that Government Infrastructure and loans were not a part of them being successful is plain wrong and deceitful....

    July 24, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  9. Dan

    I'm glad President Obama hasn't stooped as low as Mitt Romney.

    If President Obama was as desperate as Romney, he could easily use Romney's own words from the 2004 Olympics where Romney told Olympians "You didn't get there alone", but went on to say you had parents, teachers, trainers, etc.

    I'm proud that we have a leader like President Obama who knows every business leader, every worker, and every Olympic athlete has been impacted by everyone in their life.

    July 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. mfhpr

    Only a fool would say that someone didn't build his own company. All truth tellers and people that possess common sense know what Obama was saying. Leave it to a liar like Romney to twist it to his benefit. It's what he does; it's who he is; it's how he built his empire – he will do and say anything to get what he wants and morals and ethics are clearly nowhere in his sites.

    July 24, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. enuff

    Is this what this election year is going to come down to? The President could say something like "do what you do do best" and the RNC/Romney says "he said doo doo". Be grown ups! Focus on what is important to Americans! This is just stupid school yard antics. Tell me what your policies will be to help my family.

    July 24, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  12. chuck weidemann

    Let me get this straight....Romney the man with cash in foreign bank accounts,taking money from China is saying Obama is unamerican??? He is critical of Obama because Obama says a lot of Americans work hard and are smart???? Romney is saying sharing our hard earned wealth is unamerican because we help the less fortunate???? Seems to me a noble and Christian principle......that Romney believes we the people can be fooled so easily is just damn insulting!!!!

    July 24, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  13. Just a thought

    Robme is a sorry excuse for an american, a human being, person of faith, let alone being totally without any of the qualities necessary to be president. His very first ad was a lie and hasn't changed one thing. Everyone knows from the last election, you can't just wait around for this president to come up with a gaffe. Instead you have to create one.

    This idiot (Robme) would have us in a war in nothing flat. Even with translators, if Robme intentionally takes the words of a foreign leader out of context, then we find ourselves in another war. IT'S JUST THAT SERIOUS YOU TEA PUB-LI-CANS ! This man has no honor. He can't win on his ideas...because he doesn't have any. He has no core, because he has flipped on everything from abortion, to gay marriage, to financial disclosures, to healthcare, to just being a liar about what he was doing from 2000 to 2002...angling for Olympic business for his companies.

    The only reason this "puss bucket" is even this close is because we have enough idiots in this country to support him. We need people with brains voting in this country. Not intelligence challenged knuckle draggers that elieve we should do the same stupidity from the "W" administration. It should tell these people something that nobody from the Bush clan will be at the convention...Why.??? Because they don't want americans reminded of the past mistakes. Get a clue you really vapid Tea-a-Tards/Re-dumblicans

    July 24, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Jules

    I think that the Obama campaign needs to stress the secrecy that Romney brings to the election. He destroyed records as governor, now we find that the Olypic records were scrubbed before being archived and that the Olympics were not in the dire straits that Romney made them out to be, he won't release his taxes. Actually, secrecy surrounds this man. What is it that is hidden in his background that he doesn't want the American people to see. There is something hidden he doesn't want us to know about or maybe he suffers from paranoia. Either way, voters have a right to know.

    July 24, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. Yonni

    The dishonest bishop has no boundary or shame to made up one false statement after another. I wonder what is in his core? I know this much no principle at all.

    July 24, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  16. aces2jokers

    Can we just get this election over with? At this point i'm hearing more whining and tantrums than policies and ideas. We need more policital parties cause this 2 party system is thoroughly broken.

    July 24, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  17. Sniffit

    "arguing the comments are out on [sic] context."

    ...proving the comments are out of context.

    FIFY. It's ok to admit the truth, CNN. You don't have to play "disinterested middle-man who isn't taking sides" even when someone is blatantly lying and it's 100% obvious from the black-and-white words on the page. These attack adds, particularly the most recent, from Mittens's campaign are blatantly false and massive misrepresentations by someone who obviously has so little respect for our rights to vote that he wants you to exercise said right based on misinformation and confusion.

    The reality is that if you look at the speeches Mittens made AFTER Obama said this, Mittens himself tried to steal exactly the point Obama was making on Wednesday, July 18, 2012 by saying the following:

    “There’s no question your mom and dad, your school teachers, the people that provide roads, the fire, the police,” help business owners...A lot of people help."

    THAT is the same thing Obama was saying and Mittens liked it, so he tried to force a misperception of Obama's words in order to steal Obama's point.

    July 24, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  18. Steve

    Too bad the Conservative news Union Leader in NH found out Gilchrist benefited from a $500.000 U.S. Small Business loan in the 80's, $800,000 in in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority, and matching funds from the New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center which is also Federally funded but hey why actually give facts right Mitt?

    July 24, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  19. truth

    Remember the "i like to fire people" controversy they pushed hard on? Was that out of context? No credibility....Obama said it and there is audio and video.

    July 24, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  20. Obama 2012 - BEND Forward America, take another 4 long years of OBAMA FAILURE

    "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."
    ================================================================================================
    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.

    July 24, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  21. marty

    Democrat , Republican, or Independent, one can only hope that the majority of the voters have the intelligence to see through many of the horrible, ugly excuses for the political ads that are thrust upon the public via print, TV, radio , social media and the internet. We have a choice to make; become a robot and follow in lock step as the Grover Norquist disciples
    unquestioningly do, or pursue our own intellectual curiosity and make an informed judgement on that very important voting day.

    July 24, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  22. Darryl

    Can we just get on with moving the country forward like we are instead of having to listen to this childish back and forth stuff. Let The POTUS do his job and quit the following him all over the country like your still in High School it's so immature and just stupid.President Obama is doing a great job even with the GOP & T-Party Congress stopping him at all levels. Everybody pretty much knows what been going on and the Republicans don't have a chance of getting back the same power they did have. Lets get on with the positive out look and put the negative stuff behind us where it belongs.

    July 24, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  23. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Taking quotes out of context is going to come back and bite the campaign.

    July 24, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  24. Greg

    If Romney's campaign ads were graded by high school teachers he would get an "F" for intellectual honesty. I guess that's why he doesn't support teachers or even think they are important to building a better economy.

    July 24, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  25. Al

    Well he has to reach those that don't have the time to watch commercial on television sets, and if they were to watch the news, they might discover the facts of the spending that is happening to their parents dollars and their future taxes. The internet has been a great tool, but it allows for some to claim ignorance.

    July 24, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
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