Obama camp allows 'off-the-record' interview to go public
October 24th, 2012
10:13 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama camp allows 'off-the-record' interview to go public

(CNN) - President Barack Obama's campaign agreed Wednesday to allow the Des Moines Register in Iowa to publish an interview with the president that was previously established as off-the-record.

A transcript of the interview was posted the morning after the newspaper's editor wrote in a blistering blog post Tuesday that representatives for Obama refused an on-the-record conversation with the newspaper's editorial board, which is preparing to endorse a candidate for president in the coming days.

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In the interview, the president went farther than usual in expressing his goals on immigration, saying he felt "confident" about accomplishing immigration reform in a second term and credited a potential election night win to what he described as the GOP's alienation of the Latino community.

"I'm confident we'll get done next year is immigration reform," Obama said. "And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community."

"And this is a relatively new phenomenon," he continued. "George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they're going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it's the right thing to do and I've cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008."

Mitt Romney, the GOP nominee, conducted an interview with the paper's editorial board earlier this month. The audio of his comments were recorded and posted on the Des Moines Register's website.

In his post, Editor Rick Green said Obama's team should have granted his organization the same type of interview, saying the president's remarks in the off-the-record conversation, which took place Tuesday morning by telephone, would have helped undecided Iowa voters make up their minds.

"Just two weeks before Election Day, the discussion, I believe, would have been valuable to all voters, but especially those in Iowa and around the country who have yet to decide between the incumbent Democrat and his Republican opponent," Green wrote.

In a letter to Obama's Iowa campaign organization, which Green included in his posting, the editor wrote that Obama didn't have anything to lose by making his comments public.

“What the President shared with us this morning — and the manner, depth and quality of his presentation – would have been well-received by not only his base, but also undecideds. From a voter standpoint, keeping it off-the-record was a disservice," Green wrote.

A representative for Obama's campaign did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday regarding the Des Moines Register's statements. According to the Des Moines Register Wednesday morning, campaign officials released the interview "without comment."

The Republican National Committee used the posting to suggest Obama was hiding something from voters in battleground states.

"Two weeks out from an election concealing this interview from Iowa voters both raises questions about what he was hiding and betrays the President’s lack of confidence about his failed record and lack of a vision for a 2nd term," RNC spokesman Tim Miller wrote.

"In short, President Obama is telling Iowans that if they want to hear him answer some tough qs before Election Day, they’ll have to hope for a rerun of ‘The View,’" he added, making reference to the president's appearance on the daytime talker earlier this fall.

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Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • President Obama
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. Cam Spurgeon

    So Endorse Romney. This righty paper probably supported the end of auto companies too. They were just trying to give their endorsement more muscle which failed. Ugh`Wear an R on your Forehead. CNN should have their Hosts wear and R or a D on their anchors too.Let the public know whether to pay attention or not.

    October 24, 2012 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
  2. stillonline

    CNN you keep sling this mud and you'll be so filthy that you won't be good for anything but paper training puppies. In a few days we will find this is much ado about nothing but you'll have your gotcha moment and days of casting doubt about the President. Shame on you.

    October 24, 2012 04:57 am at 4:57 am |
  3. anonoymous

    Too bad rnc doesnt feel that why about Romney's taxes..by the way where are 10 years worth of taxes?

    October 24, 2012 05:06 am at 5:06 am |
  4. REDFIRESTORM

    The bottom line for obama: he is fighting an insurmountable rising romney tide because of the two-pronged 1st debate-and-benghazi credibility gap - pure and simple. obama has just a third prong with the state of iowa - pressuring the newspaper to act unethically on his behalf. It's time for CNN to pull all stops and let the heavy hammer pound this travesty to the ground once and for all. Do the CNN editorial chiefs agree or not?

    October 24, 2012 05:10 am at 5:10 am |
  5. Earth man

    Obama doesn't care about anyone but Obama. People who are seem limb voting for him are not; they are just voting Democratic Party. Go shovel snow Obama.

    October 24, 2012 05:22 am at 5:22 am |
  6. Donkey Party

    Really RNC, you want to say Obama is hiding something??? Where are Romney's tax returns, you miserable, lying, domestic terrorists?

    October 24, 2012 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  7. Emma in Baltimore

    “What the President shared with us this morning — and the manner, depth and quality of his presentation – would have been well-received by not only his base, but also undecideds. From a voter standpoint, keeping it off-the-record was a disservice," Green wrote. ... The Republican National Committee used the posting to suggest Obama was hiding something from voters in battleground states.

    Is the RNC advising Obama to be more forthcoming with his well-received ideas?

    October 24, 2012 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  8. BinaryTooth

    We can't have Obama do anything without a teleprompter. Otherwise he will bungle his message.

    TRUE LEADERSHIP!

    October 24, 2012 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  9. FedUp

    Guess the Obama team is very certain they don't need the undecided Iowans votes. Teach them a lesson voters!

    October 24, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  10. nina

    its hard to believe most artilces anymore....it seems the country had something to prove 4 years ago by electing their first african american president and unfortunately, the same main street media and loud mouth rich folk have spent the last 4 years trying to tear him down. really really sad.
    The world around can see what is going on and we shake our heads with sadness. who would've thought that in america in the 21st century, there would be different rules for an african american president & he would be held to different standards than even the most recent preceding potus

    October 24, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  11. heather

    you have got to have
    tough skin when it comes to being in
    the spotlight
    every little thing
    you do is under a
    microscope

    October 24, 2012 06:34 am at 6:34 am |
  12. onlyfacts

    Sounds like another low-life tactic to make Obama look "bad" and to gain some ground. I doubt Obama told a newspaper, during a campaign, that his remarks need to be kept off the record. I can't wait to here the rest of the story.

    October 24, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  13. John, PA

    Of course President Barack Obama refused an on-the-record conversation, president Obama can't defend the last 3 plus years of his FAILED policies; let's review:
    Obama’s FAILED economy,
    Obama’s FAILED housing market,
    Obama’s FAILED energy plans,
    Obama’s FAILED budgets.

    October 24, 2012 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  14. Borderless

    The "most transparent administration ever" won't go on the record with the Des Moines Register? I guess Iowans will have to watch MTV or Nickelodeon if they want to know something about President Hollywood.

    October 24, 2012 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  15. Dean

    It looks as if Obama is endorsing Romney. At least he's done something right.

    October 24, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  16. Jay Dee

    Why didn't Romney go on the view?

    October 24, 2012 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  17. Brian

    how about that.... Obama hiding something... I thought that has been hims MO all along.

    October 24, 2012 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  18. Barry Coates

    Here in DC, we pay an extra 5 cents if we want a bag for our items. They never tell us about the tax until after we've paid for items we cannot possibly carry and people usually don't carry change. This means the Starbucks clerk gets annoyed when we want to run our credit card through again for 5 cents.

    A local newspaper recommended as chic to women paying $2,300 for 700 square feet of space that they store their shoes in their ovens.

    When have we turned into the Ukraine? No one wants to talk about it because they're afraid our feel-good politician won't see 4 more years in the White House.

    October 24, 2012 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  19. BO Swagger

    Obama has dat kinda swagger! HOLLA!

    October 24, 2012 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  20. Andrea Sharp

    This is a waste of ink

    October 24, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  21. adinfinitum7

    Obama just discussed everything in three public debates. Why should he chance some newspaper quoting him out of context at his late stage?

    October 24, 2012 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  22. Christopher

    i feel that any publication endorsing any politician mars their objectivity...and any media outlets that compromises its objectivity should be ignored by all...while I understand that journalist are people too and may lean one way or another...i still feel if its not objective it belongs nowhere in news

    October 24, 2012 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  23. truth hurts

    Let's face it, Obama just HATES being confronted about his four years of failure. I'm sure he didn't want all of his recorded words being used against him as most of them would be delusional lies. What ever happened to the Obama that promised to be the most transparent president in our history?! ANOTHER total lie.

    October 24, 2012 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  24. wackemnow

    Iowa, land of GMO people. An experiment in chemistry aimed at raising compliant, right wing luggage clerks that actually believe the messages on their bumper stickers.

    October 24, 2012 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  25. Took

    So the paper got in a tiff because they couldn't get an exclusive interview?

    October 24, 2012 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
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