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. jo an

    Obama, I have your back and I want to help you and other people in the USA to make the USA what it can be!!! I am White and in the 2%....I will pay more taxes....

    October 24, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Fact

    I just read the interview. It is obvious the complex problems that cannot be overly simplified to sound bites. These problems we face require well-thought out and sometimes complex solutions to solve. The President has earned the privilege to serve another term. He stopped the greatest financial crises since the Great Depression, got Bin laden, saved GM, and is reinvesting in America all with direct and unreasonable obstruction from the other side of the aisle and The President has had other major successes. His opponents are only playing Monday morning, armchair quarterback, because they have no new ideas. The President has earned the right to serve and finish implementing his plan, which grows the economy from the middle out and can potentially yield generations of improved prosperity. A President like Obama does not come along often. He actually cares!

    October 24, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  3. Page

    wyl5326

    Barack is probably trying to use this as his October surprise to rally his troops after lackluster debate known more for his audition joke on Horses and bayonets in a serious setting ! Barack was probably still suffering from withdrawal effect of Al Smith dinner joke where he got screwed decisively by Mitt then !

    Silly you....you need to get real. We are not looking for a debater and chief we are looking for a commender and cheif and the last debate shows the Obama is the one. Commander and Chief does not create jobs they protect out beauiful country. So if are looking at the debate you vote for the President Commander and Chief. As far as AL Smith dinner this was a way for both make fun of themselves. Romney jokes was making fun of O. He has no taste. If you believe that Romney got your back than vote for him, people don't know what he stands for all we know that he claims he can create 12 millions jobs but he does not say how. By the way in the next four years 12 million jobs will be created under O policies. So you need to put on your thinkers cap because want you are saying is silly.

    October 24, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  4. Scott3342

    I'm so glad the President is so transparent. Now if Mitt would just release his tax returns the GOP could stop whining about the lack of information about the candidates.

    October 24, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  5. Cindy

    What's Romney hiding in his taxes? I'll bet we'd see more profits made on other Sensata type business deals and that's why he's not releasing them for us to see.

    October 24, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  6. Montroc

    The paper should have gone for the off-the-record interview if they wanted real insight. That's where you get all the "White House sources say..." information. Now, all they're going to get is vanilla, eve-of-election focus group-tested answers. But, they'll probably get better sales from the public interview.

    October 24, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  7. AEireM

    I am not American, but in the last few months I have spoken to Canadians, Iranian Canadians, Hawaiians, Irish folks, all very intelligent and guess what, not one supports Romney. The fact that this race is so close really speaks to the intelligence or racial bias of America.

    October 24, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  8. Howard

    @CaesarXIII, If you loosened your tin foil hat a bit so your brain could actually function you might have realized that the full transcript of the interview is availabable at the newspaper's web site. You would also have realized that it would not be in the newspaper's best interest to edit or redact anything from the interview because it would only hurt their credibility and not Obama's.

    October 24, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  9. Nard father

    Smart move to keep it off the record first. Drew attention to the comments, smart campaign tactic.

    October 24, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  10. Kyle

    This reeks of political strategy to me. Smart political strategy. It's as if the Obama campaign is trying to create their own "47 percent" video in which the voters are under the impression that we're getting a glimpse of what the candidate (Obama) REALLY thinks when he's off the record. In this case, the things we hear/read, actually sound pretty darn good to many Americans; as opposed to the very divisive things Romney said in his private remarks. So the campaign keeps the interview private in order to suggest Obama is saying what he TRULY believes (which is very likely the case), then allows it to go public so when we find out just want this man thinks "behind closed doors," we find out it's what we actually want to hear from our leaders. Just my theory. *shrug*

    October 24, 2012 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. OMG!!

    @BinaryTooth
    We can't have Obama do anything without a teleprompter. Otherwise he will bungle his message?? OMG!

    Romney is the one who needs a teleprompter so he can remember when and where he told what LIE. The guy does not know which way is up! The biggest flip flop I've ever seen! The can't remember what he said from one speech to another.

    October 24, 2012 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. rafee

    To sit there and say Obama has failed the economy is flat out stupid! This was by no means a typical recession, We’re growing faster than Europe and we’re growing faster than Japan. If the president had not acted we would have hundreds of teachers laid off, police, ffd, the auto industry would of collapsed, and we would be in much more trouble now than we were in 2008-2009. People are working, there are alot more to do but we are growing and will continue to grow!

    October 24, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  13. Greg C.

    Why is this President so dishonest with the American Public. Where's the so-called transparency he spoke about in his past election campaign? Why is he telling lies at rallies about Coal Miners supposedly being forced to attend rallies when he knows that is a bold-faced lie, America and those coal miners want to know. I have now heard on two separate occasions coal miners (not just their supervisors) that they were not coerced, no attendance was collected, and in both occasions they have sent letters to Obama asking him to take down false ads. Hundreds of coal miners signatures were on petitions to the President to take down the ad and stop telling lies involving them.

    October 24, 2012 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  14. Peggy Munro

    It is good that people know the convictions of his heart. He is a good man and deserves another term as he is well on his way to achieving some key milestones. As for CNN being in Obama's camp, my brother who lives in Florida swears that Romney owns CNN. Go figure.

    October 24, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. pbernasc

    Juan, another sucker who wakes up late then complain .. the email news has been top headline for hours and now it has been replaced by what people are reading more and find to be more of a news item than a story about some meaningless email... nobody cares dude , that's why the story is no longer headline

    October 24, 2012 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. 1twinsfan

    Who can vote for a guy who can't handle meeting his opponent in a debate without sweating?

    October 24, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  17. hahahaha

    He cared about this since 2008? Must be that laser like focus that he didn't do anything about it all until an election year. Folks this man is a joke. Fire Obama

    October 24, 2012 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. Truth told

    now do we really want go there?Hello,this was not a cover up interview,it was off the records.47% by Romney would be a cover up behind the curtains of the rich,interview!JS

    October 24, 2012 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
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