Obama camp allows 'off-the-record' interview to go public
October 24th, 2012
10:13 AM ET
2 years 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. spike

    Well, we can't have the president speaking on the record, can we?

    October 24, 2012 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  2. TomNPitt

    Sounds a little snarky about something nobody would be listening to anyway. I mean really! Who listens to a newspapers recordings of interviews of a newspaper article they just read. Souds like it was a set up the President side stepped.

    October 24, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  3. scottw

    So, the DSM Register is angry they couldn't get an interview to sell more newpapers. Poor excuse for journalism, IMHO.

    October 24, 2012 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  4. Yeahona

    Oh yeah, you newspapers are the ultimate God of the world. Be careful when leaving your building that your head doesn't slam into the doorway.

    October 24, 2012 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  5. hartford

    president Obama is a bless ing from God . halloween is for ugly, small minded people who done like themselves at all. get over it. I vote for president Obama because he keep me safe as well as being home the troops and fight for my education which am greatful for everyday.

    October 24, 2012 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  6. Why2

    Why is this news? Romney is not the President and can be more free with his comments. The President must be more careful with what he says. The RNC blasts the President for giving constructed interviews on TV, for not being Presidential enough, for being this or that; but then gets mad when The President of the USA does not act like everyone else. Choose one or the other.

    October 24, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  7. jim

    Bwhahahahaha, bwahahahahaha, Republicans complaining that someone else is hiding something.

    Stop, I can't breath I'm laughing so hard.

    October 24, 2012 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  8. Not a big Deal

    As much as its editor would like to think it so, it simply is not the case that the Register is the Mecca of Truth Iowans rely upon for accurate information. The editor should stop whining. It's unbecoming to the "owner" of the local megaphone.

    October 24, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  9. Bulldog8

    There must not have been a teleprompter available. Surely the campaign wouldn't want him to speak without one right? A Biden incident could happen.

    October 24, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  10. Rmoney Rproblems

    Romney bluffs with the best of them. The race is not even close. See you at President Barack Hussein Obama's second swearing in, right wingers. OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

    October 24, 2012 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  11. Cyp

    Rick Green is a conservative with an agenda. Do you really think you would endorse Obama even if he gave your paper an interview ? I do not think so.

    October 24, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
  12. David

    Say goodbye to Iowa and Ohio is next. On another site Libs were urging the rest of us not to gloat, but you know what? Republicans don't do enough gloating in my view. It's time to gloat!!! Bye Bye Obummer!!!

    October 24, 2012 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  13. ib1sage

    So a Conservative publication is blasting the Pres for not talking to them. Oh My!

    October 24, 2012 08:52 am at 8:52 am |
  14. dcd

    Let's get real. It's a right leaning paper and Obama knew that. The fact that Romney was willing to sit down with them should tell you something right away. Look at all the request Romney has refused for interviews and TV appearances and you will find Romney rejects them 10 to 1. I am not even sure why someone would think this is a story.

    October 24, 2012 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  15. mikithinks

    Hmm, President of the United States, a paper in Iowa. Fifty states. How dare he not take time to have an on the record interview? Print media is so last century. Who has time to read a newsource that has, by the nature of paper, old news? When I buy a paper, it is to compare ads for a sale for those few items I don't get from the internet, ie, tires. The editors are living in a past era where people got news from newspapers.

    October 24, 2012 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  16. Sebastian2

    Newspapers don't really have much sway over voters these days, I'm afraid (as I write this on cnn.com).
    And I really don't think one angry newspaper editor in Iowa will cost many Iowan voters to rethink their vote at this late date. Print is not dead, but it's definitely on life-support....

    October 24, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  17. Lizzie

    Why should he give an interview, according to the media he already got a second term.

    October 24, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  18. Anonymous

    "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,’"

    Really Mr. President? Are they going to ask you what your favorite color and type of sandwhich are? You are a walking joke....

    October 24, 2012 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  19. dnokc

    What's so new? Mr. Obama ONLY accepts planted softball questions from "actor" reporters. All other questions will be ignored or the press meeting terminated due to pressing matters. "Go on record and have some accountability?" That could come back to haunt him! It could also potentially taint his "transparency" of government facade.

    October 24, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. moneymaker

    Remember when Obama said his administration would be 'the most transparent' ever? What happened? This administration conceals everything–even an interview with a Des Moines newspaper on his political platform? Huh?

    October 24, 2012 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  21. The Realist

    Perhaps the editorial board would like to answer this question on the record:

    "What's the difference between a "segregated suburb" and a "Jewish settlement"?

    October 24, 2012 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  22. hippie power 69

    mittens, where are your tax returns? 2010 and 2011 can still be amended the people deserve to see from 1999 through 2009. i believe any person running for the president of the usa owes the people he is asking to vote for him full disclosure of all of his finances. what do you have to hide? what are you running from? show us your tax returns mitt, just like your father did when he was running. shame on you robmey. shame on bain for what they are doing to the good people of freeport IL and for what they will to do american jobs and workers. just take a look at sensata. a money making company until they trashed the company and its workers. shame on you. liar liar, pants on fire.

    October 24, 2012 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  23. iowan forever

    Get over it. He'll give you an interview after he gets elected!!

    October 24, 2012 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  24. felix el gato

    Nobody cares what Iowa thinks.

    October 24, 2012 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  25. joshua

    I am not impressed by the feigned outrage of the Iowa Register. Obama hasn't talked to anyone in the media except a few radical talk shows in almost 2 years. Why did they think he would answer any questions now?

    October 24, 2012 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
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