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. zipurlip

    Cry babby. That's their perogative whether you like ti or not Mr. Editor. Your complaint is both self serving and irrelevent.

    October 24, 2012 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  2. Truth Teller

    Given that the Paper has already endorsed Romney, why on Earth would they expect he talk to them, let alone help raise their circulation. Guess even the Media has "Entitlement Issues".

    October 24, 2012 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  3. truth

    Doesn't make much sense for Obama and his team to do this. Is there more to this story?

    October 24, 2012 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  4. Iowan

    I'm sorry, but the Des Moines Register is not going to help me decide who I will vote for. I've watched the debates and read many articles through various media outlets. One editorial page is not going to sway me.

    October 24, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  5. Matt Stone

    What else would you expect from a campaign that lies and spins the facts at every opportunity. Obama's record is one of deceit and failure and he is not worthy of any reputable endorsement. In my opinion, he is the worst president in history.

    October 24, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  6. Clement_W

    Why would a President not want an interview to be on the record, unless, there was in it something which he said was not what he was and is peddling to us poor saps who fell for it the last time?

    October 24, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  7. Todd

    why would he do an interview with a newspaper thats going to endorse his opponet? Seems silly to me.....I wouldnt do it and Im a Republican. Seems like people are being really hard on the president....its a tough job and the decisions a president has to make are not always determined by his own agenda. This goes for any President... Dem or Rep.

    October 24, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  8. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    What you see and dont hear is what you get with obama, I used to live in Iowa and I know that there are people there that just vote for unseen promises, but IO hope that this opens their eyes and that they can truly see how obama minipulates the system with lies and mis-truths. Vote Romney or Lose the American Dream.

    October 24, 2012 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  9. Misterg

    If that's not calling the kettle black.Show us your taxes Mitt,what's the matter don't you want us to see that you took the amnesty so you wouldn't be prosecuted for tax fraud.

    October 24, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  10. dsangiovanni

    They can watch national TV as all we did to know everything about Obama or use internet.. There is nothing left to say. Just vote...

    October 24, 2012 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  11. Lynda

    Just goes to show you what he really thinks about the little guy. He is another Chavez, President to the Elitists like himself and his liberal Hollywood entourage.

    October 24, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  12. Jim Jones

    Obviously Obama must have said something in the interview that is inconsistent with other interviews or speeches. While nothing new, his latest attacks are aimed at trying very hard to make it look like Romney is the one who is inconsistent. What goes around, comes around. He stepped in his own ....um... trap. His focus on attacking character instead of actually having a plan himself, is coming back to haunt him. With Obama it is always the same old, same old. 4 more years of the same old?

    October 24, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  13. Rod

    A bunch nof Republican spin. The paper said there was nothing in hgis comments of issue. In fact, they would help him. What you had was an Obama underling making a wrong decision and the Republicans trying to get milage.

    October 24, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. Catherine

    The paper said that what Obama said in the interview would have been well received by the voters. The Republican Committee is trying to morph it into something it was not, if the paper's evaluation was correct. My guess is since they did not respond, the request fell through the cracks. It happens.

    October 24, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. Phil

    That is pretty interesting, especially considering how much the campaign has been putting into Iowa and early voting. Something was said in that interview that they feel might have a negative impact on the campaign. RELEASE IT! lol Heaven forbid someone leaked out something that Obama said.... Oh wait they have, the open mic with Obama talking about being more flexible in negotiations w/ Russia after the election and this is his last one. We rarely hear about it cause the media decides its not of any importance......

    October 24, 2012 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  16. Iowan

    The Register will blast anyone if they think it will sell their worthless gossip rag. They are in the business of selling papers, not of telling the news.

    October 24, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  17. Conservative

    are any of us surprised by what obama does anymore? the guy is a complete failure. so sad for america...

    October 24, 2012 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  18. woodofpine

    Makes me understand why newspapers are going the way of the dinosaur. Freakin' Des Moine Register is lucky PROTUS even takes a call from them.

    October 24, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  19. Detada

    Hey DeMoines Register; Be for real for a change. You want the President's comments on the record so you can sell newspapers. Voters have plenty of on the record material available to them from both candidates, from which to make a decision. Besides, newspapers should report the news, not make the news and should not publicly support ANY candidate....ever.

    October 24, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  20. Duane

    Obama....time to leave and let an adult take charge

    October 24, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  21. noah green

    Dude, care for any cheese with whine?

    October 24, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  22. PhillySW

    Have people been living under a rock or something! Who in the world is still undecided? About what? What information that hasn't already been spoken in public or posted online by either presidential candidate don't you know by now? What could either candidate possibly say to you that would all of a sudden make you vote for them if you're still clueless about who you would vote for up till now?

    What difference would a radio interview make to someone after well over a year of campainging on both sides, as well as televised debates?

    Maybe the Des Moines Register should just be honest, and say that they were leaning towards Romney already. They were just looking for an excuse to put down Pres Obama.

    October 24, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  23. Cool

    I was trying to comment on a report about the 9/11 attack this year, but the site on CNN indicated that it is closed for comments. Another very biased technique from CNN. It is very obvious that the administration was and is still lying about this incident, it is very obvious that president Obama cares more about his reelection than about 4 people killed from out country. It is not about election anymore, it is about loving this country and respecting ourselves.

    October 24, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  24. Trey

    Bush did the same thing. as a matter of fact, bush never went on the record. There is nothing to see here, obama just inherritted the bush policy it isn't his fault.

    October 24, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. Chris33

    If you want to privatize Social Security and Medicare, lower taxes for the rich, outlaw abortion, and start a new war with Iran, vote Republican.

    October 24, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
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