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. Donnie the Lion

    I'm a Democrat, but that sounds like a fair criticism of Obama's decision. Doesn't subtract from the fact Mitt Romney sucks.

    October 24, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. widget

    What IS the man hiding? That is the million dollar question.

    October 24, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  3. Whatever

    This editor like the newspaper he represents is non-news worthy. The Des Moines Register is in need of a new editor because of the worthless news and tabloid like journalism they are currently subscribers of. I am no longer a Reg. client like so many others due to the lack of news content. Don't talk to the Register talk to City View!!!

    October 24, 2012 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  4. julnor

    The Adminstration later said a protest about a film prevented them from making the comments public.

    October 24, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  5. James

    Bitter dude.. calm down the President has a choice and so do you. Im sure he had better reasons for keeping comments off record & I think for answers to tough qs President Obama has gone through that in the media, the convention and campaign trail, its not like he only appeared in the view.

    October 24, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  6. ROMNEY2012

    Typical Obama worshipping garbage
    America is enter the toiletbowl of hell unless we vote for Romney!
    God loves Romney and it's proved through his many blessing of wisdom and foresight!
    Don't vote against the will of GOD! Vote for MITT ROMNEY, the true saviour of AMERACA!

    October 24, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  7. Average American

    They are worrying about an interview.....What about Mitt Romney's tax returns or his real stance on issues??????

    October 24, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. n

    America is this who you want to direct and guide your path . . ."The Republican National Committee used the posting to suggest Obama was hiding something from voters in battleground states." The party of gloom, doom and gloom.

    or take a more positive path and approach . . .

    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.
    Can you hear me now?

    October 24, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. PNWjim

    Sort like Morph Romney's tax returns would tell the American people just how honest Morph is [or is not].Has the paper written an editorial on that or why Morphs people would not feel the same way]tranparency and all] about showing the American people how he is just one of us.

    October 24, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  10. MAtt

    The only news organization to the left of the Des Moines Register was Pravda. With the demise of the USSR (which is still viewed with horror by the Register Editorial Board) the Register now stands with alone. Workers of the World Unite! The chances that the Red Star will endorse Romney is just under 0%. Who do they think they are kidding?

    October 24, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. IvotedearlyforObama

    No more secretive than Bush's energy commission or Romney hiding his tax forms.

    October 24, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  12. Ed in Reno, Nevada

    Let's face it...an interview on The View probably has as much journalistic integrity as an article written in any newspaper in this country. Journalism, especially investigative reporting, is dead. That death sentence applies to all forms of journalism be it print, radio, or television.

    October 24, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  13. dahdit

    President Obama for the last month or so has done more interviews and answered more questions than I would ever want to in a lifetime. Is this paper so desperate for advertising dollars they go bonkers when they can't 'exclusive' one interview? Sounds like there's more going on with these folks than just covering a story. Recent Clear Channel acquisition?

    October 24, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  14. drc

    I guess he re-read his 2008 campaign promise to be more transparent. I'm sure those in Iowa will realize it was only released after he had no option or he would look more ridiculous than he already does.

    October 24, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. davedave2

    the garbage that comes from campaigns is still sad, but not surprising. I am still surprised to hear people repeat it

    October 24, 2012 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  16. Critical Thinking

    This is a quote from the paper and I think it speaks volumes and the hypocracy of this adminstration when it comes to transparency;

    "Yet, it also speaks to the transparency all voters should demand from the candidates. They want more than just repetitive sound bites on the campaign trail or rehearsed one-liners from debate stages.

    Our expectation is that the answer to one of the most important questions the Register ever can ask a politician –- “Why should you be our president?” –- deserves to be shared with voters.

    It’s unfortunate that did not happen today."

    October 24, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. Sodapophead

    Iowa, the land is full of old people and farmers, neither which Romney cares about, but the Iowa newspaper wants to talk crap about Obama. Romney wants to take away farm subsidies, does the Iowa newspaper report on that, NO. All they care about trying to do is smear Obama, the only hope some of the farmers have to stay afloat.

    October 24, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. Just the facts, please

    Since it's public now, and still before the election I guess it's a non-issue. Although, I still wonder why anyone would still be undecided at this point.

    October 24, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  19. Anthony

    So, the Republican National Committee suggested that because Obama's representatives refused an on-the-record interview, Obama is hiding something. Well, the Obama campaign released the transcript of the interview anyway. Do people remember that Romney still has not released all of his tax returns? Is Romney hiding something?

    October 24, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  20. Namechuck

    blah ,blah, blah
    until romney puts out more than one years tax records his camp shouldnt try to use hiding something against obama

    October 24, 2012 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  21. enuff

    Where's Romney's 5 point plan? Where are his taxes? Why did he make those comments about latinos and the 47% at a $50,000 dollar a plate dinner? how do you retroactively resign something? why did he buy up all the computers from his governorship? WHAT IS HE HIDING?

    October 24, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  22. Pete in Guilford

    Hiding something? The ONLY one hiding something is Romney. Show us your tax returns.

    October 24, 2012 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  23. Name Ronald J McInnis

    It shows that you favor one canidate

    October 24, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Evan

    Its a good interview too. Obama, like him or not, is clear and straight, Romney, like him or not, talks like a nail trying to hold a block of Jello. Not an Obama fan but after mussing a lot about this, and actually being for Romney after the first debate, I will vote for his reelection. Romney changes his positions constantly, is not clear of what will he do and I jut don't want to have that level of salesmanship and uncertainty in the WH

    October 24, 2012 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Anthony Harris

    It's amazing how so many voters are going against President Obama now while during the Bush adminstration a lot of promises were made to the American People and the only ones benefited was those already financially comfortable and/or were in/placed in positions to be.
    The President have not fulfilled all of his tasks but there were a great deal that needed cleaning up before one can move forward.
    It is so unreal that people aren't even giving our Commander and Chief the respect that his position deserves because of his background.
    Now people are contemplating electing a individual who has clearly made it known that women should be barefoot and pregnant. The rich should govern the poor and the poor should be the new slaves.
    Think about this " The rich don't support themselves but depend on the poor and middle class to help them remain rich".
    To all who feel Sen. Romney should be president. Read some history books on slavery and then imagine having to contend with circumstances such as those NO MATTER what yourb skin color or previous background was.
    To have your children subjected to some of the same forms of degradation that slaves did...

    October 24, 2012 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
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