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. wellis

    Wow. Read the interview. President Obama earned my vote.

    October 24, 2012 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  2. Greg

    Where's those tax returns Mitt?

    October 24, 2012 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. KarenFaye

    One can only wonder how much editing will be done before this is published. The media has been in the pockets of this administration from day one. My question is: What is in it for them??????

    October 24, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think Obama has had better answers to some of the hard questions than Romney. Romney claimed that he could lower tax rates had still have more income. That doesn't work for me since he doesn't tell us which deductions are going away. The growth in military spending doesn't make sense either. The DOD needs to better review where the money goes to projects.

    October 24, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. thmas

    the most transparent administration in history LOL

    October 24, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  6. G-nO-P

    The GOP wwill do anything to detract form the fact that they have an Abysmal candidate that has the foreign policy experience of a deer in headlights ... romney is a loser and the polls are all showing it ... only a Party that is concerned that they are selling dogfood that nobody wants would have to rely on voter suppression, voter intimidation and and hot air balloon full of lies ... if they really had a message they were poud to sell america, would they really need all these SLIME-COATED Tactics ..??

    October 24, 2012 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  7. Chat Pata

    OK, so the Republicans asked to reveal the off the record interview, and they got it. Now will Mitt Romney reveal all of his taxes which the Democrats have been asking for quite some time now?

    October 24, 2012 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. MANGLER

    OK, when asked, he released the interview, the next DAY!

    So, Gov. Romney, about those tax records ...

    October 24, 2012 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  9. Malory Archer

    Earth man

    Obama doesn't care about anyone but Obama. People who are seem limb voting for him are not;

    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    What?

    October 24, 2012 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Obama the theif

    Not surprised. Romney is a man and has been interviewd by everyone even though they dont report the truth about him however, Obi boy is still afraid to speak without his teleprompter.

    October 24, 2012 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. c

    So if the media starts emanding to publish off the record comment's-how do they respect confidentiality right's they ALWAYS claim as Constitutionally protected. How very hypocritical

    October 24, 2012 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. Sue

    Boo, hoo DMR. You are a news paper. What did you do 8 or 12 years ago or even longer ago before widespread access to the internet? Maybe you should conduct the interview or ask for an interview for the paper.

    October 24, 2012 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  13. Former Register Customer

    Green needs to be given the boot! I am no longer a Register customer because of the lack of newsworthy journalism they now subscribe to. The DMR is tabloid and their 2 cent approach toward providing information with teeth is what is its downfall. This guy has no credibility and if he did, I am sure he wouldn't have had a problem. Either way I don't care because the DMR is the last place i would go for news with substance but a great resource on where to get a good steak.

    October 24, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. us_1776

    If the paper wanted to conduct an interview as on-the-record then it should have stated that upfront.

    But instead they took an off-the-record interview and then tried to make out like it was an on-the-record interview which it was not.

    The paper did not act in an ethical manner.

    .

    October 24, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  15. TJ

    So much for the transparent president.

    October 24, 2012 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  16. chill

    Yo tim. It's been released. Guess there were no secrets after all. What's your new story line now?

    October 24, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  17. jpmichigan

    More distortion, and fabrications of his worth recorde for the future. New information on Libya has shown the President purposely deceived the American people. Al-ques is not on the run, they are building steam and coming at Westeners harder. Boasting and leaking info on Osama death and boasting that Al-quea is less and on the run was a great LACK of judgement on the Presidents part. We are not better off or safer than we were 4 yrs. ago. The President came in on a bad ssitution and made it worse not better. Americans are crying out for real change and hope and the only way to get it is to , change the person in the Oval Office and maybe we will start to finally have some hope for a better/safer America.

    October 24, 2012 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  18. Paul

    I am confused. Out of the "since this is off the record" he basically told the blatant truth about Republicans and minorities. That was a very good interview and very straightforward answers.

    October 24, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  19. MrBeenThere

    Funny how all you people get all up in arms about how the President was for change and hasn't done it. Are you so Blind to the facts it take two sides to work for an agreement, Kinda hard when one side always say "No". From day one they had a plan to make this President a one term President and Announced it at even chance. Filibustered House and Congress to have a 2/3 vote on every single Bill and slapped on Poison pill add on about Abortion.
    The President has done a lot in spite of the Anti-American destroying attitude they have been pushing..

    Go Obama 2012, make America a Proud place to live in.

    October 24, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. jefflazrn

    Thank you President Obama. Who can say how much worse things would be without your interventions?

    October 24, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. Jerry

    Surprise, you can publish it now that you said we have your endorsment--no wonder all major news papers are in a death spiral

    October 24, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. BinaryTooth

    What the heck is an "off the record interview?" All staged and produced by Obama.

    October 24, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  23. David Hamlin

    Des Moines and all of Iowa please don't let your mid-western values be compromised once more by President Obama. Vote Romney in 2012 so all of our nations economy can come storming back. President Obama is a good and nice man but he just doesn't have all of the attributes to be President of the United States. That's doesn't make him anything less of a person. It would be like me trying to farm one acre of land. I'm considered a good man but I would make a poor farmer. VOTE ROMNEY 2012

    October 24, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    To Late To Little, Iowans listen to your heart and to your pocket books, obama will destroy the American dream and will take your kids with it, stop obama now, Nov 6 is the day of reckoning, Vote for America and not for obama socialism and marxism, Vote obama Out, Keep the American Dream alive and dont let obama kill it while destroying your childrens dreams.

    October 24, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. riazzo

    Why would you Call a news paper, give a 30 minutes interview then ask that it NOT be published? Because you said something you want to hide! Why did you call in the first place Obama? HUH? Why?
    typical ....

    October 24, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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