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.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
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.

Also on the CNN Political Ticker

– GOP Senate candidate accuses Dems of distorting his rape comments

– Clint Eastwood returns, stars in new super PAC ad

– Obama ad uses ghost of recount past

– Romney campaign and allies far outspending Democrats

– Trump's new charity drive

– Obama ready for 'all-nighter'


Filed under: 2012 • Iowa • President Obama
soundoff (243 Responses)
  1. V in Chicago

    People still read print?

    October 24, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Anonymous

    You can always tune in tonights Jay Lenos show to hear the Pres. answering though questions. And the first orangutan tomorrow in Jimmy Kimel.

    October 24, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  3. SoSad

    Breaking news for the Des Moines Register: The following idiot endorsed by Romney: "I struggled with it myself for a long time, and I realized that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen," Mourdock said, explaining that he would allow for exceptions to an abortion ban when a mother's life is in danger

    October 24, 2012 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. ATL Guy

    Brilliant strategy. Because now people who wouldn't have cared to listen to the interview would seek it out of curiosity to see if there was anything there. Win Win for Obama. Republicans can kick and scream about Obama having something to hide, which will in turn keep on driving numbers to the Presiden'ts interview.

    October 24, 2012 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. Not this time

    This is nothing but a set up by a newspaper who planned on endorsing Romney anyway, It is well known that both camps conduct "off the record" interviews in which they have full control on what is released and what is not. Romney campaign has used this tactic more than any other candidate, and his running mate Mr Ryan has been caught on camera walking off the sets of local television stations because they asked questions he did not approve of. I doubt this Iowa newspaper will have the guts to report that.

    October 24, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. Anonymous

    "Two weeks out from an election concealing this interview from Iowa voters both raises questions about what he was hiding"
    What do you guys then say about Romney hiding 10 years of tax returns? Isn't he hiding something then? I hate to see that he is getting away with it and American people has the right to know those details.

    October 24, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    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.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Meanwhile the RNC WITHOUT having ANY knowledge as tothe content of the interview starts ranting that the President has something to hide.
    How stupid, petty and malicious these idiots are.
    The President is a CLASS act. Look it up because we know you have no idea what class is.
    Unlike your bought and paid for puppet, Romney, he doesn't go around using dead Americans for political gain and a couple of more votes.
    Obama 2012.

    October 24, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. Four and The Door

    Obama would take the last 4 years off-the-record if he could. And then check out his "Plan" for the next 4 printed up in a new glossy pamphlet he is handing out. Pathetic. He complains about Romney's math and his are much worse. Not only do they not add up, they offer exactly nothing new. Nothing. What you got is what you get. This is all Obama has. Nothing.

    October 24, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  9. Sara Justice

    Normally these endorsement-seeking interviews with newspapers are not off-the-record. It's lame to release a transcript only after you're sure your guy didn't goof up and say something that could come back to bite him in the behind. I imagine all candidates for all offices would like to have off-the-record discussions and then make them on-the-record so long as the end result makes them look good.

    October 24, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Charlotte

    Can't wait for the weekend before Election Day when Romney's ten years of tax records will be leaked and everyone can see that he is a felon who ended up taking the IRS amnesty for overseas tax cheats.

    October 24, 2012 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. G. Moore

    First, if you buy that this was really an "off the record" interveiw, you might just about believe anything. NOTHING this man or his campaign does is off the cuff, it is ALL preplanned, timed and implimented as needed. If this does not stick, they will come out with something even more dramatic. Geeze, does anyone smell desparation, I sure do....

    October 24, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Jsun

    Interview has been published, nothing titillating at all. Non-issue, much ado about nothing.

    October 24, 2012 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. Unknown

    The question is, why won't Romney go on the view? He wants to improve his image among women but won't go on a show that can make that happen. I don't get him.

    October 24, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Jean

    Since the headline says the President's campaign has agreed to let the off the record interview go public and that the transcript has been posted on the paper's web site, why are posters here acting as if the article is saying the opposite?

    October 24, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  15. slason

    Another non story meant to confuse. Yawn. The POTUS is one of the most transparent in history. Only on Fox News and AM radio is it otherwise. The conservative bubble.

    October 24, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  16. Jsun

    There's nothing "secretive" about this. The whole transcript was released, and there's absolutely nothing in it to be concerned about.

    October 24, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  17. Voice

    Romney said he would NOT invest in job creation.
    From debate:
    ROMNEY: Well, first of all, it's not government that makes business successful. It's not government investments that makes businesses grow and hire people.

    October 24, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  18. Frank Discussion

    Seriously, Obama is the one who is secretive? Willard is the one who claims to have ideas, which he'll let us in on AFTER the election. If you think he can be trusted, I've got a bridge on Sesame Street to sell you.

    October 24, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  19. DocHollywood

    Well, at least the President is on record. What's Mitt hiding? Has he ever released those 10 years of tax returns? Maybe they're in his 5 point plan.

    October 24, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. alicia

    I think more canidates should have "off the record" interviews which are then later releases. I found the presidents interview more revealing than most of his other interviews and i liked the candor ( although not earth shattering). I wonder what an "off the record" interview with Mitt would have sounded like ... makes you wonder.

    October 24, 2012 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  21. Dav

    obama quotes ; the economy is getting better- 23 million out of work; al Qaeda is getting weaker -embassy in Lybia is attacked-obama denies security to embassy.Obama is a lying traitor fie him Nov 2012

    October 24, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  22. truth hurts

    slason - The POTUS is one of the most transparent in history
    =============================================

    As a matter of fact he is SO transparent that his suits actually LOOK EMPTY!!!! BWAHAHAHAHA!!! I just crack myself up.... Thanks for playing the straight man!

    October 24, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. paul

    Headline cont.............."After Extensive Self ServingEditing". The old joke used to be "Baroque When You're Out of Monet" The new joke is "Barack When Your Out of Money" Please send this self serving poser packing!

    October 24, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  24. truth hurts

    Obama must have said something like "Iowans just like to cling to their corn, bilbles and guns"....

    October 24, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  25. Gerg

    Isn't that (the GOP) the ketlle calling the pot black (no oun intended). The GOP is so desparate that they resort to this "disclosure 'issue'", but Mitt cannot find a reason to disclose more years of this Tax Returns I guess it takes a lot of time to have the adjustments calcualted and the money donated before you can change Off Shore Accounts to Salvation Army.... Hmmm, the GOP is grasping...

    October 24, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10