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. Gerg

    ...that would be "pun", not "oun"...

    October 24, 2012 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Howard

    I just read the interview and I think it was a mistake on the Obama campaign's part to not make this available right away. It demonstrated the President's wins; some of which were diffcult to achieve and also paints a very clear picture of the extremely prejudiced political atmosphere he was trying to work within. It also clearly details how President Obama is clearly a different choice from Governor Romney to those that may have not yet decided or those that may have given up on the system.

    October 24, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Page

    I am so sick of some talking about Obama calling him every name but the child of GOD, hate him more than they hate the Middle East and I don;t understand WHY. I did not voted for him in 2008 but you better believe I will vote for him in 2012. This mess must stop. This man is a good and smart man and he does not deserve to have his job replace by some one who we don't know and the reason for most is because he is white.........Wake up and don't vote against your best interest.

    October 24, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  4. Gerg

    G. Moore...agree with you - both parties orchestrate what they want to say and what they want to release - and when. Difference is, Obama wears his record on his sleeve - for better or worse. Romney, however, uses his sleeves like a magician or card player - "Now you see it, now you don't"...Otherwise known as the "Flip-Flop, Flim-Flam" scheme...

    October 24, 2012 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. Kay

    Where is the story on CNN about the Libya emails sent to the WH and other depts DURING the attack? These were released last night. So much for news on this Web-site.

    October 24, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Four and The Door

    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.
    _____________________________________________________________________________________________
    He is exactly correct. Businesses have to make their own decisions about hiring based on their own circumstances as a whole. But government does have a role to play. It can impact the circumstances a business is taking into consideration. The big three ways government can affect business circumstances: taxes, regulation and trade agreements. Mitt Romney understands this. And he understands businesses make their own hiring and firing decisions. Obama does not get the whole perspective. Why should he? How could he?

    October 24, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  7. Hillcrester

    The newspaper will endorse Romney, and its actions regarding this interview are disingenuous. Why did even waste precious time meeting with them?

    October 24, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  8. TrueIndependent

    GULP GULP GULP.......that's the sound of more Kool-Aid going down the hatch!

    October 24, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  9. Middle Class Independent Swing State Voter

    This is a non story. The only person trying to hide something is Romney. Americans are still waiting on the rest of those tax returns.

    OBAMA/BIDEN '12 FORWARD

    October 24, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  10. Morethandecided

    I read the interview and it's excellent. Certainly nothing in there to be worried about. He makes a strong case for his last four years and the next four years.

    October 24, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  11. Jr

    I just read the interview and it just reinforced my belief that Obama has America on the right path! Romney? who knows what the heck he's running for.

    October 24, 2012 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  12. Mark

    Four years ago Obama promised an open and transparent administration.

    Things are instead cloudy, hazy and completely obscured. Where did the openness go? where is the transparency?

    October 24, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. TrueIndependent

    I see where someone mentions tax returns.........I care about those and the school records! Why would Obama spend so much to keep his records private? I personally like all the facts about both. If you want all the facts, watch 2016 movie for revealing Obama background. Research on Romney is rampant in the main stream media.....

    October 24, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  14. Hillcrester

    Sara (In)justice–As the articke clearly states, Obama did NOT seek to release this transcript but did do onky after the newspaper made a public issue of it.

    October 24, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  15. Bob_lawbla

    Is it possible for the progressive left to regurgitate anything but inaccurate campaign talking points?
    Are they against independent thought?

    I am not sure if it's ignorance or apathy but something tells me they don't know and don't care.

    October 24, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  16. TrueIndependent

    Yeah Slason......the healthcare reform was real transparent!!!!!!

    October 24, 2012 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Geeze, does anyone smell desparation, I sure do....
    -------------------------------------------------
    Romney was sweating a ton of it Monday night.

    October 24, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. noteasilyswayed

    Wasting your time posting one sided talking points. The base will vote for its respective candidate, regardless of whatever happens from here until election day..... if young people and minorities vote, Romney does not win. If voting participation is light, Obama wins. What I do not understand is how any woman will take a chance of voting for a ticket that will push to get Roe v Wade overturned and refuses to endorse equal pay for both genders.

    October 24, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. SkiOne

    Pretty sure this is a left spinning red herring. They wanted this to get out there and in the way they did. I am pretty sure they were in collusion with the newspaper; and I'm voting for the guy. Another non-story in this election

    October 24, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. joannealbany

    Of course the GOP would think it was a shady reason the President's people wanted it to be off the record, after all, they can see their own candidate has those shady traits. As a registered voter, I appreciate the comments by Editor Rick Green stating that people would want to hear what the President spoke about his future goals. And for all these critical posters on here, we all have the honor and privilege of having the right to vote for the people we choose, those who will be elected by us who have the important job of keeping this country something we mostly take for granted, but should not. I have my ONE vote, you have yours, and for me, no amount of information is too much or too insignificant when you are making the decisions that could make a change for the better.

    October 24, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. reg

    hey CNN – newsflash

    state department emails are out from hours after attack showing white house was fully aware Benghazi was terrorist attack

    October 24, 2012 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  22. tv22

    Interviews come on to the record. A "new" plan brochure gets released after 4 years and only 2 weeks before the election. Reeks of desperation.

    October 24, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  23. MNAnonymous!

    Mr. Romney and his campaign really do think Americans are under a spell that allows only very short term memories... Mr. Romney is hiding his taxes and flip flopping like crazy and he still act as if he never said a lie in his whole life!

    October 24, 2012 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  24. Yram

    So, they do have mitt interview on audio, but not obama's? Mitt got to be really afraid, to be doing this with a so lil credibility source.

    October 24, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  25. wyl5326

    Barack is probably trying to use this as his October surprise to rally his troops after lackluster debate known more for his audition joke on Horses and bayonets in a serious setting ! Barack was probably still suffering from withdrawal effect of Al Smith dinner joke where he got screwed decisively by Mitt then !

    October 24, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
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