Obama camp allows 'off-the-record' interview to go public
October 24th, 2012
10:13 AM ET
5 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. Michelle

    Romney's camp need to not focus on the President, he needs to be figuring out why all of the GOP senate candidates are pigs when it comes to victims of RAPE.

    October 24, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. azartler

    CNN, could you make it any more apparant you are in the Obama camp? Where is the breaking story on Libya cover up? Not so quick to cover it, huh? Your media coverage is a joke and biased.

    October 24, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  3. The right to vote is cherished!

    I just read the interview. Mr. President, you have my vote. Bi-partisanship is here.

    October 24, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  4. tevyn

    No doubt the President's advisor are walking on egg shells. A misspoken word could cost the election. But, voters like myself want to hear what the candidates really think. Fortunately, there is a lot of print information out there, but I don't think people read like the used to. The Vanity Fair article by a journelist who tagged along with the President for six months reveals more about Obama than all the campaigne speeches and debates. After reading it, I was reminded of the Obama who wrote "Dreams of My Father." He thinks deeply and clearly. It was stunning to learn how he goes about making decisions. Very people have such capabilites and depth of thought. Why would I vote for anyone else when I know we have an extremely capable, competent President?

    October 24, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Zabazoom

    The only thing we know for sure about Romney is that he's like the guy that will say anything to get laid.

    October 24, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. g

    saved the oplympics with goverment money-bain capital had there hands in goverment money–how much goverment money is in off-shore accounts

    October 24, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  7. rafee

    @ 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?

    Please tell me that you are very aware that Obama reached out to the right several of times and NONE of them wanted to work with him! please tell me you're aware of this

    October 24, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Obama said on Monday night sequestration will not happen in this interview he is saying it is his solutions to the gridlock and it will happen.

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. CaesarXIII

    Of course... It had to be reviewed and edited first. Logically

    October 24, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Sam

    How about releasing what truly happened during and after the Benghazi attacks? How about admitting that the administration misled the people and then played an emotional card during the campaign when they were questioned

    October 24, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. Scott

    Flip Flop Obama Hhheeeeeee

    October 24, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Dave S in Calgary

    From Canada looking in
    To those would vote for Romney be prepared as you would be sending your people back into another long war, this guy is telling lies every corner he turns, as for the Bengazi attack your president called it terror the very next morning so that is not an issue here. Vote smart as i said before you gave the dumbest human 8 years to ruin your country now give a very smart man 8 years to fix it.

    October 24, 2012 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Jane Smith

    If you can add and subtract, you know Romney's tax plan is flawed. Therefore, Romney is trying to make an economic recovery based on bad math. Does not sound very clever to me.

    October 24, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Juan

    How come I can't find an article about the bengazi email anywhere on CNN? I'm trying to hear a different perspective on it.

    October 24, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Todd

    Its tough being a President. Sometimes you make to make decisions that go against your agenda and sometimes those decisons dont go well with the masses. The truth is, just like in all management jobs, once things are in bad place...they stay that way for a long time. It usually takes longer fix a broken system than it does to break a working one. I dont even the job of any President because everything they say of do gets criticized. Even if Romney wins he will be judged on every action as well. I think that the American people were naive and the President was a bit ambitious in thinking that he could meet his committments set forth in 2008. I am however confident that he gave his best effort. Im a republican but I will vote for Obama because at least I know that he is trying. I do not believe his intention is to let the American people down....he has a lot to lose by doing so. If nothing else his pride wont let him have a bad second term. I can tell that he wanted more out of this than just being called "POTUS". On the other side, I dont believe that Romney is dishonest person, I just think he is letting the desire to become "POTUS" lead him to making some really poor campaign decisions. I do not feel like he will represent us well overseas....and its not his fault. He comes from a very privaleged background that has him believing that he can anything to anyone without consequences. I know he has changed a bit for the campaign but im just afraid that his true personality will come out at the wrong time. I honestly think everyone expected too much from President Obama's first term but thats the nature of American's....we all want instant satisfaction with out making the necessary sacrafices. No one so far has owned up to making two really poor Presidential choices in 2000 and 2004, but we are quick to dismiss someone in office who is actually trying. Even though this administration is not perfect....The man is working hard and I will believe will do whatever he can not to let us down in the second term....we should all respect that. Romney is doing this for his dad(who lost his bid for presidency) and his family, not for the American people. Obama has a lot more riding on this.

    October 24, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. david

    okay, the recording is published and now we know that Obama sincerely cares about all of the american people. And we also have a recording of Romney calling 47% of the american people "Victims". Enough said on who is genuine!!!!!
    The Romney campaign now have their feet in their mouth for pressing to release the recording!!!!!!!

    October 24, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  17. Bob in Ohio

    Kay asks this question – "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."

    Once again, someone being critical of CNN's reporting but still coming to the CNN website and reading their articles. Do these people realize how silly they sound? I would suggest they continue to rely on the "fair and balanced" website for their "news" information even though they have no opportunity to express their opinions on that website.

    October 24, 2012 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  18. Glen

    You Demos really buy this was meant to be off the record? The Chicago machine is alive and well

    October 24, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  19. Bill

    Now, will Romney release his tax records for the last 10 years? What is it that he is hiding? May be the same thing that disqualified him as McCain running mate?

    October 24, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |

    Wow, that interview was supposed to be "OFF THE RECORD", it was an interview none the less and the Romney campaign complains. Now that same interview was made public and the Romney campan complains. Can't have it both ways. Oh and thanks Romney for getting a BAILOUT for the "WINTER" olympics.

    October 24, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    Jane Smith
    If you can add and subtract, you know Romney's tax plan is flawed. Therefore, Romney is trying to make an economic recovery based on bad math. Does not sound very clever to me.
    But it does work. There are a variety of ways that Mitt Romney's structural Plan for Economic Recovery works. He and congress will work together to select the best way in the interest of the American people.

    Obama's new plan? There is nothing new in Obama's glossy new pamphlet. His new plan is his old plan but 4 years older. How well is that going to work? You tell me. You are living it too. Americans deserve better. They will not get better from Obama.

    October 24, 2012 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. NOGOP

    NPR candidate is the best solution that no one would elect
    The only other acceptable candidate is status qou...
    Obama/Biden 2012 – 2016

    October 24, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. Jeff Cox

    Keep going with that "failed record" nonsense, GOP. Aside from the fact that we're coming back from the biggest financial disaster this country has faced since the Great Depression, we're not where everyone hoped we would be because of your party's focus on removing this President rather than doing your freaking job in Congress!

    I not only look at your actions as dereliction of duty, I consider it near treason. The only thing needed to complete your attempted coup d'etat were the tanks and militia.

    October 24, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  24. surry

    vote for obama and you will inherit 4 trillion dollars more debt.

    October 24, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Maxwell

    This makes no sense, President Obama sat down with the Des Moines Register, a News Publication, seeking their endorsement in the race, so why would that ever be considered an "off the record" conversation?

    And why does the Obama Campaign have 'the' transcript of the interview, and not the Des Moines Register?

    How would the public now know if this transcript was an accurate accounting or if its what the Campaign had decided to make public, this is a major fail by the Register for ever agreeing to such terms to get an interview for 'their' endorsement.

    October 24, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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