Romney Ad Misquotes Obama on Economy
Mitt Romney's first television ad is built around a Barack Obama quote that has been cropped so that he's saying the opposite of what he actually said.
Mitt Romney’s first television ad is built around a Barack Obama quote that has been cropped so that he’s saying the opposite of what he actually said.
CNN deputy political director Paul Steinhauser (“Democrats say new Romney ad distorts Obama’s words“):
Mitt Romney’s first television commercial of his second bid for the Republican presidential nomination hits the airwaves Tuesday, but the ad is already creating a controversy.
President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and the Democratic National Committee are both slamming the 60-second spot, saying it takes comments made on the campaign trail in 2008 by then-Sen. Obama out of context. But the Romney campaign says they used the line intentionally.
The spot criticizes the president’s efforts to turn around the economy, and among other things uses a clip from then-presidential candidate Obama from a campaign stop in New Hampshire from October 2008 saying “If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”
But that’s only part of what Obama said. His entire line is: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, ‘If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.'”
The president’s 2012 re-election team in Chicago was quick to respond, saying “just last week fact checkers scolded Mitt Romney for distorting a comment the president made about creating American jobs and now Romney launches a deceitful and dishonest attack rather than outline his own record or plans for the future.”
Kevin Drum thinks reporters ought to be willing to call this distortion a “lie.” I was prepared to do that based on the written accounts but, after watching the spot and reading the Romney campaign’s explanation, I’m just confused:
The Romney campaign was quick to respond. “Three years ago, candidate Barack Obama mocked his opponent’s campaign for saying ‘if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.’ Now, the tables have turned – President Obama is doing exactly what candidate Obama criticized. President Obama and his team don’t want to talk about the economy and have tried to distract voters from his abysmal economic record,” says Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul.
This is some twisted logic, indeed. Especially since the ad doesn’t really hammer that point home. On the other hand, the truncated quote “if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose” isn’t being used as a standalone quote for “gotcha” purposes but as part of some eerie montage to spotlight Obama’s words about the economy against a backdrop of economic failure.
Actually, the part of the ad that most troubles me as dishonest comes a few seconds later. Romney says, via voiceover, “I’m going to get rid of ObamaCare. It’s killing jobs and it’s keeping our kids from having the bright prospects that they deserve.” Aside from the fact that Romney enacted a similar program as governor of Massachusetts, very little of ObamaCare is actually in effect. How can it be killing jobs? Much less harming our kids’ future?