Photograph by Scott Olson/Getty Images.
Mitt Romney’s first TV ad of the presidential election campaign (video embedded below) features a quote from President Obama that sounds damning.
“If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose,” Obama intones, his voice echoing over a video clip of a bleak-looking residential neighborhood.
The problem is, that’s only half of what Obama said. The clip was from the 2008 presidential campaign, and Obama was actually quoting his Republican opponent, John McCain. Here’s the full quote: “Senator McCain’s campaign actually said, and I quote, if we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose.”
Romney’s editing of it, as numerous news organizations have been quick to point out, is shamelessly misleading. But the Romney campaign isn’t apologizing. Politico’s Ben Smith explains the thinking behind the ploy:
This is, of course, a conversation the Romney campaign wants to have—a conversation about its ad, a conversation pitting Romney against the president. They have, perhaps, learned a lesson from Rick Perry's confrontational new ad, whose distortions won him a chiding in the Times and ... attention. Romney can do this too.
Asked to explain the Romney camp's decision to use the quote without context, Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstorm sends us the following statement: “We used that quote intentionally to show that President Obama is doing exactly what he criticized McCain of doing four years ago. Obama doesn't want to talk about the economy because of his failed record.”
The attack comes while Obama is visiting New Hampshire, a key GOP primary state, looking to counter the Republican candidates and pressure Congress to extend and expand payroll tax cuts, the New York Times points out.
Meanwhile, the liberal blog ThinkProgress has some fun with the Romney campaign’s defense of deceptive quoting, creating a mash-up of out-of-context Romney quotes such as, “We should just raise everybody’s taxes,” and “Fiscal responsibility is heartless.” Watch the video here.
The original Romney ad is below: