Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Features

September 20, 2012

VIDEO: Romney shifts focus to Obama's 1998 comments on 'redistribution'

WASHINGTON — After two politically treacherous days, Mitt Romney is trying to right-side his campaign by focusing on something President Barack Obama said 14 years ago.

The Republican presidential candidate has been battered by relentless news coverage dissecting his assertion, caught on video, that "47 percent" of Americans feel entitled to government assistance. Now his aides believe they've stumbled upon a way to change the subject.

In a 1998 audio clip that surfaced online Tuesday afternoon, Obama is heard speaking at a conference at Loyola University, where he suggested that society needed to come up with a plan to "structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution, because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody's got a shot."

 Romney pounced on those comments, which Obama made when he was an Illinois state senator, at an Atlanta fundraiser on Wednesday. Obama's speech, Romney said, indicated support for a European-style system that would never work in the United States.

 "I know there are some who believe that if you simply take from some and give to others then we'll all be better off. It's known as redistribution," Romney told the crowd. "It's never been a characteristic of America."

 

 

"This idea of redistribution follows from the idea that if you have a business, you didn't build it - someone else did that," Romney said, harkening back to Obama's "you didn't build that" line from a speech he made in July to point out that small businesses have relied on some government support.

Romney also brought up the 1998 speech in a Fox News interview Tuesday and in a USA Today op-ed published Wednesday, all part of a new strategy to raise doubts about Obama's economic theories, draw attention away from Romney's criticism of Americans who don't pay income tax, and perhaps also add the word "redistribution" to the list of well-worn, right-wing attack lines, including "Are you better off?" and "Drill baby, drill."

White House press secretary Jay Carney called the newest GOP assault the sign of a "desperate" campaign that is having a "very bad week."

 "The charge based on this 14-year-old video sounds very familiar to one that was tried and failed in 2008," Carney said Wednesday. In 1998, "then-Senator Obama was making an argument for a more efficient, more effective government, specifically citing city government agencies that he did not think were working effectively. He believed then and believes now that there are steps we can take to promote opportunity and ensure that all Americans have a fair shot if they work hard."

The shift in campaign tactics comes just days after aides said Romney would begin offering details of his five-point economic plan, as voters become more attentive to the campaign and after polling data suggested they're eager to learn more about Romney's policy positions.

But in a memo to reporters Wednesday, Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said the campaign would now focus instead on the rivals' "starkly different visions" for the country.

"Mitt Romney's vision for America is an opportunity society, where free people and free enterprise thrive and success is admired and emulated, not attacked," Rhoades said in the memo. "President Obama's vision for America is a government-centered society, where government grows bigger and more active, occupying more of our everyday lives."

On the campaign trail Wednesday, Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., even slipped a new attack line into his standard stump speech.

"He's going to try and distract and divide this country to win by default," Ryan said during an event in Danville, Va. "You know, President Obama said that he believes in redistribution. Mitt Romney and I are not running to redistribute the wealth. Mitt Romney and I are running to help Americans create wealth."

On Capitol Hill, Romney supporters aimed at Obama.

Text Only
Features
  • Study: Kids gain weight more quickly over summer break

    Any parent or teacher can tell you that schoolchildren tend to slip back a bit academically over the long summer break. But now a Harvard University study has come up with troubling indications that they also gain weight more quickly during those months when, traditionally, we hope they're outdoors much of the time, enjoying the summer sun.

    June 16, 2014

  • 20140614-AMX-RETIRE-GENX14.jpg Lean retirement looms for Generation X

    When their working years end, Gen-Xers might have to live on just half of their pre-retirement income, compared with 60 percent for the Baby Boom generation, Pew said last year.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20140612-AMX-FATHERS-CARDS123.jpg Father's Day cards make subjects the targets of jokes

    There's a good chance if you receive — or give — a Father's Day card this weekend, Dad will be portrayed as a flatulent, beer-obsessed, tool-challenged buffoon who would rather hog the remote, go fishing or play golf than be with the kids.

    June 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Texting while driving is latest teen risk as smoking declines

    While smoking among American teens has fallen to a 22-year low, most adolescents admit to engaging in a new type of risky behavior: texting while driving.

    June 15, 2014

  • $15 minimum wage puts Seattle in uncharted waters

    Depending on which pundit is nattering away, this means Seattle is either going to fall off the map and become a "Mad Max"-style economic wasteland or transform into an egalitarian utopia that inspires sweeping pro-labor activism nationwide.

    June 7, 2014

  • 2010-Winter-Olympic-Games-001.jpg Nobody wants to host the Winter Olympics

    If we end up watching slopestyle from the Central Asia steppes in 2022, it will likely be because it's becoming clear that nobody in Europe wants to host these Olympics anymore. Publics may finally be getting wise to the fact that the long-term economic benefits of hosting mega-events like the Olympics or the World Cup are usually negligible at best.

    May 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • airplanes-work-1.jpg Airfare honesty? It may be an oxymoron

    The issue of fare advertising has taken on a renewed sense of urgency now that Congress is considering removing the Transportation Department's full-fare advertising rule, which requires airlines and ticket sellers to display a price that you can actually book.

    May 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Study: Both men and women feel less stress at work than at home

    In a newly released study in the Journal of Science and Medicine, researchers carefully examined the levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, of a variety of workers throughout the day. The data clearly showed that both men and women are significantly less stressed out at work than they are at home.
     And the women they studied said they were happier at work. While the men said they felt happier at home.

    May 27, 2014

  • Five myths about caffeine

    But how much do you know about the drug - and yes, it is a drug - you're consuming? Before downing one more gulp of your favorite stimulant, let go of some persistent, caffeinated myths.

    May 27, 2014

  • Making the most of longer school days

    Research shows that extra time doesn't help unless it is well used. With that in mind, the Boston-based National Center on Time and Learning has just released recommendations on the best way to construct a longer school day.

    May 26, 2014

AP Video
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.