MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With less than 100 days to go until the general election, both President Barack Obama and his GOP challenger Mitt Romney are searching for any minor gaffe of the other candidate to launch a massive attack.
Last week, the Obama campaign latched onto very harsh coverage of Romney’s quotes on the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Romney was initially critical of the London planning and execution, but later after an enormous backlash ensued, gave praise to the organizers and people of London.
Earlier in the campaign, the Obama campaign has launched other attacks that have been ruled questionable or flat out false by fact checkers including ones on Romney’s record at Bain Capital, among others.
The Olympics kerfuffle eased quickly by the time the opening ceremonies started, but a Romney attack on Obama has been persistent even though it’s been debunked by major media organizations.
Romney, and the GOP in general, latched on to an out-of-context quote from the president when he said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Taken out of context, the quote seems to be an indictment of entrepreneurs and saying that Americans can’t build their own businesses, that someone else must do it. Republicans launched that very attack on the president after the speech in Roanoke, Virginia a few weeks ago.
Here’s what Obama actually said:
“Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”
Politifact rated the claim as “false,” saying that “by plucking two sentences out of context, Romney twists the president’s remarks and ignores their real meaning.”
The Romney campaign told CBSMiami Monday, “The context makes what the President said worse. President Obama could not have been more clear when he told small business owners that they shouldn’t take credit for building their businesses.”
The latest Obama gaffe, according to the Romney campaign is from a recent speech from the President when he said, “We tried our plan – and it worked. That’s the difference. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for a second term.”
Taken alone, it seems that Obama is touting having an unemployment level above 8 percent and sluggish job creation, which is exactly the line of attack Romney and the GOP have taken on the quote.
Again, like individual quotes taken from either campaign, it’s out of context. Here’s the what Obama said right before the quote used by the Romney campaign:
“I’ll cut out government spending that’s not working, that we can’t afford, but I’m also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history and everybody did well. Just like we’ve tried their plan, we tried our plan – and it worked. That’s the difference. That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for a second term.”
The Washington Post gave Romney’s campaign a score of four pinocchios saying, “The Romney campaign clearly ripped these words out of context, leaving them untethered from their original meaning – in order to score political points in a highly misleading way. Obama was not talking about today’s economy, but about different philosophies of taxation.”
Both campaigns have been guilty of it, leaving viewers of campaign ads with little way of differentiating truth from pure fiction. The only way to get to the bottom of what either campaign claims is to go back to the original source and look for the full context of the quote.