On the eve of President Barack Obama's presidential trip to New Hampshire on Tuesday, the Mitt Romney campaign released a television ad containing an out-of-context quote by Obama that has resulted in a counter-attack from critics on the left.
The ad, called Believe in America is the first to air in New Hampshire, and begins with a voice over of various statements made by Obama during the 2008 presidential election over shots of text reminding viewers of the problems experienced in the nation since his inauguration -- such as widespread home foreclosures, joblessness and a record-high national debt.
The ad then jumps to a clip of Obama stating that If we keep talking about the economy, we're going to lose, which some have suggested was included by Romney's camp to imply Obama believes his economic record is so bad that he cannot keep discussing it if he wants to win reelection in 2012.
However, as multiple sources -- including the Obama campaign -- has pointed out, Obama never actually said that. In fact, he was quoting an aide to his then-2008 opponent John McCain, who had reportedly made that assertion anonymously in an interview.
While the advertisement itself is misleading, in a statement the Romney campaign acknowledged that particular statement originated from the McCain campaign.
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,' Romney spokeswoman Gail Gitcho wrote. Now, President Obama's campaign is desperate not to talk about the economy. Their strategy is to wage a personal campaign -- or 'kill Romney.' It is a campaign of distraction.
Carney: Ad Twisted Obama's Words
When questioned about the ad, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said the Romney campaign twisted Obama's words, but said the president will not discuss his GOP opponents' during his stop in New Hampshire.
I mean, an ad in which they deliberately distort what the President said? It's a rather remarkable way to start [a campaign], and an unfortunate way to start. And I'm pleased to see numerous news organizations point out the blatant dishonesty in the ad, Carney said.
According to Politifact, while it was fair for the Romney campaign to attack the president's economic record, considering the contrast between Obama's optimistic remarks in 2008 and the reality of 2011, the quote in the advertisement is so egregiously out-of-context that the organization rated Romney's portrayal of Obama in 2008 as a Pants on Fire lie.
Misquoting Obama may be a staple of this election, if the past few weeks are an indication of what is to come. The president was attacked by both Gov. Rick Perry and Romney earlier this month over an accusation that he said Americans are lazy.
Can you believe that? That's what our president thinks is wrong with America? That Americans are lazy? That's pathetic. It's time to clean house in Washington, Perry said in a television ad. Meanwhile, on Nov. 15, Romney said the president does not understand America because he was saying we just weren't working hard enough.
The basis of the attack came from two different comments made where he implied Americans have gone soft over the past two decades after the U.S. became the world's only Superpower.
The way I think about it is, this is a great, great country that had gotten a little soft and we didn't have that same competitive edge that we needed over the last couple of decades, the president said on Sept. 29, in addition to the following statement made on Nov. 12:
But we've been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We've kind of taken for granted -- well, people will want to come here and we aren't out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.