President Obama’s campaign has reversed a decision to keep a conversation between an Iowa paper, the Des Moines Register, and the candidate off the record, and the outlet will disclose the contents of the conversation.
Both President Obama and Mitt Romney have sought the endorsement of the major title in key swing state Iowa, and editor Rick Green later disclosed in a note with readers that although he’d spoked with Obama, he was unable to disclose the content of their discussion.
The decision was one with which Green disagreed with Obama’s campaign, as he explained in the note. Green said:
“The conference call [with President Obama] lasted nearly 30 minutes and was an incredibly informative exchange of questions, answers and an insightful glimpse into the president’s vision for a second term. He made a genuine and passionate case for our endorsement and for reelection… Just two weeks before Election Day, the discussion, I believe, would have been valuable to all voters, but especially those in Iowa and around the country who have yet to decide between the incumbent Democrat and his Republican opponent.”
“Unfortunately, what we discussed was off-the-record. It was a condition, we were told, set by the White House.”
Green disagreed with Obama’s campaign from the outset, but said ultimately, the Des Moines Register was forced to comply — he says:
“No reason was given for the unusual condition of keeping it private… We relented and took the call. How could we not? It’s the leader of the free world on line one.”
In a bit of feedback to the Obama campaign after the call, Green told the President’s staff that the content of the interview “would have been well-received by not only his base, but also undecideds,” and that “from a voter standpoint, keeping it off-the-record was a disservice.”
The full interview between the Des Moines Register and President Obama is well worth a read, particularly among undecided voters in the swing state. In the 30 minutes spent discussing the Obama campaign’s second-term goals, significant ground was covered on several key topics, including the economy, the deficit, jobs and energy.
While the interview Obama’s campaign originally tried to silence is wide-ranging, answers are relatively concise given the President’s propensity to speak at length and lose less engaged constituents in the process. But perhaps the most telling part of the interview comes at the end, in Obama’s closing case for re-election in the Iowa paper interview.
When asked about voters who believe that the election doesn’t matter, and circumstances will remain the same regardless of whether President Obama is re-elected or unseated by Mitt Romney, Obama answers, first addressing health care:
“Well, what I’d say is that it will matter to millions of Americans who may or may not have health care. It will matter to millions of seniors who maybe — or soon-to-be seniors who may be faced with the prospect of a voucher system for Medicare.”
The President then goes on to cite immigration as another key difference:
“It will matter to young people all across the country who were born here, pledged allegiance to our flag, went to school here, and are Americans in every way except they don’t have documentation and would continue to be at risk of deportation.
Taxes and the middle-class also get a mention:
“It will matter to middle-class families who are going to find themselves locked out of the discussion in terms of how we balance our budget, or at least reduce our deficit, facing the prospect that things like the tax credit we put in place for kids going to college, the earned income tax credit, a whole bunch of things that make sure working people stay out of poverty — that could all go away.”
“The consequences on just about every indicator out there would be enormous. And so if the question is, will the economy drastically improve, are we going to get back to — are we going to get to 4 or 5 percent growth if I’m reelected versus Mitt Romney — there are some big global economic issues that are being worked through.”
You can read the full interview with the Des Moines Register that the Obama camp didn’t want voters to see over at the newspaper’s website. After reading the President’s comments, would you re-elect Obama, or do you feel Romney is a better choice for America?