After the uproar over Mitt Romney's "47 percent" video, the Drudge Report posted audio of President Obama saying in 1998, "I actually believe in redistribution." Romney immediately folded the clip into his first interview about the 47 percent with Fox News' Neil Cavuto and cited it on the campaign trail as "something we've been hearing on the Internet." But the second half of Obama's remarks, in context, doesn't sound very socialist-y at all. NBC News found the full remarks, which include a second seObama deploying politicians' favorite free-market terms, like decentralization, competition, innovation, and, you know, the marketplace. The full comments:
I think the trick is figuring out how do we 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. How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities.
But taking the comments out of context is not what makes the story dumb. The Drudge version of the video cut the tape after "everybody's got a shot." Romney contrasted that with his own view on Fox, saying, "There’s a tape that came out just a couple of days ago where the president said yes he believes in redistribution. I don't." Well, but, he does, as The Washington Post's Ezra Klein points out. For example, Romney's been attacking Obama for not being redistributionist enough by cutting $716 billion from Medicare, which is a transfers money from the healthy youths to the unhealthy old.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.