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Published on Sep 20, 2012
Obama - Redistribution or Equal Opportunity Provider? YOU Decide.
Clearly, Obama speaks about how everyone should get an equal shot at living a decent life. Obama - Redistributionist or Equal Opportunity Provider?
The 14-year-old audio clip circulated by the Mitt Romney campaign this week to attack Barack Obama as favoring "redistribution" of wealth was "deceptively edited," Democrats say, leaving out important context that Obama provided in his next breath.
In the clip Republicans are pushing around - and Romney now cites on the stump - then Illinois State Sen. Obama is heard speaking at a university conference in October 1998, appearing to endorse "redistribution" of wealth.
"I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level, to make sure that everybody's got a shot," Obama is heard saying on the clip, which then abruptly ends.
In the full recording, obtained by NBC News, Obama continues to explain in the next sentence that he is speaking broadly about making city and state government more efficient in their use of resources - and endorses "competition" in the "marketplace."
"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," he says.
The edit of the last line out of the clip earned Romney and the Republican National Committee a "four pinocchios" rating by fact checkers at the Washington Post.
When asked about the newly revealed context, RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski insisted that Obama's comments still reflected a commitment to fostering government dependence.
"His policies over the past three and a half years bear that out," Kukowski said. "Under Obama we have increased our dependency on government with 47 million Americans on food stamps, record levels added to our debt and gutting work requirements for welfare. Instead of pro-growth policies, the Obama administration says they are relying on increased food stamps and unemployment to stimulate the economy."