THE STUMP NOVEMBER 22, 2011
A few days ago, when Rick Perry put up an ad taking wildly out of context President Obama's remark that American business had "gotten a little lazy" about encouraging foreign investment in the U.S., some of TNR's clever commenters noted that the potential for this sort of shameless cutting and pasting was virtually boundless.
Observed commenter "Fishpeddler," "I hope Obama is careful when he is discussing movies. I hate to think how 'I hate Children of the Corn' or 'I love Marx Brothers films' will be clipped and packaged." Commenter "ironyroad" offered the "1863 version" of the out of context ad: "Can you believe it? President Lincoln stated today at Gettysburg that we cannot 'consecrate, dedicate, or hallow' this ground. This is yet further proof that the president truly does not 'get ' America. We are a can-do nation, with a great future of consecrating, dedicating, and hallowing before us, and we need a president who accentuates the positive rather than reciting a long complaint to distract from the failures of his administration."
Now I have to ask: have you guys already been snatched up by the Romney campaign? Because his first television ad in New Hampshire is no less inventive than the above, and makes Rick Perry look like a piker by comparison. After a string of dreary images depicting the current sorry economy, the ad plays a clip of Obama on the campaign stump declaring: "If we keep talking about the economy, we’re going to lose." Wow, that quite an admission -- especially given that Obama's been going around the country...talking a lot about the economy. Well, turns out that this bit is actually from 2008, and what prefaced it was Obama's mocking reference to McCain for having admitted that the economy was not a good issue for Republicans that year.
Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom's defense of this switcheroo? "We used that quote intentionally to show that President Obama is doing exactly what he criticized McCain of doing four years ago. Obama doesn't want to talk about the economy because of his failed record."
Okay. Now, it would be perfectly fine to make this point if one...actually made that point. In fact, it could be quite powerful, if done right. All it would take would be a few extra seconds worth of effort. A bonus: it wouldn't be blatantly dishonest to the New Hampshire voter!
Turns out ThinkProgress has already decided to have some fun with this. All I know is if we continue at this two-a-week pace for brazen clip-specials, it's going to be a very long year.