PUEBLO, Colo. – President Obama, while villifying Mitt Romney for opposing the auto industry bailout, bragged about the success of his decision to provide government assistance and said he now wants to see every manufacturing industry come roaring back.The money quote that Politico and Drudge focused on was of course "Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry." Tacked onto the end of the Politico story, however, is a curious note:
“I said, I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back,” he said. “Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs, not just in the auto industry, but in every industry.
“I don’t want those jobs taking root in places like China, I want those jobs taking root in places like Pueblo,” Obama told a crowd gathered for a campaign rally at the Palace of Agriculture at the Colorado State Fairgrounds here.
Clarification: This post was updated to reflect the president's intent to express his support for manufacturing success. An earlier version was unclear about his intent.I have not been able to locate that earlier version. I read the story about an hour after it was originally posted, so I do not know how long the unclarified story was up, and I was not able to find a cached or quoted version anywhere. The curious part of the clarification is, how does Politico (or Donovan Slack, the writer) know what the president's "intent" was? Did someone at the White House read the story and call Politico? Or did someone else at Politico read Slack's story and say, "He can't really mean that!" But the president's choice of words belie Politico's clarification. He did not say, "Now I want to see the same thing with manufacturing jobs ... in every industry." He said, "Now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs ... in every industry." There's a big difference.
When the controversy over the president's "you didn't build that" remark exploded, the president's supporters argued that the context of the remark made it perfectly clear what he meant. So what is the context in this case? From the White House transcript of the speech [emphasis added]:
When all of us share in prosperity, we all do better. (Applause.) That’s the choice in this election. That’s why I’m running for President -- because I believe we’re all in this together. (Applause.)Obviously the president never uses the term "bailout"in the speech, but the government bailout of GM is the example he makes a beeline for as the premier example of his economic approach versus Mitt Romney. And then he cites targeted tax breaks:
We’ve got a bunch of examples of the differences, the choice in this election. When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than 1 million jobs at stake, Governor Romney said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: I said I believe in American workers, I believe in this American industry, and now the American auto industry has come roaring back and GM is number one again. (Applause.) So now I want to do the same thing with manufacturing jobs not just in the auto industry, but in every industry. I don’t want those jobs taking root in places like China. I want them taking root in places like Pueblo. (Applause.)
Governor Romney brags about his private sector experience, but it was mostly investing in companies, some of which were called “pioneers” of outsourcing. I don’t want to be a pioneer of outsourcing. I want to insource. I want to stop giving tax breaks to companies that are shipping jobs overseas; let’s give those tax breaks to companies that are investing here in the United States of America, making American products with American workers and selling them around the world. That’s why I’m running for a second term. (Applause.)
I don’t want to be a pioneer of outsourcing. I want to insource. I want to stop giving tax breaks...To borrow the cadence of John F. Kennedy, President Obama is virtually saying, Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what Barack Obama can do for your business. Time and again, this president returns to his default view that the typical business just can't get along without the active involvement of the government. In his more guarded remarks, he stresses infrastructure (roads and bridges) as government's primary contribution to the smooth operation of the private sector. But he was on a roll in this speech, perhaps spurred on by the Romney-induced "booos" and the frequent applause of the crowd, and bailouts and picking winners and losers via revoking and granting tax breaks rose to the surface.
In any case, Media Matters immediately began the "context" defense, even though the full context underscores the meaning of the president's quote. Whatever meaning can be squeezed of the president's phrases such as "you didn't build that" and "I want to do the same thing ... in every industry" by the president's defenders, it is clear that his attitude towards government and the private sector is not "get government out of the way and businesses can prosper." It runs more along the lines of "my way or the highway - and by the way, government built the highway, too."