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Subject: Top out-of-context quotes from the campaign so far rss

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Chad Ellis
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Both campaigns have made centerpieces out of the other side saying something it didn't actually say. Statements taken out of context and repeated over and over take on a life of their own. Here are my "favorites" so far.

"Planned Parenthood...we're going to get rid of that." Asked about what federal spending he would cut, Romney was vague on big-ticket items but gave a list of some specific cuts he would make, including NPR and Planned Parenthood. It could legitimately be criticized (or praised) as showing how right-wing Romney was (or that he was engaged in political pandering) but instead the Democrats and Planned Parenthood have consistently treated it as though Romney was claiming he intended actually to get rid of Planned Parenthood, i.e. to find some way to shut it down.

"Corporations are people, my friend." I think it's abundantly clear that what Romney was saying is that corporations are made up of people. Instead this gets trotted out as though Romney thinks they really are people and that they deserve a hug. (And a tax break.)

"You didn't build that." In a speech about how individual success is built upon the foundation of society (including relying on and benefitting from things like roads, the Intranet and education), Obama said that if you have a business you didn't build all the things that made that business possible. Republicans have claimed that what he really said is you didn't build the business at all and made their campaign theme the contrary position.

Any others favorite distorted quotes of the campaign out there?

(I also welcome claims from both sides that any of the above distortions isn't a distortion at all, but really captures what the speaker meant. This is an issue on which people can disagree, like whether there was a global flood that took place while humans were alive.)
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Dave G
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Don't forget "I like firing people." That one owned a news cycle. Although I don't agree with the point that Romney was trying to make, I don't think spinning it as "I enjoy telling people they don't have jobs anymore" is particularly fair.
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Chad Ellis
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One more:

"We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

This is presented as though Newhouse (a Romney pollster) was saying the campaign didn't care about facts or honesty. Instead, he was saying that campaigns always run into issues with fact-checkers because a lot of the calls are subjective and the fact-checker's own bias can be the problem. Here's a fuller version of what he said:

Quote:
We stand behind those ads and behind the facts in those ads. Fact-checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs and you know what? We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.
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Chad Ellis
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
Don't forget "I like firing people." That one owned a news cycle. Although I don't agree with the point that Romney was trying to make, I don't think spinning it as "I enjoy telling people they don't have jobs anymore" is particularly fair.


Good one. Romney, IIRC, was really talking about individuals firing companies if they didn't like the service they were getting -- and it got spun as though he was saying it was what he liked about his job in private equity.
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
Don't forget "I like firing people." That one owned a news cycle. Although I don't agree with the point that Romney was trying to make, I don't think spinning it as "I enjoy telling people they don't have jobs anymore" is particularly fair.


I agree on the ones Chad presented but I think using this one is fair because the point wasn't "Mitt Romney is a mean person who likes firing people." The point was "Mitt Romney is one entitled motherfucker" because most people in their daily lives don't get the freedom of choice to choose a different insurance company (which is what he was talking about), and even under the regime he proposes they still wouldn't because getting new insurance is more difficult than keeping old insurance. In that context, it's fair.
 
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
One more:

"We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

This is presented as though Newhouse (a Romney pollster) was saying the campaign didn't care about facts or honesty. Instead, he was saying that campaigns always run into issues with fact-checkers because a lot of the calls are subjective and the fact-checker's own bias can be the problem. Here's a fuller version of what he said:

Quote:
We stand behind those ads and behind the facts in those ads. Fact-checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs and you know what? We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.


Your argument here for giving the Romney campaign additional understanding would have much more weight if they weren't dismissing the fact checkers' criticism on an issue (welfare expansion) that absolutely everybody was saying the Romney campaign was massively full of shit about.
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Dave G
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Chad_Ellis wrote:


(I also welcome claims from both sides that any of the above distortions isn't a distortion at all, but really captures what the speaker meant. This is an issue on which people can disagree, like whether there was a global flood that took place while humans were alive.)


You realize you just personally invited BJ to come spam the thread with stubborn insistence that Obama actually meant exactly what the GOP claims he meant. Luckily he-who-shall-not-be-named has crawled back into his lair and won't be here to echo, but didn't we already get some ten pages from those guys about it when it happened?
 
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Chad Ellis
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mightygodking wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Don't forget "I like firing people." That one owned a news cycle. Although I don't agree with the point that Romney was trying to make, I don't think spinning it as "I enjoy telling people they don't have jobs anymore" is particularly fair.


I agree on the ones Chad presented but I think using this one is fair because the point wasn't "Mitt Romney is a mean person who likes firing people." The point was "Mitt Romney is one entitled motherfucker" because most people in their daily lives don't get the freedom of choice to choose a different insurance company (which is what he was talking about), and even under the regime he proposes they still wouldn't because getting new insurance is more difficult than keeping old insurance. In that context, it's fair.


Meh. I think the point was much more than that he's a rich person who enjoys inter-generational incest. Whenever I see it used, it's in the context of outsourcing jobs, slash-and-burn private equity, etc. I never hear, "Most people can't actually fire their insurance company, and none of Romney's plans would actually make that easier."
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Dave G
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
djgutierrez77 wrote:
Don't forget "I like firing people." That one owned a news cycle. Although I don't agree with the point that Romney was trying to make, I don't think spinning it as "I enjoy telling people they don't have jobs anymore" is particularly fair.


Good one. Romney, IIRC, was really talking about individuals firing companies if they didn't like the service they were getting -- and it got spun as though he was saying it was what he liked about his job in private equity.


Specifically insurance companies, I believe.
 
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Chad Ellis
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djgutierrez77 wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:


(I also welcome claims from both sides that any of the above distortions isn't a distortion at all, but really captures what the speaker meant. This is an issue on which people can disagree, like whether there was a global flood that took place while humans were alive.)


You realize you just personally invited BJ to come spam the thread with stubborn insistence that Obama actually meant exactly what the GOP claims he meant. Luckily he-who-shall-not-be-named has crawled back into his lair and won't be here to echo, but didn't we already get some ten pages from those guys about it when it happened?


True, but I also pre-emptively put him in the, "No, really, the Flood happened!" camp. I can't prevent people from staying stupid things; the most I can do is invoke the SLAG* rule.




* The G in SLAG stands for "Gamer".
 
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
"Corporations are people, my friend." I think it's abundantly clear that what Romney was saying is that corporations are made up of people. Instead this gets trotted out as though Romney thinks they really are people and that they deserve a hug. (And a tax break.)

Legally, a corporation is a person:

"Since the mid-19th century, corporate personhood has become increasingly controversial, as courts have extended other rights to the corporation beyond those necessary to ensure their liability for debts. Other commentators argue that corporate personhood is not a fiction anymore—it simply means that for some legal purposes, "person" has now a wider meaning than it has in non-legal uses. ... On January 21, 2010, the Supreme Court of the United States, deciding Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by a 5-4 majority, removed restrictions on some types of corporate spending in support of (or in opposition to) specific candidates. This dramatically expanded the free speech rights of corporations." --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juristic_persons#Controversies_...

Not having heard Romney's comments in context, I can't tell whether he meant that he thought corporations were people or whether that was desirable. However, legally at this point they have, I think, every right a "natural person" has less being able to vote, plus they and their officers are largely immune from criminal prosecution. For example, if you or I had killed 11 people due to negligence, we would have been arrested for negligent murder or manslaughter, and if we were not US citizens, we would probably be denied bail as a flight risk. By contrast, British Petroleum has merely had to undergo civil suits, and even if they lose, they can always go into bankruptcy protection. See:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deepwater_Horizon_explosion

(Note: In recent NewSpeak, this incident is known as "Macondo" to distance itself from the well-remembered "Deepwater Horizon".)
 
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Chad Ellis
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
"Corporations are people, my friend." I think it's abundantly clear that what Romney was saying is that corporations are made up of people. Instead this gets trotted out as though Romney thinks they really are people and that they deserve a hug. (And a tax break.)

Legally, a corporation is a person:


Yes, but this has nothing to do with what's under discussion.

/quozl
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"Corporations are people" is the mirror to "You didn't build it" to me.

The argument for the intended meaning just doesn't make any sense. You have to accept that the reviled target both dropped their evil mask and took leave of their wits at the same time. And of course this is after the target provides a perfectly reasonable clarification afterwards.

If the words came up in the middle of a dinner party or barbeque you'd just assume the benign interpretation or ask for clarification. And if you received the later and continued to make the crazy case you may be asked to leave or get a punch in the nose depending on the company.

Yet with a politician you get on the internet and dash out "SEE! SEE!"
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Tall_Walt wrote:
Not having heard Romney's comments in context, I can't tell whether he meant that he thought corporations were people or whether that was desirable.

This is from memory, but it was in response to a heckler and was referring to taxes. The guy was yelling to raise taxes on the wealthy, and Romney was debating that, then someone else or the same guy started yelling "Corporations" as in then raise taxes on corporations. That was when Romney replied with "Corporations are people, my friend". He followed up with something about where do you think the money that a corporation earns goes? It goes to people, or something like that.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Tall_Walt wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
"Corporations are people, my friend." I think it's abundantly clear that what Romney was saying is that corporations are made up of people. Instead this gets trotted out as though Romney thinks they really are people and that they deserve a hug. (And a tax break.)

Legally, a corporation is a person:

Yes, but this has nothing to do with what's under discussion.

I've had lawyers tell me, "Corporations are people." So, unless you want to divulge the context that makes you belief Romney meant, "Corporations are made up of people," I really have to take the quote as stated.

That said, it's merely a statement of fact, not an endorsement of current case law. Still, I think as a high flying corporate financier, Romney would be more likely to think the case law is morally correct than, say, someone who says, "I'll believe a corporation is a person when Texas executes one."
 
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
"Corporations are people, my friend." I think it's abundantly clear that what Romney was saying is that corporations are made up of people. Instead this gets trotted out as though Romney thinks they really are people and that they deserve a hug. (And a tax break.)


I agree about what Romney probably meant, but what did he think the person questioning him meant? There seems to be misrepresentation going both ways on this one.

I guess the issue is whether corporations deserve to be treated as people legally. Romney's point seemed to be that because they are made up of people, that those people make the corporation act like a person. The other point of view is the the structure of a corporation discourages people from acting like they would personally.

Sorry if I'm getting in the weeds here.
 
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
One more:

"We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers."

This is presented as though Newhouse (a Romney pollster) was saying the campaign didn't care about facts or honesty. Instead, he was saying that campaigns always run into issues with fact-checkers because a lot of the calls are subjective and the fact-checker's own bias can be the problem. Here's a fuller version of what he said:

Quote:
We stand behind those ads and behind the facts in those ads. Fact-checkers come to this with their own sets of thoughts and beliefs and you know what? We're not going let our campaign be dictated by fact-checkers.


The Romney campaign is sure as hell acting like they don't give a shit about what the fact checking organizations say.

That, to me, is more damning than the actual quote itself.

But then, both campaigns have gone very negative. Negative campaigns always involve some significant distortions. I just think that Romney is going further, partly because he's playing catch-up in the battlegrounds, and doesn't understand why.

Darilian

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jmilum wrote:
He followed up with something about where do you think the money that a corporation earns goes? It goes to to people, or something like that.

Thanks, though that's kind of a misspeak for, "Shareholders are people," though most shareholders are other corporations.
 
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Chad Ellis
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Tall_Walt wrote:

I've had lawyers tell me, "Corporations are people." So, unless you want to divulge the context that makes you belief Romney meant, "Corporations are made up of people," I really have to take the quote as stated.


Divulge? It's not a secret.

Romney was talking about not wanting to raise taxes on people (and that Obama would have to in order to keep his promises on spending). Someone from the crowd shouted, "Corporations," presumably implying that Romney should raise taxes on them. Romney replied that corporations are people and when someone yelled, "No they aren't" he replied:

Quote:
Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?


I think it's pretty clear that he wasn't making a point about legal status but that a tax on corporations is ultimately a tax on people because corporations are made up of people.
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Chad Ellis
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rshipley wrote:
Chad_Ellis wrote:
"Corporations are people, my friend." I think it's abundantly clear that what Romney was saying is that corporations are made up of people. Instead this gets trotted out as though Romney thinks they really are people and that they deserve a hug. (And a tax break.)


I agree about what Romney probably meant, but what did he think the person questioning him meant? There seems to be misrepresentation going both ways on this one.


I think he thought the person meant "raise taxes on corporations," since Romney had just finished saying he didn't want to raise them on people.

Quote:
I guess the issue is whether corporations deserve to be treated as people legally. Romney's point seemed to be that because they are made up of people, that those people make the corporation act like a person. The other point of view is the the structure of a corporation discourages people from acting like they would personally.


I don't think that was Romney's point at all. He was talking about taxes and saying he didn't want to raise taxes on people. It wasn't about legal status or how corporations act but the simple fact that a tax on corporations is ultimately a tax on people.
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Darilian wrote:
The Romney campaign is sure as hell acting like they don't give a shit about what the fact checking organizations say.

That, to me, is more damning than the actual quote itself.


Sure. I have no problem with someone saying, "The Romney campaign is highly dishonest and their ads are regularly deceptive." That's a reasonable opinion and even one I share. (That proves it's reasonable!) I just think that particular person was claiming that the ad in question was honest and that the problem lied with the fact-checkers, not that he agreed it was dishonest but didn't give a fuck.
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Chad_Ellis wrote:
Both campaigns have made centerpieces out of the other side saying something it didn't actually say. Statements taken out of context and repeated over and over take on a life of their own. Here are my "favorites" so far.

"You didn't build that." In a speech about how individual success is built upon the foundation of society (including relying on and benefitting from things like roads, the Intranet and education), Obama said that if you have a business you didn't build all the things that made that business possible. Republicans have claimed that what he really said is you didn't build the business at all and made their campaign theme the contrary position.

Any others favorite distorted quotes of the campaign out there?

(I also welcome claims from both sides that any of the above distortions isn't a distortion at all, but really captures what the speaker meant. This is an issue on which people can disagree, like whether there was a global flood that took place while humans were alive.)


Here is the video for "..you didn't build that"



If he was referring to roads and bridges, why did he single out business owners particularly, as not having built them? I would think that a business owner, by virtue of hiring people who will pay taxes, along with the business owner, would be more responsible for contributing to the building of roads and bridges than an individual like myself.

Sure, it is open to interpretation, depending on which side you may be on, but along with past statements he has made, and how he has governed, convinces me that he absolutely meant it, as he said it.

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jackolantern wrote:
Sure, it is open to interpretation, depending on which side you may be on, but along with past statements he has made, and how he has governed, convinces me that he absolutely meant it, literally, as he said it.

How do you fall on the comments attributed to Romney above?
 
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Chad Ellis
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jackolantern wrote:
If he was referring to roads and bridges, why did he single out business owners particularly, as not having built them? I would think that a business owner, by virtue of hiring people who will pay taxes, along with the business owner, would be more responsible for contributing to the building of roads and bridges than an individual like myself.


Obama's speeches (like those of most politicians) are full of examples that illustrate a point. By your logic, any time this happens the speaker is actually "singling out" that example and we should assume what they're saying doesn't apply to anyone or anything else.

Quote:
Sure, it is open to interpretation, depending on which side you may be on, but along with past statements he has made, and how he has governed, convinces me that he absolutely meant it, literally, as he said it.


Aren't you glad Noah built that ark?

Or, if you prefer: what past statements and what steps has he taken as POTUS indicate that thinks people who build businesses didn't actually build them at all?

Just as a reminder, here's a bigger chunk of that speech:

Quote:
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That’s how we funded the GI Bill. That’s how we created the middle class. That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That’s how we invented the Internet. That’s how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president – because I still believe in that idea. You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”


Why did Obama single out teachers? Does he think parents don't contribute to our growth? No...he just used teachers as an example of the fact that our lives are built upon shared effort.
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Darilian wrote:
The Romney campaign is sure as hell acting like they don't give a shit about what the fact checking organizations say.

That, to me, is more damning than the actual quote itself.

I'm rather more disturbed that they seem to want to shoot from the hip and yap numbers they've pull from their asses rather than to take the (very little) time to get the facts, or be cautious and speak generally instead of plugging in BS numbers.

My imperfect memory recalls Romney in his Jerusalem speach as saying Israel's per capita GDP was $20,000 while Palestine's per capita GDP was $10,000 therefore yadda, yadda, yadda. Ready, Set, Go: Isreal, $31,985; Palestine, $2,900 -- 79 seconds, taking so long because Palestine -> State of Palestine and the article was badly formatted so I had to search for GDP. (Wikipedia)

For real countries, I can go to the CIA Factbook and get totally authoritative information in half a minute per country on virtually any topic: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/

In an early job a boss called me in on the carpet for having a bad number in something I wrote. He felt every time you blow an easily checked number, you look like an idiot and hurt your credibility. I agreed with him back then.

I think shooting from the hip instead of getting facts is a totally valid criticism at any time. Considering Bush 2....
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