The White House called Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his allies “desperate” Wednesday for releasing an audio tape from 1998 in which then-state Sen. Barack Obama spoke in favor of “redistribution” of wealth.
“When a campaign is having a bad day or a bad week or some might say a bad month … you sometimes witness an effort to, it seems desperate, to change the subject,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.
Republicans came out Tuesday with the tape of Mr. Obama, speaking at Loyola University, saying he supports “redistribution.” It followed the release on Monday of a secretly recorded video of Mr. Romney at a fundraiser in May saying that 47 percent of Americans — Mr. Obama’s supporters — consider themselves “victims” who depend on the government for assistance.
Mr. Romney and his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, are highlighting Mr. Obama’s 14-year-old comments on the campaign trail.
“President Obama may think government should ‘facilitate some redistribution’ — but the results of his policies speak for themselves,” said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul. “Small businesses lack the confidence they need to expand and hire new workers, and the president’s looming tax hikes are threatening to destroy another 700,000 jobs. Mitt Romney understands that opportunity and free enterprise create jobs and grow our nation’s small businesses — not government redistribution.”
Mr. Carney said Mr. Obama was speaking in 1998 about “his concern as a state senator” to make local and state government programs more efficient and effective.
Likewise, Mr. Carney said, the president still believes that redistributive programs such as Social Security and Medicare “are beneficial for the entire society.”