WASHINGTON - The Romney team believes highlighting President Barack Obama as a "redistributionist" will help win the White House for Mitt Romney. The Romney team is framing Obama as a "redistributor" --that's not a term we've heard a lot of until now-- to jab Obama in the wake of a video of Romney comments at a Florida fund-raiser that have triggered an uproar--where he talks about Obama supporters who don't pay taxes and are "dependent" on government entitlements.
At issue, according to Team Romney: A clash over the essential role of government--where government stops and personal responsibility begins.
Team Romney has some success Tuesday getting the redistributionist story up and running, starting with the posting on Drudge of a clip of Barack Obama talking--in 1998--at Loyola University about "redistribution."
Obama in 1998: "[T]he trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure everybody's got a shot."
Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades called the comment above in a memo released Wednesday, "In a newly-unearthed set of remarks, we can hear Barack Obama in his own words advocating for government as a means to redistribute wealth." (Click below for the entire Rhoades memo)
Romney runningmate Rep. Paul Ryan jumped in during a Danville, Va. rally where he said Obama believes in redistribution and the Romney/Ryan ticket does not want to redistribute the wealth.
To give the story Wednesday legs, per the Republican National Committee: "U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus will host a press conference call TODAY, September 19th at 4:00 PM ET to discuss President Obama's belief that American prosperity comes from big government and the redistribution of wealth and how Governor Romney will help to create jobs for Americans through free enterprise and entrepreneurship."
below, from the Romney campaign...
From: Matt Rhoades, Campaign Manager
To: Interested Parties
Date: September 19, 2012
Re: Two Visions for America
48 days remain until Election Day. As the choice voters face comes into greater focus, the different visions that Mitt Romney and Barack Obama have for America are becoming more sharply defined.
Mitt Romney's vision for America is an opportunity society, where free people and free enterprise thrive and success is admired and emulated, not attacked. President Obama's vision for America is a government-centered society, where government grows bigger and more active, occupying more of our everyday lives.
In a newly-unearthed set of remarks, we can hear Barack Obama in his own words advocating for government as a means to redistribute wealth:
"[T]he trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure everybody's got a shot."
Mitt Romney has a very different idea. He knows that we need to foster growth and create wealth, not redistribute wealth, if our economy is to grow the way it has in the past.
We don't have to look far to see the failure of President Obama's approach. We can look at his record. First came the stimulus - and nearly a trillion dollars of government spending later, the unemployment rate is almost 3 percentage points higher than where President Obama projected it would be.
Then came Obamacare. Even though it has yet to take effect, businesses are already grappling with the new taxes, regulations, controls, and bureaucracies that are impeding hiring and adding to our uncertainty.
We are experiencing the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. More Americans than ever before are in poverty or on food stamps. President Obama's government-heavy policies have not worked, and we need a new direction.
Mitt Romney places his trust in the American people, not in government. His plan includes tax relief to spur growth and increase take-home pay, trade policies that allow American companies to compete and win, and a commitment to championing small business as the engine of our economic growth. Policies like these define what an opportunity society is all about.
There is no doubt that Americans are not better off today than they were four years ago, and this race is a choice between two very different visions. In the next 48 days, Governor Romney will describe the difference in these visions and what that difference means for our future.
Americans don't want the next four years to look like the last four. We believe they'll elect a president who will restore the American promise for everyone. Mitt Romney will be that president.