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What Obama really said about redistribution: The whole quote

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Mitt Romney is accusing President Barack Obama of being a "redistributionist"--asking the rich to share more burden than the poor--(is that bad?)--using as his proof a clip from a 1998 panel Obama was on at Loyola University in Chicago. NBC News has obtained more tape from the discussion...and the full quote shows Obama talking about very centrist concepts of "competition" and the "marketplace."

From NBC's First Read:

Mitt Romney's campaign this week has pounced on a 14-year-old clip of Obama speaking about "redistribution" in October 1998 at a conference in Chicago, in which the future president seems to extol the virtues of redistributing wealth.

Yet NBC News has obtained the entirety of the relevant remarks, which includes additional comments by Obama that weren't included in the video circulated by Republicans. That omission features additional words of praise for "competition" and the "marketplace" by the then-state senator.

In the whole clip, Obama says:
I think the 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 that everybody's got a shot. How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities.

Obama continues in a few words after that to describe the use of tax credits in setting public housing development policy in Chicago as an example before concluding.

The video circulated by Republicans, which has used as fodder for an attack on Obama, includes a longer reflection by Obama about talking about how government action can be effective. But the clip has been cut short after the word "shot;" Obama's words about competition, the marketplace and innovation are omitted from the clip.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on September 20, 2012 8:23 AM.

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