Lately, the president, his campaign committee and his supporters have been attacking Republicans for supposedly taking the Democrat’s remarks out of context. “You didn’t build that“, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly A. Strassel reports
. . . is swelling to such heights that it has the president somewhere unprecedented: on defense. Mr. Obama has felt compelled—for the first time in this campaign—to cut an ad in which he directly responds to the criticisms of his now-infamous speech, complaining his opponents took his words “out of context.”
. . . .
The Republican National Committee’s response to that gripe was to run an ad that shows a full minute of Mr. Obama’s rant at the Roanoke, Va., campaign event on July 13. In addition to “you didn’t build that,” the president also put down those who think they are “smarter” or “work harder” than others. Witness the first president to demean the bedrock American beliefs in industriousness and exceptionalism. The “context” only makes it worse.
Now if you put into context remark that served to begin the sinking of the McCain campaign just shy of four years ago, it makes more sense – and does not show a candidate indifferent to economic conditions. Let’s look at how most some in the legacy media reported the comment. Time has McCain saying, “The fundamentals of the economy are strong.” Note where the editors of that “news” magazine placed the period.
Let’s look at that in context:
Our economy, I think, is still — the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times,” McCain said. “I promise you, we will never put America in this position again. We will clean up Wall Street.
Time’s editors divided up the sentence in order to make the “fundamentals” comment a complete thought rather that part of a larger message. Aware of the controversy his comment caused, McCain, that very day, clarified “that his earlier comments had been intended as praise for the resilience of American workers”:
“And my opponents may disagree, but those fundamentals — the American worker and their innovation, their entrepreneurship, the small business, those are the fundamentals of America, and I think they’re strong,” he said in Orlando.
That didn’t stop those insisting today that Republicans had pulled Mr. Obama’s remarks out of context from continuing to hit the then-Republican nominee for his supposed obliviousness to the nation’s economic woes.
It does seem that whenever a Democrat says something potentially unpalatable to voters, his critics have merely pulled the comment out of context. But, Democrats will pull a Republican remark out of context if they could use it to attack their partisan rival.