The Obama Message Machine

Friday, July 20, 2012

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Nevada Las Vegas on June 7. (Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)

Mark Halperin, senior political analyst at Time, man behind The Page, and co-author of Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, discusses how the Obama re-election campaign is controlling its message, from vetting quotes in articles to the "drip-drip-drip" Bain attacks.


Mark Halperin

Comments [36]

Mike from Inwood

@David from Fredericksburg, VA: Like millions of NYC residents, I grew up in a sparely populated area. There is no sparely populated area in the US that pays it's own way. That is, there is no rural area where the total of government spending at all level is less than than the total taxes paid by the locals. Your electric service is subsidized by the cheaper to service people in the densely populated areas. Unless you live next to the power plant, the cost of getting the electricty to you is not paid for by your electric bill. The same is true of your water systems, your mail services, the road and bridge construction and everything else. The nearest hospital is not funded locally, there probably isn't enough business to keep it in business. Mind you, I'm not complaining, (I hope to return) but if you're asking...

Jul. 21 2012 12:41 AM
Mike from Inwood

WHo cares whether thee's an actual email trail all the way to Mitt? Is Lehrer's replacement (or Lehrer himself) smart enough to ask whether Mitt Romney disagreed with any decision to outsource jobs to China? Unfortunately, not.

Jul. 21 2012 12:24 AM
Mike from Tribeca

Why didn't the host and his guest call out Romney's crew selectively editing the president's remarks in their ad?

Romney's entire primary campaign was based on a torrent of negative ads against his opponents. This is Mitt's pattern. He's the Nixon of our time.

Jul. 20 2012 11:14 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ bernie from bklyn

Now, take a deep breath, and read what I actually wrote.

I never said Obama was trying to take "our" guns away.

I never said I approved of the repeal of the 1 hand gun per month limit in Virginia.

I never said it was a great thing for many guns to be floating around in NYC.

What I said was there are many places in America that are not like NYC - which in no way implied that NYC is someplace other than in America.

My point was, and continues to be, that it is not ridiculous to have and/or want a gun for protection. Many of the audience don't know & probably have never thought about what it's like to be in a place with sparse law enforcement.

As for you pay for all the benefits you provide for me - please elucidate.

Jul. 20 2012 11:11 AM
The Truth from Becky

Martin Chuzzlewit
Martin Chuzzlewit
The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit is a novel by Charles Dickens, considered the last of his picaresque novels. It was originally serialized between 1843–44. Wikipedia
Published: 1844
Author: Charles Dickens

Jul. 20 2012 11:04 AM
bernie from bklyn

@david from VA-
"What most of this audience doesn't understand is that many places in America are nothing like NYC."
EXACTLY, you're pointing out how moronic and uninformed all yahoo's like you are regarding our gun laws and lack thereof.... whether you like it nor not, nyc, chicago, la, etc. are part of the usa. in fact they provide the tax base that pays for most of the services that you take advanatage of and enjoy on a daily basis.
there are too many guns in the hands of young morons in nyc. it's out of control. why are there so many guns on the streets of nyc? because of the lax gun laws in states like virginia and florida. northern nj and virginia are not the streets of nyc....can you understand that? nyc is a part of this country. do you understand that? then you have to understand that it's not a "onesize fits all" philosophy and the good of the people as a WHOLE has to be taken into account when morons like you think obama etc. are trying to take your guns away.

Jul. 20 2012 10:41 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ theresa

Actually $100k is chump change to Romney. That is how disconnected from reality he & his cronies are.

Jul. 20 2012 10:34 AM
Bob from Westchester, NY

I think Mr. Halperin misses a couple of key points regarding Bain and Mr. Romney's qualifications for President:

1. Whether or not he was making day-to-day decisions during 1999-2002 period, he was the founder and guiding light at Bain Capital. He created the corporate culture which made it OK to make money on investments without concern for its impact on employees (lost jobs, pensions, etc.), and with no concern for where jobs and other economic value was created. Not illegal, not immoral for a businessman, but not a qualification for president.

2. Signing SEC filings with incorrect information is not just a legal formality or unimportant paper issue. The whole point of the filings is to inform the public (including investors in Bain funds) accurately informed as to who is running things, handling the investments, and ultimately responsible for the company's actions.

Jul. 20 2012 10:33 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan , doing a days work in the right wing machine?

Jul. 20 2012 10:32 AM
wkoggan from NJ

this comentator is a moron. If he worked in business instead of politics he would know that the CEO (tichular or not) is morally and now legally responsible for all of the firms behavior. Look at the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

Jul. 20 2012 10:31 AM
Nancy from Metuchen from New Jersey

Why are we listening to Romney apologist?

Jul. 20 2012 10:31 AM
John from NYC

From Paul Krugman in an article he wrote for the Harvard Business Review titled "A Company is not a Country", maybe you could bring Mr. Krugman back as a guest to discuss this topic.

Jul. 20 2012 10:30 AM
Born in DC from NYC

Lovely change of pace. Interesting, informed source. I tune out whenever I get too much pablum... from whatever side of the spectrum. Feel WNYC gives too much one sided news source 2001 which doesn't keep me FULLY informed.

Jul. 20 2012 10:29 AM

Romney received >$100,000 annually for years at Bane he claims to have consumed in planning for the Olympics. Isn't it common sense to assume someone compensated so well would have been critically involved in decision making at the company- or minimally just aware of trends/shake-ups, etc, like massive outsourcing movements? Is Romney saying while making $100 grand for doing nothing at Bane he also knew nothing about its basic operations? Ineffective and oblivious? Are these qualities we want in a president? Didn't we se the results with George W?

Jul. 20 2012 10:29 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

What did Little Barry Obama EVER build?

Yes, it was "off the cuff" and very revealing of this "President's" ideology

Jul. 20 2012 10:29 AM
Edward from NJ

Mark Halperin keeps saying "venture capital" when he talks about Romney's business background. Bain Capital is a private equity firm not a venture capital firm. There's a big difference.

Jul. 20 2012 10:29 AM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

It sounds like Romney was a sales man for Bain Capital. He brought in investors via his family contacts. Romney never managed Bain.
Also, please ask about the relationship between Bain Capital and Bain Consulting?

Jul. 20 2012 10:27 AM

If Romney runs the country the way he ran Bain, who seriously thinks the US would be a better place? Martin? We might not have a deficeit, but this would be a horrible place to live.

Jul. 20 2012 10:25 AM
rick from NYC

mark halperin is full of it. Romney was ceo and sole shareholder of bain, as well as the chairman of the board from 1999-2002. therefore he is responsible for whatever happened at that time- on his watch.

Breaking news!- mark halperin is biased towards the GOP and conservative ideas!!

Jul. 20 2012 10:25 AM
Tony from Tribeca

Did the host and his guest make the bizarre blanket assertion that press reporting about Romney can be directly traced to the White House?

Jul. 20 2012 10:24 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Romney said, "Yes, I was a shareholder" (of Bain during the time he worked on the Olympics), but he wasn't *a* shareholder, he was *the* shareholder, i.e., the only one. That's a major difference. Why would he need to downplay this?

Jul. 20 2012 10:24 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Obama's message machine to business owners-


Sure, it was really Little Barry Obama who risked his life savings to start a business.

It was Little Barry Obama who took out the loans to start a company.

It was Little Barry Obama and Michelle who worked 12 hours a day to make a business succeed.

It was Little Barry Obama who often went bankrupt starting a business.

What a bunch of crap from this arrogant twit.

Jul. 20 2012 10:23 AM
Jon from West Village

Get real.
The people being snowed with this "non-issue" are the democrats.
There are no CEO's or MP's anywhere in the world who would sign a tax document if they were not involved in the operations. Nobody signs a document like this whimsically or without clear legal direction if they are unsure. It's the Romney campaign who is playing on the public's general naivety in corporate matters to say it's a non-issue. There is def something here. Romney is trying to manipulate his residency both ways, as Mark pointed out. And there is probably more there.

BTW - -where is the press (and Ross Perot!) on Romney's wife saying they won't reveal any more tax issues, "YOU PEOPLE Don't need to know any more."

Jul. 20 2012 10:23 AM

Why is this Republican operative on WNYC? Why are you carrying water for Romney? He is a crimson & should be in jail. HE SIGNED DOCUMENTS STATING HE HEADED BAIN - how is that "no evidence"? WNYC sucks!

Jul. 20 2012 10:22 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

@ Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Yes, the Obama campaign is spinning like mad, but the fact still remains that Romney is trying to have it both ways.

He'd like to have credit for jobs created in the time period in question (and those numbers are questionable) & disclaim any responsibility for any negative events at the same time.

You were involved or not - can't have it both ways.

Besides, it doesn't matter which person wins the race - the ultimate winners will continue to be special interest$

Jul. 20 2012 10:22 AM
Hunter from Ditmas Park

re Bain: his actual participation is not the point! Was it not his company? As such, has he DISTANCED himself from those outsourcings?

Jul. 20 2012 10:21 AM
R.E. from brooklyn

it's not a straw man issue. one question is why romney hasn't been forthcoming on basic facts - he may not have been running the company but he has misrepresented the fact that he was still the CEO, drawing a salary, and ultimately the buck therefore stopped with him, regardless of whether he was paying attention or not. that's a pretty straightforward issue of honesty. the other question is whether bain's activities were substantively different before and after 1999. why should romney distance himself from post-99 activities? that's an issue of whether bain's activities pre or post 99 were problematic.

Jul. 20 2012 10:21 AM
Mary Bon from Connecticut

What's your guest's opinion on Romney, et al., calling President Obama "foreign"? And didn't he call the president a dick on national tv?

Jul. 20 2012 10:21 AM
Jay from New York/Ohio

Follow the money. Did he take the profits from these deals?

The answer is yes.
So his campaign is being partially funded by himself and other people who off-shore, downsize and otherwise hurt the voters of the swing states.

Jul. 20 2012 10:21 AM
fuva from harlemworld

So Romney was listed as CEO for a company implementing policies he disagreed with?

Jul. 20 2012 10:19 AM
Jake from Nassau

Please don't confuse private equity (buy up existing companies and either plunder or revive them) with venture capital (fund start-ups). Bain Capital is a private equity. Romney is NOT a "venture capitalist" !

Jul. 20 2012 10:19 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Bravo for honesty!

Jul. 20 2012 10:19 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan


Thanks, WNYC, for being part of the Obama machine.

Good job, Mark.

Jul. 20 2012 10:18 AM

awesome a MSM want them to have more personality issues...forget the REAL issues...your reporting? high comedy

Jul. 20 2012 10:15 AM
David from Fredericksburg, VA

What most of this audience doesn't understand is that many places in America are nothing like NYC.

I have a shotgun & I pray to God I never have to use it, but if I waited for the sheriff's dept to come in the event of a house invasion, I'd be dead.

I previously lived in NW NJ - the entire police department was 6 officers, including the police chief. Not 6 at a time, a total of 6. Usually 1 officer on duty at a time, covering 30 square miles.

Jul. 20 2012 10:12 AM

Violence begets violence

Jul. 20 2012 10:12 AM

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