A 14-year old video that showed then-State Sen. Barack Obama saying “I actually believe in redistribution,” which the Romney campaign was quick to pounce on this week, was missing some crucial context, namely that Obama goes on to talk about the need to “foster competition," NBC reported.
Here is what Obama said, according to a fuller version of the remarks: “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.”
The the version of the clip seized upon by conservatives this week omitted the last sentence.
The New York Times reports that in the talk, at Loyola University in 1998, Obama suggests that it was fair to criticize the efficacy of government institutions like the Chicago Housing Authority and the city’s public schools. “I think some of it has been deserved,” he said.
Nevertheless, the Romney campaign continued to hammer Obama on the comments. On NBC's Today show Thursday, campaign senior advisor Ed Gillespie said that Obama's "philosophy of income redistribution as the goal of your economic policies" has resulted in the country's poor economic climate. The Republican National Committee also released an online video, hitting the president on the 14-year-old video.
Matt Vasilogambros contributed contributed to this article.