President Obama got in some hot water yesterday, after the Des Moines Register complained that the White House had insisted on an off-the-record endorsement interview. The 30-minute call "was an incredibly informative exchange" that "would have been valuable to voters," the editors lamented. Obama's critics pounced, noting that Romney's interview had been recorded and released online. "Obama's behavior here is kind of strange, no?" writes Bryan Preston at Pajamas Media. "The president will be on both Leno and MTV this week, and both of those interviews are very much on the record."
In the face of that criticism, the White House released the entire interview without comment today, and Jamelle Bouie of the Washington Post thinks it's actually great. "This interview didn't need to be kept from the public. … If there's anything remarkable about it, it's that Obama is unusually clear in making his case." Some parts people are talking about:
- The part Bouie liked: Obama insists he couldn't have gotten more stimulus out of Republicans. "In fact, the first stimulus … as I was on my way up to meet House Republicans to share with them my ideas about how we should pass the Recovery Act, they already said they'd vote against it."
- Many are focusing on this quote: "Since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community."
- Obama also reveals that he's willing to use the $109 billion sequester as a "forcing mechanism" to forge a compromise on the deficit, the Hill points out. "In the first six months we are going to solve that big piece of business."