On Romney: Context and Integrity

I try to watch ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos. GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was a guest on June 14th and he caught my attention with this subtle exchange with the host concerning a nuclear Iran. As a follow-up to a recent post about context, I decided to check the necessary transcripts.

The Interview
ROMNEY: And one aspect of what the president said may have been well received in Iran, but I think it was poorly received in Israel and around the world. And that’s when — well, actually, he made a 180-degree flip from what he had said during the campaign. During the campaign, when he spoke to AIPAC, he said he would do everything in his power to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. And then he went to Cairo and said that no single nation should have the ability to deny another nation the right to have a nuclear weapon. That is an 180-degree flip of a dangerous nature. I’m sure it was welcome in many streets in the Arab world and in the world that’s most — include the Persian world, Iran as well. But that’s not right for America. That’s not right for world security.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I believe the administration has said that they believe that Iran could have the right to nuclear power with appropriate safeguards, but not a nuclear weapon.

ROMNEY: We don’t have any question about nuclear power, and that was not the statement that the president made that was most offensive. It was his statement that no single nation should have the ability to deny another nation the right to nuclear weaponry.

President Obama in Cairo
OBAMA: It will be hard to overcome decades of mistrust, but we will proceed with courage, rectitude and resolve. There will be many issues to discuss between our two countries, and we are willing to move forward without preconditions on the basis of mutual respect. But it is clear to all concerned that when it comes to nuclear weapons, we have reached a decisive point. This is not simply about America’s interests. It is about preventing a nuclear arms race in the Middle East that could lead this region and the world down a hugely dangerous path.

I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons. That is why I strongly reaffirmed America’s commitment to seek a world in which no nations hold nuclear weapons. And any nation – including Iran – should have the right to access peaceful nuclear power if it complies with its responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. That commitment is at the core of the Treaty, and it must be kept for all who fully abide by it. And I am hopeful that all countries in the region can share in this goal.

A Frank Angle
This is a good example of how people take words out of context in order to apply meaning for their own benefit. Governor, as you continue to keep your name in the forefront for 2012, you must do much better than that to get not only my vote, but the vote of those who decide elections – independent moderates. Then again, maybe you don’t want our vote.

9 thoughts on “On Romney: Context and Integrity

  1. Frank – I agree with you. The days of politics as usual — playing tongue twister with other people’s words in order to scare voters — are over.

    Romney (like McCain) seem to have forgotten that we the citizens of the world have access to just about anything recorded and we can replay speeches, etc and interpret for ourselves.

    Romney is so 1980 — outdated and making himself irrelevant.


  2. This is a great post Frank. This is a huge problem for the ill-informed viewer who does not have the actualy Obama quote to compate to Romney’s story. This can quickly hurt his approval rating and his credibility with the public.

    We see this happen in sports reporting as well, where “quotes” are taken out of context or reinterpreted and presented as gospel for the public to absorb.

    Journalists should be held to a higher standard and also be held accountable for their words, be it written or otherwise. Just look at what Selena Roberts’ overzealousness cost the Duke Lacrosse players and she has not issued a single word of apology. Her methods to acquire the A-Rod story is another issue.

    Good work Frank.


    • Rad,
      Let’s face it, and I know you’ll agree, being informed takes effort. But given so many media outlets, at least it’s easier today … well, assuming we use a reliable source.

      Interestingly, I know some who won’t watch This Week because of George’s tie to the Clinton administration oh so many years ago. That’s crazy b/c he has a good show with good guest … on par with Meet the Press and Face the Nation. I happen to enjoy the roundtable discussion as it is generally balanced and the members being respectful to the others (thus not interrupting).

      Thanks for the kind words and for commenting.


  3. Of course Romney is correct in describing Obama’s position. There is no other way to interpret Obama’s statement that “No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons” except to say the President does not believe the US has the authority to dictate on the matter. This is a complete reversal of Obama’s statement to AIPAC during the 2008 campaign when he said as President he will do everything in his power to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

    Good job Mitt. Keep up the truth telling.


  4. I think that Romney is at least partly correct. Obama said that he would do “everything in his power” but then his Cairo speech appears to rule out unilateral action. Denying the path of unilateral action to deny Iran nuclear weapons is not exactly “everything in his power”.

    Tell me where I am wrong.


    • Thersites,
      You saying Romey is “at least partly correct” also means he was partly incorrect, which was exactly my point … his quote and President Obama’s quote are there in full context.
      Thanks for the comment.


  5. I see your point. I’m no Romney fan but it seems like a fairly mild exaggeration at worst. It is a mere shadow of the distortions that Obama made of McCain’s positions during the election.

    They all do it. It may not be pretty to watch but it is nothing new. The stakes are too high for them to want to change because a few peoples sensibilities are offended. They get far more support by these tactics than they lose.

    You may ask “why?” I think you already know the answer. It is that most people are fooled or swayed by this. This happens because most voters are basicly ignorant of politics, current events, how their own economy works, and the history of their nation. But they vote and we get professional politicians who are far more interested in their party, ideologies, and paying off their supporters than they are in what is best for their nation.


    • Thersites,
      You make good points. First of all, all doing it doesn’t justify it, but I understand your point. What either of the 2 candidates said about the other also doesn’t justify it; besides, the election is over.

      Exaggerating to get votes is pathetic (thus politicians are pathetic).

      Too many voters are both underinformed and misinformed. Although I don’t claim to be totally informed on all issues.

      But back to Romney. I’ll agree … a mild exaggeration in the big picture … but one nonetheless – which was my point.

      Thanks for the dialogue. Have a safe holiday weekend.


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