R’s edit Obama’s speech

The proof

But the video deceptively edits Obama’s remarks to seamlessly link up two different parts of the speech, removing a chunk in order to make Obama’s remarks seem far worse than they are. Here is how Obama’s speech — which you hear in the background while pictures of the man driving flash on the screen — is represented in the video:

If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be ‘cause I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.

In the video, the speech is made to sound as if Obama continued straight from “let me tell you something” to “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” But here are the words that Obama said between those two sentences that were cut out (the missing sentences are in bold):

Let me tell you something. There are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.

There were several letters to the editor this morning, invoking the edited quote.


10 thoughts on “R’s edit Obama’s speech

  1. I’m sorry. I’ve seen the unedited video footage of the speech itself, and read the complete transcript innumerable times. When President Obama says, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that”, the plain reference of “that” is “business”. If he meant to refer to roads and bridges, he should have said “those”.

    Now, I’ll grant you I’m no fan of the creative editing that goes on with videos across the political spectrum. There might have been better ways to do it for the campaign video and still meet the constraints of time. Still – most of the business people I’ve heard talking about it don’t need any video to remember what the President said. They can tell you without any difficulty, sometimes nearly word for word.

    I’ve had good, even great teachers, and of course I make use of this country’s public infrastructure. But to hear someone say, “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own”, or that I didn’t build my business – well, it set me off when I heard it and I still am furious.

    I made the decision to start my own business, varnishing boats, 22 years ago. I taught myself the trade, and built a customer base. I ran through my savings after three years, but finally began to turn things. Eventually, I was able to hire a couple of folks to work with me. I went without health insurance and vacations for years. I worked 12 and 14 hour days on the docks in the heat and cold, weekdays and weekends, and brought work home at night. I paid my taxes, and I paid my dues – in any number of ways.

    But I’ve supported myself and helped to support my mother by my own skill and my own efforts – for nearly a quarter century. When I heard those words of the President – LONG before anyone else got ahold of them to edit them, in any way – they felt like a kick in the gut. They still do. From my perspective, there’s no way to make what he said sound worse than it was.

    1. One of the hardest things for self-made people to admit is that they had help, regardless of the form that help took.

      I started my practice 26 years ago without a single client. I’ve done without – still do actually: after all these years don’t know the meaning of the word “vacation” unless it means just not going to work for a couple of days. I still work almost every weekend.

      Even so, I can acknowledge that I couldn’t have done it alone – and, in fact, did not. Heck yeah I work my butt off – but without the some of the infrastructure in place in this country, the hard work wouldn’t matter. I think that was his point, although clumsily made.

      (And I’ll say this, too: I’ve seen a lot of people who work really hard and are never successful. Sometimes, hard work just isn’t enough.)

  2. What he said was bad enough. I don’t see that the edit made changed substantively what he said.

    And when you complain about all the times that Democrats have done this, then perhaps you can be taken seriously about it.

  3. All that we have, all that we are, was given to us by God.

    If you have the intellect, talent, and drive to create a company, your intellect, talent, and drive were given to you by God.

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