Guy Benson

The "out of context" refrain isn't just echoing through the fever-swamp lefty blogosphere and MSNBC, mind you; the Obama campaign itself is singing along:
 

“Mitt Romney continues to criticize President Obama by taking his words completely out of context -- all while sitting with small business owners who built their enterprises through their own initiative but with some help along the way,” she said.


Here's Romney succinctly explaining why, in his words, Obama's "context is worse than the quote:"
 


This is precisely what we've been arguing over the last week or so. Even if you grant Obama the benefit of the doubt that he's referring to infrastructure when he tells business owners "you didn't build that" (James Taranto says the grammar doesn't align with that generous interpretation), the full context of this quote fortifies his government-centric, success-demeaning message.  Plus, his point about infrastructure has rather large logic gaps; namely, that we pay for government, and that everyone -- successful and otherwise -- has access to public roads, schools, etc.  The Left continues to make two simultaneous and contradictory arguments.  First, they say Romney is taking Obama's words "completely out of context" by refusing to acknowledge the president's infrastructure point.  Second, they assert that Romney actually agrees with Obama, and he's making a mountain out of a mole hill for political gain.  They "prove" this by playing selectively-edited portions of Romney addressing and echoing parts of Obama's infrastructure argument -- the very point they claim he's ignoring in their first half of their argument.  They conveniently expurgate the part when he torches Obama's strawman.  The truth is that Romney has dealt effectively with his opponent's full, in-context quote.  He passionately disagrees with it.  Democrats know they're in trouble here, which is why they're throwing up smoke screens.  How ridiculous has it gotten?  Our old pal Erika Johnsen mines this gem over at HotAir.  If "you didn't build that" is Obama's rotten apple, here's Romney's irrelevant orange, courtesy of (surprise!) MSNBC:



 

“You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right! [pumps fist].”


See? Romney once admitted that Olympians attained their athletic prowess with the help of others -- so he's just like Obama!  What a thoroughly imbecilic comparison.  Nobody disagrees that people tend to succeed with the help of others.  Obama just thinks that all private and individual success is attributable to government, and therefore the government has the right to redistribute ever-larger portions of successful people's earnings.  And I must have missed the part of Romney speech when he sneered at elite athletes for believing their achievements to be the result of their own tireless work and God-given talent.  I also missed the passage in which Romney demands that they redistribute their medals.  (Hey, it's only "fair").  The uncomfortable reality for the Left is that Obama revealed his true colors in his Roanoke speech, and Romney isn't going to let him wriggle off the hook.


UPDATE - A week after it blew up, the Obama campaign has finally responded to this controversy.  They're parroting the "out of context" stuff, natch.  The Romney campaign shoots back that they've had Obama's full, unedited remarks available on their website for days -- both text and video.


Guy Benson

Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Senior Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson.

Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography