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Pandering to His Base

Obama goes left, left, and left again.

Jul 30, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 43 • By FRED BARNES
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In his Roanoke riff, he outdid his previous hymns to government. The thrust of his argument was that government, even more than personal initiative and hard work, is responsible for the success of individuals. “If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that,” he said. “Somebody else made that happen.” He cited projects like the Hoover Dam and Golden Gate Bridge as evidence “you’re not on your own.”

The Obama campaign quickly sensed a backlash. When Mitt Romney read the “you didn’t build that” quote at a rally, it responded with a TV ad declaring “that’s not what [Obama] said.” Not true. Romney, gazing down at a text, had read the comment accurately, word for word.

Perhaps it was better, at least for campaign purposes, to deny the quote rather than try to explain it. Who would believe Obama didn’t mean exactly what he said? His history, his earlier comments, his policies—all stand as evidence of his loathing of business, profits, and affluence.

Obama’s campaign advisers appear confident of winning. Their contempt for Romney is palpable. But their cockiness is unearned, particularly when appealing to liberals is the best strategy they’ve got.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.


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