Updated 11:29 p.m. — Mitt Romney's campaign this week has pounced on a 14-year-old clip of Obama speaking about "redistribution" in October 1998 at a conference in Chicago, in which the future president seems to extol the virtues of redistributing wealth.
Yet NBC News has obtained the entirety of the relevant remarks, which includes additional comments by Obama that weren't included in the video circulated by Republicans. That omission features additional words of praise for "competition" and the "marketplace" by the then-state senator.
In the whole clip, Obama says:
I think the trick is figuring out how do we structure government systems that pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution, at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot. How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities.
Obama continues in a few words after that to describe the use of tax credits in setting public housing development policy in Chicago as an example before concluding.
The video circulated by Republicans, which has used as fodder for an attack on Obama, includes a longer reflection by Obama about talking about how government action can be effective. But the clip has been cut short after the word "shot;" Obama's words about competition, the marketplace and innovation are omitted from the clip.
Romney has nonetheless seized upon this clip as his campaign looks to regain its footing after the release of a surreptitiously-recorded video of the GOP presidential nominee speaking at a private fundraiser in May. Romney's campaign has been bogged down in criticism from conservatives and Democrats alike since the release of the clip, in which Romney talks about how he couldn't count on the support of 47 percent of Americans, since they pay no taxes, and are "dependent" on government.
The Republican candidate has used it as campaign fodder as recently as Wednesday.
"This is how America works. It does not work by a government saying, become dependent on government. Become dependent upon redistribution. That will kill the American entrepreneurship that’s lifted our economy over the years," Romney told donors at a fundraiser this afternoon in Atlanta. "The question of this campaign is not who cares about the poor and the middle class? I do. He does. The question is who can help the poor and the middle class? I can! He can’t!"