Reality Check: Super PAC ad attacking Obama uses selective editing

Restore Our Future is running TV ad
Reality Check: Super PAC ad attacking Obama uses selective editing

Most of the television ads for the presidential race have been from committees weighing in on behalf of candidates rather than the candidates themselves.

In one of the opening salvos of the presidential campaign in Wisconsin, a political action committee supporting Republican Mitt Romney uses selective editing to distort President Barack Obama’s comments.

The group running the ad, Restore Our Future, is a super PAC. It can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money and is run by former aides to Romney.

The investment and banking industry are the group’s biggest donors.

“If you had President Obama’s record, what would you do? Would you joke?” the ad’s narrator says. The ad then shows a clip of Obama saying, “Shovel ready was not as … shovel ready as we expected.”

WISC-TV found this needs clarification. This was a joke made during a June 2011 meeting of the president’s jobs council. The comment was after an official from the railroad industry was explaining some problems with the permitting process for projects that may have been done by stimulus work.


The questioner said: “We see firsthand what happens when you try to permit a project in this country, and it can delay things from months to years and, in many cases, it can cause the project to be abandoned. I’m sure that when you implemented the recovery act, your staff briefed you on many of the challenges and the impact on putting Americans back to work.”

Obama replied, “And that’s exactly what we see in American business as well. Shovel ready wasn’t as shovel ready as we expected.”

The ad’s narrator then asks whether a person with Obama’s record would “deny reality?” The ad then shows a clip of Obama saying, “We tried our plan and it worked.”

WISC-TV found this to be misleading. Obama was not referring to an economic plan he’d tried during his term. Instead, he was promoting a plan he wanted to use, saying it had worked during the Clinton administration.

Here is the full text of what Obama said in Oakland:

“I’m also going to ask anybody making over $250,000 a year to go back to the tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton, back when our economy created 23 million new jobs. The biggest budget surplus in history and everybody did well. Just like we’ve tried their (the Republicans’) plan, we tried our plan — and it worked. That’s the difference,” Obama said.

And then there’s the last Obama quote in the ad, a quote that has gotten a lot of play. The ad shows a clip of Obama saying, “The private sector is doing fine.”

WISC-TV found this needs clarification. Obama said this after saying how many jobs he believed had been created and making a comparison.

“We’ve created 4.3 million jobs over the last 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector is doing fine. Where we’re seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government,” Obama said.

The ad ends by attacking the president for “shameful and dishonest attacks,” but a WISC-TV analysis found that this ad isn’t honest either.

Leading up to the election, WISC-TV will be putting the claims candidates are making and the ads backing them through a “Reality Check.” Send your ideas for a Reality Check to