When Robert V. watched the news or listened to the radio, he would hear things President Barack Obama and those in his administration would say. Later, when in a political discussion with friends, he found looking up the quote online took too long or it was difficult due to signal problems. What's more, what if you couldn't recall the exact phrases or the people to whom you were relating the quote didn't necessarily believe it was said?
That's when Robert V., who asked that TheBlaze not use his full name in order to keep his identity private so it wouldn't have repercussions at work, etc., created the iOS app "Obama, In His Own Words." The app was released in May but Robert has since been updating it with more quotes from Obama and his supporters in an effort to document what is actually being said and to allow him and others to "speak intelligently about it."
"I watch a lot of different news reporting -- including Glenn Beck -- and I would think 'how come no one else knows about this?'" Robert said in reference to some things he heard from Obama and his administration. "[When you] press play [on the app] and they hear it. They say "wow."
His response to this reaction when some are surprised at what they've just heard from the app: "Why didn't you know?"
"It's important. This is how people become informed," Robert said.
In fact, Robert called in to the Glenn Beck Radio Program on Monday morning. On the show, Robert said an app user emailed him recently to say "for the first time in my life, I'm going to vote Republican." Listen to that segment from the program:
Robert started a company under which he brands his apps called Cutlass App Development, LLC, but it is not his primary job. He works for a company he describes as a very large, well-known IT firm. "Obama, In His Own Words" isn't the only app Robert has developed either. Shortly after releasing the Obama version, Robert created a Romney version called Romney Quotes Pro.
"It's really important to show that all our candidates may say things and we should be aware of them before we vote," he said, noting that including quotes from those close to the candidates or from their administrations is important as well.
"It really gives a complete picture I think," Robert said. "If you are going to vote for Obama, you are buying into his administration as well. It's important to bring that all out."
Topics included in the Obama app range from Fast and Furious, fuel, the green movement and Occupy Wall Street.
Here's how Cutlass App Developers describes itself on its Facebook page:
Cutlass App Development creates apps for smartphones and app enabled devices that will keep your interest, make you think, and hopefully cause you ask questions and do your own research. Our apps are often political, offering audio quotes from those in the political spotlight. Our audio quotes offer no opinion, and only present the audio quote itself, along with the date that the quote was spoken. Additional audio before and/or after the specified quote is often included for contextual purposes.
The quotes Robert includes in the apps are selective. He starts with things he hears on the news or radio but, more recently, the quotes he's uploading every other week are tipped to him from app users who want them at their fingertips. There's a button on the app where users can make requests. Once he hears a quote, Robert finds the audio online and puts that snippet into the app. So when a user hits play next the the quote they're seeing, they're hearing the Obama, Romney or one of their respective supporters in their own words.
He said that it is rare that he can't find audio for a quote he may want, although it can be difficult.
On the Obama, In His Own Words app website, Cutlass App Developers encourages users to "do their own research and draw their own conclusions."
Self-taught as an app developer, Robert said when the app was only an idea he thought "Can I do it?"
"I knew nothing of apps for smartphones. I learned from the ground up. It was a painful process," he said.
Still, he "took something [he] was interested in and a little bit of knowledge" and figured out how to build the app.
Although only available for iOS and Windows devices at the moment, Robert is working on an Android version for both apps, which he hopes to release soon.
Robert also said when he has time after finishing the Android version, he hopes to include other politicians. When asked who would be on his wish list, Robert said "Joe Biden could be an app all himself."
He also hopes to improve the apps some day with a search function so users could pull up quotes by searching a few keywords. He would also like to include a "share" function.