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Audio of Barack Obama in 1998: 'I Actually Believe In Redistribution

Audio of Barack Obama in 1998: 'I Actually Believe In Redistribution


The Associated Press is acknowledging the comments as being from Obama:

On Tuesday, Romney also referred to videotaped comments Obama made in 1998 as evidence he favored government redistribution of wealth. As an Illinois state senator at the time, Obama said he believes in redistribution "at least to a certain level to make sure everybody's got a shot."


The Obama campaign has authenticated the audio as well.

"Fourteen years ago, then-Senator Obama was making an argument for a more efficient, more effective government -- specifically citing city government agencies that he didn’t think were working effectively,” said Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt in a statement.

"He believed then, and believes now, that there are steps we can take to promote opportunity and ensure that all Americans have a fair shot if they work hard.  Unlike Governor Romney, he doesn’t believe that if you’re a student who applies for a loan you’re looking for a handout," LaBolt adds.


In a week that will undoubtedly be dominated by audio clips of presidential candidates, a recording surfaced today allegedly of Barack Obama making some damning remarks about redistribution -- mainly, that he's a fan of it:

"I think that what we’re going to have do is somehow resuscitate the notion that government action can be effective at all. There has been a systematic, uh, I don’t think it’s too strong to call it propaganda campaign, uh, against the possibility of government action and its efficacy," Obama (if it is indeed him) can be heard saying.

The speaker continues:

And I think some of it has been deserved. Chicago Housing Authority has not been a model of good policymaking. And neither necessarily have been the Chicago Public Schools. What that means then is that as we try to resuscitate this notion that we’re all in this thing together -- leave nobody behind -- we do have to be innovative in thinking, "how…what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live?"

And my suggestion, I guess, would be that the trick -- and this is one of the few areas where I think there are technical issues that have to be dealt with (as opposed to just political issues) -- 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.

Little is known about the video other than it's supposedly from a recording of an Oct. 19, 1998 Loyola University conference. Here's the video's description from YouTube user "nick cruz" who uploaded the video Sept. 18, 2012:

At an October 19, 1998 conference at Loyola University, Barack Obama spoke against "propaganda" that said government doesn't work and the need to "pool resources and hence facilitate some redistribution because I actually believe in redistribution."

However, similar audio uploaded by a different YouTube user on Aug. 7 claims to be from the same event. Here's that video's description from user "Tim Thomas": "In 1998 at Loyola University, Obama said he would have voted against welfare reform (10/19/98)":

"What I think will reengage people in politics is if we’re doing significant, serious policy work around, uh, what I will label ‘the working poor,’ although my definition of ‘the working poor’ is not simply folks making minimum wage, but it’s also families of four who’re making $30,000 a year,” the speaker can be heard saying.

"They are struggling and to the extent that we are doing research figuring out, uh, what kinds of government action would successfully make their lives better, we are then putting together a potential majority coalition to move those agendas forward," he adds.

The speech continues:

One of the good things about welfare reform, which, the 1996 legislation I did not entirely agree with and probably would’ve voted against it, the Federal level, the one good thing that comes out of it is that it essentially desegregates the welfare population, which, presumably, is black and undeserving and urban, versus the working poor, which are the other people.

Now, you just have one batch of folks. Folks who are working but don’t have health insurance, aren’t making much money, can’t figure out daycare, don’t spend an hour and a half trying to commute to the jobs that do exist, and don’t have much opportunity for enhancing their skills so that they could actually move up into a income bracket that would  actually support a family.

That is increasingly a majority population.

As of this writing, TheBlaze has not yet been able to confirm the authenticity of the audio. Therefore, any final judgments should be withheld until the entire audio and context is available.

Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter

This is a breaking story. Updates will be added as they become available. Front page photo courtesy the AP.

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