1998 audiotape surfaces: Obama urged ‘trick’ to aid wealth redistribution

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Republicans trumpeted news Tuesday of a 1998 audiotape showing future president Barack Obama calling for progressives to use a “trick” to enable unpopular economic redistribution. In that speech, Obama also used some of the same language he’s adopted for the 2012 campaign.

Amid public distrust, “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 to make sure everybody has got a shot,” Obama told a Loyola University audience in October 1998.

Since his ascent to the White House, he has followed a strategy of “pooling” taxpayer dollars into projects, including green-tech programs and cheap mortgages, that promote redistribution, while hiding the costs and risks.

The video first surfaced on YouTube, and was quickly placed at the top of the popular Drudge Report website.


“We’re making investments in entire new industries — in clean energy, folks making wind turbines, building long-lasting batteries,” he said Sept. 17 during a campaign stop in Ohio.

“That’s the vision that we’ve got, [and] we believe that America grows best when everybody’s got a fair shot.”

The Republican National Committee blasted out an email about the audio at a time when it needs to beat back Democratic criticisms about a covert videotape of Gov. Mitt Romney’s speech during a May fundraiser.

Obama’s speech to his allies also included some criticism of government-tied agencies that remain in the news — Chicago’s government schools, which is now embroiled in a teachers’ strike.

Obama complained to his audience about the public’s distrust of government’s ability to help.

“There has been a systematic — I don’t think it is too strong to call it a propaganda — campaign against the possibility of government action and efficacy,” he complained.

However, Obama also acknowledged that there’s evidence to support that “campaign.”

“Some of [the criticism] has been deserved,” he said.

“The Chicago Housing Authority has not been a model of good policy making, and neither necessarily has been the Chicago public schools,” he said.

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