Mitt Romney’s campaign is fast developing a reputation for selectively omitting quotes and passages that reflect poorly on the candidate in its press releases.
The latest blow up is over a pair of newspaper endorsements that Romney received this week, both of which were generally positive but tempered with some criticisms of his position on various issues where they disagreed.
The latest came on Friday, as the Romney campaign sent out another newspaper endorsement, this one from the Arizona Republic, that left out sections criticizing Romney’s position on immigration policy as well as his skills as a campaigner. It did also leave out some more positive passages as well on his foreign policy views.
As reported by TPM this week, Romney’s campaign recently e-mailed out an endorsement from the Detroit News that left out a paragraph criticizing his handling of the auto bailout:
We disagree with Romney on a point vital to Michigan — his opposition to the bailout of the domestic automobile industry. Romney advocated for a more traditional bankruptcy process, while we believe the bridge loans provided by the federal government in the fall of 2008 were absolutely essential to the survival of General Motors Corp. and Chrysler Corp. The issue isn’t a differentiator in the GOP primary, since the entire field opposed the rescue effort.
The editors who wrote the endorsement were upset over the Romney camp’s move, calling it a “distortion” of their words. Although a spokesman for Romney said they were only complying with copyright laws by not including the full editorial, a top First Amendment lawyer told TPM that he was unaware of any relevant legal issues.
Last month, Buzzfeed reported that the Romney campaign was also editing transcripts of its own conference calls with the press to leave out pointed questions and less than stellar answers from its surrogates. In addition, the campaign edited an article on supporter John McCain to leave out a section on their past disagreements and left out concerns in a Des Moines Register endorsement over Romney’s history of changing positions on some issues.
Benjy Sarlin is a reporter for Talking Points Memo and co-writes the campaign blog, TPM2012. He previously reported for The Daily Beast/Newsweek as their Washington Correspondent and covered local politics for the New York Sun.