NYTimes' Shear Defends Obama's 'You Didn't Build That', Says Romney 'Twisted' Words Out of Context

New York Times campaign reporter Michael Shear's "Political Memo" on Friday, "The 2012 Cycle: Attack, Feign Outrage, Repeat," was pitched as an even-handed, "pox on both your houses" article on how both political campaigns use phony outrage as a political tool.

But Shear launched a dubious defense of Obama's notorious "You didn't build that" gaffe, and understated the offensiveness of a false and malicious pro-Democratic ad holding Mitt Romney responsible for the death of a worker's wife.

The Democratic outrage machine is in full lather.

On Wednesday, the talking heads and campaign operatives spewed angry e-mails and Twitter messages about Mitt Romney’s latest television ad, which accuses President Obama of wanting to “gut” the work part of welfare to work.

“There is not an independent person that has looked at that ad, not one person that’s looked at that and said it’s remotely and substantially true,” Robert Gibbs, a senior adviser to the president’s campaign, said on MSNBC on Wednesday morning.

Last month, the outrage was directed at another Romney ad that took a few lines from Mr. Obama about roads and bridges and twisted them into disrespect for small business. The president called it “out of context” and “flat wrong.” Brad Woodhouse, a Democratic spokesman, said it was “trumped up, out of context” and “fact-checked to death.”

But hang on a minute. Even as they mount their high horses to complain, Democrats are eagerly delivering their own attacks seizing on a snippet or two of Mr. Romney’s comments, ignoring whatever he might actually have meant in favor of a quick-and-dirty hit.

On Wednesday, a Democratic “super PAC” began running an ad that essentially accused Mr. Romney of causing the death of a woman whose husband lost his job at a company owned by Mr. Romney’s Bain Capital.

Cue the umbrage.

After more of such blow-by-blow, Shear got to Obama's "you didn't build that" statement:

However much they talked about the importance of context, Mr. Romney’s campaign left most of it out in a barrage of ads showing the president saying: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” He was talking about roads and bridges, a point that was ignored.

Really? If Obama really was talking about "roads and bridges," a plural phrase, why did he follow up with the word "that," which is singular? Here's the full context of what Obama said, which doesn't help him like Shear thinks it does:

If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

Shear concluded by going to a partisan Democratic water-carrier for political wisdom.

Mike McCurry, a former press secretary for President Bill Clinton, said neither side seems able to control the pace or intensity of the back-and-forth.


“I remember feigning outrage myself on some days,” said Mr. McCurry. “But not at this level. They just seem to be pounding each other.”