Extended 1998 Video Discredits Right-Wing Media's Portrayal Of Obama As A Socialist

NBC News has obtained an extended version of a 1998 video in which President Obama discusses government's role in creating a society where everyone has a fair chance at success. In the longer version, Obama speaks positively about competition and the marketplace -- which further dismantles the right-wing media's suggestion that the video is evidence that Obama is a socialist.

On September 18, the Drudge Report linked to a YouTube video of Obama speaking at an October 1998 conference at Loyola University in Chicago. Drudge used the headline “I actually believe in redistribution” under a picture of Obama, which right-wing bloggers seized on to label Obama “America's Socialist in Chief.”

Even that is a cropped version of what Obama said. The end of his sentence was, “at least at a certain level to make sure that everybody's got a shot.”

But the extended video obtained by NBC News completely debunks the idea that Obama was in any way expressing opposition to capitalism. His next sentence is, “How do we pool resources at the same time as we decentralize delivery systems in ways that both foster competition, can work in the marketplace, and can foster innovation at the local level and can be tailored to particular communities.”

A review of the original YouTube clip makes it clear that Obama was actually talking about the role of government in providing services, but also criticizing ineffective forms of government. For instance, Obama says in the audio, "[W]e do have to be innovative in thinking, what are the delivery systems that are actually effective and meet people where they live?"

He was talking broadly about pooling resources to make sure that everybody has a fair shot at success.

Click here for a full transcript of what Obama said in the original YouTube video.