Time's Mark Halperin Defends Obama's 'You Didn't Build That'

Appearing toward the end of Thursday night's MSNBC live coverage of the Republican National Convention, Time magazine's Mark Halperin defended President Barack Obama's infamous "You didn't build that" gaffe, as he portrayed President Obama as attempting to defend himself from false accusations by the GOP.

After host Chris Matthews asserted a bit past 12:35 a.m. that Obama had not really waived work requirements for welfare recipients, Halperin complained:


I thought, in the convention, the one they hit more than welfare, was the "You didn't build it." That thing is just, it just, there's nothing to it, and they hit it over and over. When they say, "In context, it's even worse," no. It's not. In context, it's more clear-

Matthews jumped in: "He praises individual inititative in that same paragraph."

Halperin continued:

He praises individual initiative, and he's talking about infrastructure because we can't build our own roads. So the general issue of, if you do ads over and over, or you do speeches over and over, can you get away with it? Unfortunately, you can.

I think the White House is trying to fight back on that in a way that is not totally defensive, but it is hard because both of them strike at issues the Republicans want to emphasize, tease. One is, say that the President doesn't believe in work, and the other is that the President doesn't believe in the private sector. So part of the reason they're effective -- besides the repetition -- is because they are resonant for some number of people.

Convention Watch Campaign Watch 2012 Presidential MSNBC Video Chris Matthews Mark Halperin Barack Obama

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