In a recent campaign-trail speech, President Obama delivered a line that was widely construed as a jab at Mitt Romney. But whether it was a direct jab at Romney was at least arguable until a Fox News host pumped it up with three additional words that Obama never said.
“Somebody gave me an education,” the President said last Wednesday in a Elyria, Ohio speech, discussing equality of opportunity. “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth. Michelle wasn’t. But somebody gave us a chance — just like these folks up here are looking for a chance.”
The “silver spoon” comment in the context of the speech seemed to be a swipe against Romney, whose father George Romney was the top executive of a major car company and a former governor of Michigan. But the President was able to maintain plausible deniability until Steve Doocy of Fox News came along. While interviewing Romney on live TV Thursday, Doocy quoted Obama as saying, “Unlike some people, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth.”
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the remark had nothing to do with Romney. Nor is the phrase new: Obama used the words “silver spoon” in a similar context during a March 2009 speech about the importance of education and opportunity.
A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Special thanks to TPM Reader MT for the tip.)
Sahil Kapur is a congressional reporter for TPM. He previously covered politics and public policy for numerous publications including The Guardian and The Huffington Post. He can be reached at sahil [at] talkingpointsmemo.com.