ABC: No, Ann Romney didn’t say ‘you people’

posted at 9:21 pm on July 19, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

Audio of an interview with Ann Romney on “Good Morning America” appears to exonerate her from a mini-scandal gleefully flogged by the Left today.

Asked on GMA about the Romneys’ tax returns, Romney replied, as reported by ABC:

“There are so many things that will be open again for more attack,” Ann Romney told ABC’s Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” when asked about releasing tax returns. “And you just want to give more material for more attack. And that’s really — that’s just the answer.”

She added, “And we’ve given all our people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how — you know, how we live our life.”

To some, it sounded like Romney said “And we’ve given all you people need to know and understand about our financial situation and about how — you know, how we live our life.”

As this was bubbling up online, I thought before watching the tape that it was a clumsy construction and one that would lend itself perfectly to the portrayal of the Romneys as out of touch. It didn’t sound in keeping with Ann Romney’s reputation for a good political ear and skill on the trail, but I figured she could have been just a little ticked about this and letting it show, referring to Democrats and the press as “you people” in a moment of pique. That moment was, of course, interpreted gladly as a reference to the American people by political adversaries.

ABC takes up the mini-scandal of the day and delivers its verdict:

Our ruling after reviewing the original audio is that she did not include the “you.”

New York Magazine rules for Ann Romney, too:

Sounds more like “We’ve given all [stumble] people need to know,” if you ask us. The letter y definitely makes an appearance in there, but the word you does not. Maybe Romney was going to say, “We’ve given all you need to know,” and decided at the last moment to replace “you” with “people.”

There is a pause and possibly a consonant in there before “people,” but it’s a stretch to call it “you” (certainly more debatable than this quote). You’d think if she were going to use “you people,” her body language and tone would be more annoyed.

Here’s the video. The sentence comes a little after two minutes:

Ultimately, when a moment is garbled like this, it’s an aural Rorschach. Those who think ill of Ann Romney will believe she said “you people” and those who don’t will give her the benefit of the doubt. The unclear pronoun “that” in Obama’s “you didn’t build that” is another example— those inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt think it refers to “roads” while those who aren’t think “business.” But Obama’s in-context remarks offer plenty of support for his doubters (that’s why the Romney campaign gladly used his remarks in context).

The Ann Romney audio’s damning content pretty much consists of a possibly partially uttered “y.” Liberals are welcome to take issue with her argument on the tax returns, but absent more compelling audio, it’s nice to see the “you people” accusation being debunked by media before it becomes part of political lore.

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