Romney drives a truck through Obama's 'build that' remark
July 19th, 2012
05:07 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney drives a truck through Obama's 'build that' remark

Boston, Massachusetts (CNN) - His presidential campaign chose a truck repair shop for Mitt Romney to once again slam President Barack Obama for his "you didn't build that" remark about business.

"It wasn't a gaffe. It was instead his ideology," Romney said, referring to a recent speech by the president in which he stated, "If you've got a business – you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

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The White House hopeful has spent the last three days railing on the president for those remarks, made last Friday in Roanoke, Virginia. Thursday morning, the Romney campaign released a web video called "These Hands" about an owner in charge of a family business who challenges Obama's claim that his family did not build their business on their own.

The dueling presidential candidates and their campaigns dispute each other's interpretation. To drive home their point, Obama's re-election team released a rebuttal video with more lines from the president's speech to provide context to nuggets Republicans keep repeating.

In his July 13 remarks Obama said: "If you are 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."

That didn't stop Romney from building on the narrative that Obama is "out of touch" with small businesses. He reiterated that message when he visited a family-owned business in the neighborhood of Roxbury just a few miles away from campaign headquarters.

"The president does in fact believe that people who build enterprises like this really aren't responsible for it, but in fact a collective success of the whole society that somehow builds enterprises like this," Romney said, with employees of Middlesex Truck & Coach standing behind him. "In my view, we have to celebrate people who start enterprises and employ other people."

The company's owner, Brian Maloney, chimed in.

"I take umbrage at the suggestion that people don't start and build businesses," Maloney said with his son Brian next to him. "I started out with 500 bucks and worked with my hands to afford grad school at night. My wife supported me. Started a little body shop and was able to bring together people, one at a time. A lot of them are still right here behind me."

The 69-year-old added, "We don't need any more of government's help. We haven't had any. We've only had pain. It's overbearing."

At least 20 protesters greeted Romney outside the repair shop, holding signs that called for the White House hopeful to release more of his income tax returns. During a tour of the facility he mentioned the opposing group and said there are teams in politics quipping "we bother each other."


Filed under: 2012 • Massachusetts • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. ernesto

    OBAMA: 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.

    The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires. "

    July 19, 2012 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. dontbow

    Yes according to obama he himself built it because he gave out such huge sums of cash in the stimulous and recovery act. dumocrats will forever follow obamya and his stupid ways.

    July 19, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  3. T'sah From Virginia

    ►Jeff in Virginia
    How dumb does Romney think the American people are? Anybody who read what Obama actually said knows that Romney is lying, simple as that.◄

    The problem with that Jeff is the fact that some people don't read
    The crowd Romney appeals to – dumb – ignorant and a special breed!

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    July 19, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. JW in JH

    What a load. Mitt's egregiously taking it out of context, he knows he's taking out of context, and CNN knows it, as does anyone with frontal lobes, but they're acting like it's some kind of one side says this, one side says that "controversy." This is really all he's got? He's seeking the highest office in the land but he spends three days rebutting something he knows Obama never really said? I'm starting to miss Bush; even he wasn't that pathetic.

    July 19, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. albert

    All that is missing from the caption photo is Mitt playing "Deliverance" on the banjo. What a scary bunch of hillbillies.

    July 19, 2012 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  6. albert

    Mitt Romney has brought further shame to Mormons. They should excommunicate this liar. unless of course that is what the book of Mormon teaches...

    July 19, 2012 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  7. Bill from GA

    As Romney complains about Obama saying the Government has to be involved, can mitts explain why it is ok for him ( mitts ) to tell hoe he is going to make it so much better for business when elected. Either government makes a difference or it doesn't.

    I guess repugs don't really expect their candidate to make sense.

    And then there is also the way mitts edits Obama's words from their true meaning.
    Real class act!, mitts. NOT!!!

    July 19, 2012 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  8. anthony78

    Show us the TAX FORMS you tax dodger...

    July 19, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  9. Puma Girl

    I suppose all us business people should thank the Government for our success...never mind that we paid for use of everything we ever used in our life, with the money we made – except for the air that we breathe.
    Lets stop splitting hairs...

    WHERE ARE THE JOBS? WHERE IS THE HOPE? The only change is the two quarters in my pocket. 4 years and nothing much to show for it.

    July 19, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  10. AJ

    Mitt is trying to hard to be normal and this should tell you how out of touch he is. We're still waiting for the tax returns and need more details on the accounts overseas.

    July 19, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  11. Puma Girl

    Since we the tax payers (52% of us) pay taxes, we helped pay for all the roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Does that mean we own it or perhaps have a hand in building it, since we helped pay for it ? It sounds like Obama's reasoning.

    July 19, 2012 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  12. Marty, FL

    Romney's ideology appears to purposely take words out of context again.

    Anyone with a sense of decency understands to listen to the whole statement to see that is not what the president meant, and Romney knows it.

    July 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. Bill from GA

    is it somehow a fluke of geography that this piece of land north of Mexico somehow creates so many successful people and businesses??

    It's NOT the government ( That sounds really un-patriotic to me, ) It's just this LOCATION!!!

    How dare anyone think the Government made a difference in ANYONE'S success!!!

    July 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. cyclonus11

    "That" is referencing the infrastructure he mentioned earlier in his statement. This is not a hard thing to understand.

    July 19, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. Puma Girl

    I don't understand why Obama had to split hairs that sucessful businesses are not really their success. Why is he constantly belittling successful businesses or any business. Constantly putting businesses in their "place" . Where would we be if our business were not successful. A lot of you guys would be working for the Gov'ment...
    Oh, I forget, that's what the Dem's want. Dependency on the Gov'ment so the Gov'ment can recall all the goodwill that was handed out..

    July 19, 2012 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  16. Bill from GA

    Hey, John Kelly, you ask why mitts didn't join the military.
    He was in Paris doing 'missionary work' to their non-believing CHRISTIANS!

    July 19, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  17. Andrew

    What came first the chicken or the egg? I ask this question to you liberal fools out there with all your touted educational superiority. Could government survive without revenue from Commerce aka business? No, of course not. However, could business survive without government? Yes. So all you bumbling fools who think Government creates, please go home to your moms basement and have another conversation with yourself.

    July 19, 2012 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  18. Willard-The king for "of-shoring"

    "Voice of reason", how stupid can you be? Did Robme or any of his 5 sons serve in the military?

    July 19, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  19. suzan

    gypsyalso: who paid you to make those remarks? probably dems because they can only hire such buffoons. The plumbers did not help him, they got paid. And they were probably small busines owners too, and all the government union folks, they stink

    July 19, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. Focsle

    Government is a service – both Republicans and Democrats have eroded the understanding of what the role of government was defined to fill. Instead of a service – which was the founding understanding of the role of government – it has turned into a 'sector'.
    It is a service, as in subservient to the people on which this government was founded. Government's role is not to build bridges or roads, or even the internet; it is to build these things in service to the taxpayer – those people who either through employment or as business owners pay those taxes.
    Obama's statement – even within the full context of what he said – misses entirely the point of a government of the people, by the people and for the people. It is not that the People should be beholden to government (as Obama, Sen. Murray, et al) suggest. It's not even that government should be on equal footing with the People, as Obama explicitly states with his message. The founding and continuing principle of our government is that it should be a Servant to the People – wholly dedicated to our will in our pursuit of happiness and prosperity. The People pay taxes so that teachers can provide a service – namely to teach our children. The People pay taxes so that roads can be built and firefighters and police provide protection as a Service to us, the People. All of these public servants serve us at our discretion through the collection of taxes. If they forget that, or actively seek to overthrow that understanding of the role of government, then we end up exactly at the stage that necessitated the founding of this country.
    Should voters again choose Obama, understand by the words he has spoken – be they taken within or out of context – that his goal is to change our principle of government where the People are servants to the government. I hope the People choose wisely.

    July 19, 2012 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  21. Sheridan PA

    Its funny watching the libs squirm because Obama finally slipped up and was honest. Business owner do generally work harder than most other people and they certainly take more risk. When the POTUS outright lies and tries to paint Romney as a felon, that's ok. But when Romney uses Obama's own words against him, the libs get all up in arms. Hilarious.

    July 19, 2012 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  22. The Other Dale

    Um, Mr. Romney, Obama never said it was a gaffe, unlike so many things you've said that you've had to backpedal on in the past few weeks. And replaying the "somebody else helped make that happen" bit merely reinforces what Obama was saying, which is that everyoen works together to make our businesses a reality. You're basically campaigning FOR Obama at this point, Romney. Perhaps you need to take a step back and rethink what you're doing here.

    July 19, 2012 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  23. Lisa P

    You know, it suddenly occurs to me that Romney supporters like this Maloney character like to think they are big fish, but that's only because they have no idea of the size of the pond they're in, and they very much don't want to think about it. They're in denial. Set loose, Romney and his major donors would eat this guy and his business alive without a burp, or a second thought. The pond is huge, and the megasharks are out looking for snacks.

    July 19, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  24. g

    is this guy romney for real-what a joke–

    July 19, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  25. Lobo

    If the government kept the roads fixed the trucks would not break and more peeps could have jobs fixing the roads

    July 19, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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