Report: Subject of Romney commercial received federal help in small business
July 23rd, 2012
05:45 PM ET
2 years ago

Report: Subject of Romney commercial received federal help in small business

(CNN) – A man who starred in a television ad for Mitt Romney's campaign received government help while building his family's small business, despite implying in the commercial that he did so without assistance, according to a report Monday by the Union Leader in New Hampshire.

Jack Gilchrist of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating said in the ad that he and his father created the company.

But the Union Leader reports that in 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority to set up a manufacturing plant and buy new equipment.

In the TV ad released Friday, Gilchrist took issue with a comment President Barack Obama made earlier this month at a campaign stop in Virginia. Making the case that businesses succeed with collective help, Obama said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that."

"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," he said.

However, Romney's campaign and national Republicans seized on Obama's "build that" comment, arguing it represents a philosophy of big government in the Oval Office.

Gilchrist, in the commercial, said it was his family who deserves credit for the developing the business.

"My father's hands didn't build this company? My hands didn't build this company? Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it? It's time we had somebody who believes in us, someone who believes that achievement should be rewarded, not punished," he said.

Gilchrist told the Union Leader that his argument is not "compromised" by the fact that he received the bonds and added that his legal fees for the bonds amounted to $12,000.

"It was a loser and I wish I had never done it," he told the paper. "I bought some equipment with it."

In addition, he said that his company received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan totaling "somewhere south of" $500,000 in the late 1980s, according to the Union Leader.

Responding to story, Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams stood by the ad and pointed back to the president's comment.

"President Obama has demonstrated that he doesn't understand how the economy works and that he doesn't believe in our free market system," said Williams. "The President has denigrated business owners by telling them that they 'didn't build' their own successful companies, arrogantly dismissed the challenges facing our economy by saying the private sector is 'doing fine,' and promoted disastrous policies that have killed jobs."


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Mitt Romney
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Are you kidding me?

    More mistruths by my party to in an attempt to get votes. Frankly, he should now take to the air and state that HE did not disclose this fact and why.

    July 23, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. BBear1

    So the initial $800,000 got supplement by a $500,000 SBA loan. Mr. Gilchrist has a strange definition of "his hands" when it comes to taking credit for his company's success. This is precisely what Mr. Obama was talking about. I've grown quite weary of Mr. Romney's lies and hypocrisy.

    July 23, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  3. Steve, New York City

    All I ever hear Romney discuss is how much he hates Obama. Does he actually have a plan for the economy? How much does his plan differ from Bush '43s, and how does his policy now differ, vs. when he was Mass Governor (and used to be pro gun-control)?

    Thanks to the Supreme Court's lousy 2010 decision, the money flowing through politics is now totally out of control. Rich lobbyists run everything. What a joke!

    July 23, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  4. WatchDawg

    LOL...Palin had Joe the Plumber...Mitts has Jack the Liar...goes hand in hand with Mitts whole campaign...lol

    July 23, 2012 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  5. CBR

    Owners did build their businesses and worked hard to do so. People do realize that and know that it is hard to get going. If you read the whole statement by President Obama you will realize that one line was taken out of context and used by the Republicans.

    Let;s be fair. Many businesses got start-up loan. Some got government help. What is the issue here? The gentleman from NH seems to think that it is a bad idea even though his father received help. Let's find the real issues and debate them. All of these attack ads should be taken off the air and the candidates should have an opportunity to say what they mean and let us base our votes on that. The PACs should put their money into something that helps the country and not be a shield for the donations of unidentified, wealthy Americans. How is that patriotic?

    July 23, 2012 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  6. CanadaONE

    Canadian Press

    Bain lost out today in a MAJOR international deal TODAY – China out bid them

    OUCH the mitt boys will have to try and recovcer

    July 23, 2012 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. nitro

    Someone correct if im wrong but does this sound just like that Joe the Plumber crap from 4 years ago. The republican no mater who it is seems to always put their foot in their mouth when it comes to trying to make someone else look bad. They should stick to what got them here. Lying, cheating, stealing thats about the size of it.

    July 23, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  8. s.positive

    So sad romney couldn't vet this guy. Well, you have at least vindicated President Obama's POINT.

    July 23, 2012 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  9. California Gary

    Oh oh........a few of the chickens are returning to the roost. This is what happens when you put out a blatantly false ad and someone starts digging into it. Of course he had help along the way. He wasn't born into privilege like the Romney's of the world. He never should have let the Romney people hoodwink him into doing that ad. Where would this man be without the help he received from his Uncle Sam?

    July 23, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  10. Sam Stein from LITCHENSTEIN

    Lying GOP phony,.. Joe the Plumber all over again.

    July 23, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  11. Greg

    Oooops, nevermind. Pardon me while I look really silly for stating something to support an argument that in the first case is a response to a complete distortion and in the second isn't true to begin with.

    July 23, 2012 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. rs

    Whoops! Egg on Mr. Romney's face- Again!

    Anyone else concerned about Mr. Romney's little screw-ups, gaffs and lies? It will be like Mr. G.W. Bush all over again if he is elected.

    July 23, 2012 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  13. Ron

    Mr. Gilchrist, I would like the money back with interest. 29% just like many banks charge.

    July 23, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Rawmoney, 2012

    So what? Not that anyone on the GOP side actually cares about facts. They'll just keep running the ad without pause. "Business" as usual.

    July 23, 2012 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  15. kayla

    oh the hypocrisy

    July 23, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. John the Historian

    Willard is such a joke. Are all mormon cult followers so fake and naive. Do they think we can believe anything this one percenter tells us. Willard needs to apologize for assaulting his gay classmate in high school. I wonder if the planet kolob will take him when he loses.

    July 23, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. J

    "Through hard work and a little bit of luck along with some government welfare, we built this business."

    July 23, 2012 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  18. 2020

    When enterpreneur receives assistance from government body, they think they deserve it, they are the one helping the government to create job. they are king, in short.

    Unfortunately, the truth comes out the other end. Again, Romney who is the one take full advantage of every single loople in the tax and business code know better. Yet, he falsely brag about his SOLE EFFORT led him to millions of profits.

    What a joker!

    July 23, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  19. stars

    dude u got caught lying . poor sap sucker!

    July 23, 2012 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Pander Bear

    Typical Republican, i.e. he's a liar. Just like Not Joe the Non-plumber from 2008.

    July 23, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  21. Irvine, CA Voter

    More lies from the Robbme Blind team. Obama is a sure thing to win. Obama 2012

    July 23, 2012 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  22. Thanks

    Thank you, Romney campaign, for proving exactly what President Obama said. I'd say $800,000 in tax-exampt revenue bonds and a US SBA loan for approximately $500,000 qualifies this company as being helped by others and qualifies the Romney campaign as one needing help too. The Romney campaign does not come anywhere near measuring up to their opponents, and they consistently prove it on a week-to-week basis.

    July 23, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  23. Andy

    So he invested in a bad business with the help of the government and his argument is not "compromised". All i got to say is nice.

    July 23, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  24. Bill

    I woould expect nothing less from greaseball Romney.

    July 23, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  25. Andrew

    Jobs are created when the demand for a product equates to revenue and the business requires additional help, employees to perform a job. Tax cuts don't equal jobs, neither does investment.. Without public demand a business has no ground to stand on. People develop ideas which become all forms of businesses but if no one buys the products you fail, the dream ends.. A business owners achievement is interwined with consumer spending.. But if the lower 99% has no money no company is going to have the revenue to reinvest or require employees. It's simple economics..

    July 23, 2012 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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