Romney reprises Obama 'build that' criticism
July 23rd, 2012
07:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney reprises Obama 'build that' criticism

Costa Mesa, California (CNN) - After the two presidential candidates engaged in a three-day political détente following a deadly shooting in Colorado, Mitt Romney on Monday reprised his criticism of President Barack Obama for his "you didn't build that" remark about business.

At his only public campaign event during a lucrative fund-raising swing through California, Romney also called out Obama for the time the president spends raising money for his re-election campaign coffers.

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"I guess in the last six months he's done 109 fundraisers. He found time for that. I'd suggest between the fundraisers, get together with the jobs council and learn from people who are working hard to create jobs," Romney said in Costa Mesa.

The presumptive Republican presidential nominee, flanked by 10 small business owners, questioned why Obama has not sought advice from the 26-member group he created in February 2011, which includes business executives and CEOs from global companies such as General Electric and American Express.

"It's like, why won't he meet with his jobs council? These are some of the largest employers in the country. They have perspectives on what it would take for them to hire people, and why it is they decided to build a facility outside the country to doing what you've done, which is to grow in this country," said Romney.

Romney reminded people attending a fundraiser in Irvine earlier in the day about Obama's "build that" comment about businesses, which the GOP candidate turned into a web video and later a television ad that was pulled after the shooting took place at a movie theater outside of Denver early Friday morning.

"He said something extraordinarily revealing, in my view, and you probably heard this: A week ago Friday he said if you have a business, you didn't build it. Someone else did that. Now that someone else, of course, is the government of the country," Romney said of Obama Monday morning.

He added, "Whether you're the person who came up with it or the people who work there and contribute to it you did build it. Government did not build it."

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."

The small business owners did most of the talking during the 45-minute discussion and Romney did not bring up president's "build that" comment, but the message was clear. Above Romney, the eight men and two women was a new campaign sign that read, "We did build it!"

A banker at the meeting said he was supporting Romney because of his experience in government and the private sector, despite the fact that Democrats continually hammer Romney over his corporate career.

"I've supported you because not only do I think you have the business background but also being governor also provides you, I think, a unique perspective, and is something that most of us don't have which is perspective of both sides to really run this country," said Ivo Tjan, chairman & CEO of CommerceWest Bank.

As the group discussed how government regulation and intervention hurts their enterprises, Romney talked about the importance of keeping taxes low for small businesses.

"And so, those dollars in taxation it's not just for going after rich people, it's going after businesses that hire people. And if your priority is jobs you and try to find a way to do, how to keep the tax rates down so that you have more money to hire more people. It's something which I am afraid is hard to communicate to folks but the idea is get the tax rates down so that businesses keep more of their capital and can hire more people."

Obama's campaign repeatedly argues that Romney has taken the president's words about business out of context.

"Mitt Romney continues to criticize President Obama by taking his words completely out of context-all while sitting with small business owners who built their enterprises through their own initiative but with some help along the way," said Lis Smith, campaign spokeswoman. "As CEO of Bain & Co, he even negotiated a $10 million federal bailout to keep the company afloat. Mitt Romney's attacks may be unfair, but his events and own actions actually prove the President's point that while businesses are built through hard work and initiative, we're all in this together."

Filed under: 2012 • California • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (101 Responses)
  1. ge

    mitt makes 56000 dollars a day,the jobs he did not ship overseas makes 56 dollars a day-the jobs he did help ship make 56cents a day,56 reasons not to vote for mitt -any body that hides his taxes running for president is hiding something

    July 23, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. 1twinsfan

    Blah, blah ,blah, Mitt. You've said the same thing yourself about business. You even said it to the athletes at the 2002 Olympics, that their success could be attributed to all who helped them get to SLC. Their parents, their teachers, coaches, etc. Where are your ideas? What are your plans? - How much is a gallon of milk? How much is a gallon of gas? You don't know? Okay, how much is car elevator installation? Ah, finally, an answer.

    July 23, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  3. Mitt LIes

    that's all you need to know . . .

    July 23, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  4. Four and The Door

    In his July 13 remarks Obama said: ...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."
    Not really. The original idea was for government labs to share information with each other. In fact, the world wide web and the browser are inventions of private industry and individuals who took risks and made the government internet into the magnificent revolutionary system that it is today. So the irony is that the government didn't build it. They had help.

    July 23, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  5. Donkey Party

    Regarding President Obama's comment, first, Romney (as usual) distorts and takes the President's words out of context. Second, Romney made nearly the exact same comment as the President, almost verbatim. So, either Willard Romney is crazy, or stupid, or perhaps both. Either way, America should be sick and tired of his blatant lies, and should be demanding he release his tax returns for the last decade, but 2009 in particular.

    July 23, 2012 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  6. Cathy

    What a phoney Romney is! He tells the Olympic athletes "they didn't get their on their own" as part of a broader statement on the help they received from parents, coaches, etc. but then critizes Obama for saying virtually the same thing.

    July 23, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Melo-D

    Really Willard, you sure are getting as much as you can out of that out-of-context statement. Pathetic! Of all the things you could hammer Obama on you pick some two bit out of context statement that he can refute simply by playing the entire statement. Willard you are just out of your league, you're not running against Newt or Santorum anymore.

    July 23, 2012 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |

    Where's your tax returns and disk drives from mass,and the records from the Olympics games that are missing,what a crook that thinks he's smarter than every body else ,Gop train wreck coming ,a vote for romney is a vote for BACHMANN !!!!

    July 23, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  9. Vic of New York

    Do we really need ANOTHER Republican President who lies through his teeth? Come on Romney, is that what Mormon Polygamy has taught you – to say anything but the truth to avoid scrutiny? So where are your taxes?

    July 23, 2012 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  10. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama


    July 23, 2012 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  11. Larry L

    Romney promises health care with all of the bells & whistles but won't tell us how he'll pay for it. He says he'll cut taxes but won't say what he'll cut to offset the loss in revenue. This is like Bush economics all over again – cut and spend!

    July 23, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  12. Logic N LA

    So- name me one successful person that has no education, that did not have to get a business license, insurance pay taxes, had a law in their favor or did not get a driver's license.
    Every person and society has benefitted from government and others.
    Get off your high horses Republicans!

    July 23, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    When will Romney "The Parrot" find his own voice and stop repeating everything Obama says. If I wanted a pet Parrot I'd go to the pet store and buy one, they're cheaper than all the money being spent on Romney to repeat everything Obama says.

    July 23, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  14. sara

    Yea, Willard, we know that Corporations was built by the owners, such as BAIN, and after your business becomes successful, you run to "foreign" countries to evade taxes of your "beloved country", and the workers become "doormats. TAX RETURNS. Still waiting.

    July 23, 2012 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  15. wade

    Obama is just plain everyday stupid who was a good enough snake oil salesman to con everyone om at least most into believing a man with absolutely no qualifications was ready to be President. WOW Americans really are that stupid.

    July 23, 2012 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  16. John the Historian

    I guess Willard has forgotten all the jobs lost at Bain. His state of Massachusetts didn't do very good with him as governor. I hope the planet kolob is doing better.

    July 23, 2012 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. wrm

    "Obama's campaign repeatedly argues that Romney has taken the president's words about business out of context."

    You mean like the speech at the Heritage foundation about making Obama a one term president [as in the primary (read only) goal of the GOP]? Stinks when they do that, doesn't it? But, I guess what's good for the goose...

    July 23, 2012 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  18. george of the jungle

    romney is an ass and this lates speah demonstrates that. Rich out of touch guy who will use the presidency to build up an alrady inftated ego. Forward 2012 Vote the repo party of No out.

    July 23, 2012 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  19. n

    Romney is a big kid, his campaign is so juvenile and baseless.

    July 23, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  20. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Romney will need to pull that ad because he doesn't understand how this country or business was built. Romney wasn't in the business of building, he was in the business of receiving proceeds from companies shipped abroad.

    July 23, 2012 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  21. Bob

    Having built a machine shop from scratch over three years of working two jobs through this recession I am so insulted by Obamas remarks. I can tell you I was alone working late into the night, the government was not there helping me.

    July 23, 2012 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. Credibility

    Romney said the same thing, "We value school teachers, firefighters, people who build roads. So you really couldn't have a business if you didn't have those things."

    It is very easy to search Romney's own words agreeing with the president. Media, please hold these politicians more accountable.

    Romney's hypocrisy is unbelievable.

    July 23, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  23. Jim

    Goverbment is ian mportant part of our society. But this has also been true of my business experience in the last 30 years with rspect to the government:

    1) The governement can spend your tax dollars.easily 10 to 20 times to do the same work that private business do for you.
    2) They are lack of efficiency and not caring.and drown in bureaucracies.
    3) They often do not want to do or avoid their share of responsability.
    4) If you want get their work done, they will regulate you to noe end.
    5) IIf they do not do their work and if you try to don it, even perfectly, they will fine you, punish you.

    So why should I support Obama to sendthe government more tax dollar ?


    July 23, 2012 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. n

    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.

    Let the truth shine and restore sight to the selective blind! What an idiot that Romney is. I'm still laughing at the wasted millions spent on the "You Didn't Built This" ad. $800,000 from Big Government. Again, America, I give to you Romney, the clown.

    July 23, 2012 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  25. TNPatriot

    "I built it..." I'm still waiting for the guy in the commercial, Mr Gilchrist to ADMIT that his company took an $800,000.00 GOVERNMENT LOAN? That sounds like the kind of 'Help' the president was talking about.

    July 23, 2012 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
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