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. ib1sage

    Romney like all Repugnants twists , squirms and deny the truth. They care nothing about the working class and only care about the money they can hide and spend for their own gratification. Jobs are not the issue for them but Romney and the GOP keep mouthing the words without commitment.
    A vote for Romney is an arrow in the heart of America.

    July 23, 2012 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  2. They ought to change from the elephant to the hippo...

    Just like Olympic athletes, right Mitt? Or vulture capitalists that borrow money, right? Cause they do it all by themselves....

    July 23, 2012 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  3. when your nightmares end WILLARD begins

    Maybe the Obama campaign should have a banner that says " I DO care about the poor" since taking words out of context to boost up your base appear to be the norm this cycle.

    July 23, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |

    At least president Obama isn't a tax cheat like romney the clown and Ann.

    July 23, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  5. Dean

    In all reality, it's the employees who build companies. No matter what grand idea you have, if no-one puts it together,....
    And the "Job Creators" have been sleeping on piles of profits for nearly 3 decades now. Those profits don't make jobs, demand makes jobs. Without demand, there is no reason to hire. When most laborors make less than 40k/year, what can they afford to buy? The conservatives HAVE the economy they've always wanted, unlimited profit and little or no reguard for the real people responsible for those profits.

    July 23, 2012 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  6. atteloc716

    Mitt tha Con
    He is a sad case in honesty and truth, both are 2 virtue's that Americans look for in their leaders....Failure on both!

    July 23, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  7. ronb

    C'mon guys! Stop letting romney play you for fools. IT's one thing when his opponent calls him a liar, but when the prime minister says that romney "mis-quoted" (lied) his words, it's time to start taking a really close look at the man in the mirror and asking whether or not you want romney to represent you. The "you didn't build that" lie is going to go away by this wknd soon as the DNC releases an ad showing romney saying the EXACT SAME THING during the 2000 olympics! Seriously?! I get that you hate Obama, but "anybody" IS NOT BETTER. And, romney fits the bill as anybody. The guy keeps getting caught in his own lies. Momma said that's what happens when you tell so many lies!

    July 23, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  8. JDM

    Please, use Obama's full quote. The first part, before the quoted portion you chose to use here, sets the whole thought up.

    July 23, 2012 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. JDM

    here it is: "There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there."

    July 23, 2012 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  10. normajean @ verizon ,com

    For those who don't keep up with the REAL news....M.Romney is now hacking away at the president for rightly telling the people that they did not do things without help...That they didn't do things all by themselves...It happens that ON TAPE with a a large audience listening,,,,,Romney told Olympic hopefuls EXACTL:Y the same thing when he was working with the Olympic team. "EXACTLY , the same thing...... and now he is ranting on at Obama for saying that most things are accomplished with help.THAT HYPOCRITE has been caught so many times lately blaming some one else for taking a stand that he himself has taken in the past!!... We know he's a "flip-flopper but he's also a liar!

    July 23, 2012 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  11. Columbus

    Gov. Romney long ago sold his soul to be president. He'll say or do anything, and as we have found out, in many instances not say anything in the face of what are blatant wrongs said or done by others in the name of far-right politics [e.g. a woman at one of Romey's stops during the primaries saying President Obama had committed treason, and Romney uttering not a single word to correct her per as John McCain did during 2008 when a woman called then candidate Obama an Arab]. Gov. Romney seems incapable of telling the truth, and regardless of what kind of spin he and his campaign try to put on it, there is no way on this side of heaven or hell that the question of his tax returns for more than two years is going to be acceptable to the American people. Lastly: The media is fond of saying how close this race is; that Romney is tied in certain polls, etc. Here's the problem with that: When you study any number of electoral college maps, Romney has a major league math problem, as any way you look at it, he can't get to the 270 votes needed! So all of his continued garbage that he spews forth to the American public is nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The man can't win, as when the rubber meets the road, the American people are not willing to turn the country over to a man that has never done squat in terms of helping anybody but himself and his investors. Just ask the thousands of people that he cost their jobs.

    July 23, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  12. Skeptic

    California has 7 times the population of Colorado. Shouldn't California have 7 times the number of massacres? But it doesn't. The guns used this week are illegal in California. Seems like there's a disconnect here.

    July 23, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  13. lori

    In the end, roll over like whipped dogs will we all, cannot think for ourselves, way easier for government to do it.....We all know what is right for us and use our governmemt at our convience.....we not want right, we too smart and want what we SWANT.....

    July 23, 2012 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  14. enuff

    I would think that as a small business owner, I'd be PROUD to say I built my business WITH the community, NOT IN SPITE OF. That's the difference in small business vs. corporations. And a dollar donated by the little guy says much more than the millions donated by corporate greed.

    July 23, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  15. Tee Darling

    Mitt Romney the hypocrite!!! He probably forgot the comments he made at the 2002 Olympics Games in Utah. What a loser!!!! Are people really gonna vote for this guy? I really wonder what kind of people will vote for this fake dude!!!

    July 23, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  16. labman57

    File this under "creative license" in the right wing out-of-context paraphrasing and hyperbole generating machine.

    What Obama was saying is that if you own a business, “you didn’t build it on your OWN” and that “somebody else HELPED make it happen”.

    Q: What about a start-up company or small family-run business?

    A: Was there a bank loan involved? Venture capital investment? Borrow money from a friend or family member? If so, then somebody helped you to make it happen.

    This in addition to the use of infrastructure that was partially or totally created with state and federal funding.

    That is what Obama was saying, despite the distortion generator operated by the Romney campaign and its cronies among the “fair and balanced” editorial staff at FOX News.

    July 23, 2012 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  17. Secret squirrel

    This guy used the President's same exact words when he addressed the olympic team members in Salt Lake City. He said the athletes didn't achieve their athletic abilities on their own, he said you had help. He will say anything even with videos of him contradicting himself. Guess what, I guess it is not his turn to quote his wife!

    July 23, 2012 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  18. AaronT3

    Sounds like Willard (Etch-A-Sketch) Romney at it again. First there was RomneyCare he now calls ObamaCares, Now the famous "You didn't build that" line from Willard's 2002 Olympic Opening Ceremony Speech (google it), now has become "Obama" says You didn't build that. We need a time machine to keep up with Willard (Etch-A-Sketch) Romney, but video is working well too =-)

    July 23, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  19. Deb in MT

    This is the same rally where several of the business people were either Federal contractors or defense contractors, right? You know, businesses that made money from GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS!!!!

    Then there's Willard's other self-made poster boy–Gilchrist–who received @$800,000 in tax exempt bonds from NH, and had GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS from the Navy and Coast Guard, and loans from the Small Business Administration and the New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.

    President Obama's whole point–that we succeed from both individual initiative and joint efforts (building infrastructure, educating our future work force, providing business loans, etc) has been intentionally misrepresented by that liar Romney and his campaign.

    July 23, 2012 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
  20. Dee

    Romney knows exactly what the President meant he is not stupid he is feeding this garbage to his base he said the same thing to the Olympic participants when he spoke they have the video. He is such a hypocrit all he does is criticize the President.

    Romney release your tax returns we have to produce ours when asked this is not going away.

    July 23, 2012 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  21. maltytasker

    Romney's a joke. Does anyone really believe that Obama would disrespect business owners by telling them that they didn't build their own businesses when he's trying to get them to vote for him? Does that make any sense at all? Romney knows this and he keeps on lying to the American people. By the way, in 2002 when he was head of the Olympics, he told Olympic athletes “You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power." What? Does that sound familiar?

    July 23, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  22. Reality Check

    Good to know Romney built Bain without George and Lenore Romney, without his Cranbrook, Stanford, and Harvard education, without his experience as a Mormon missionary, and frankly without the help of anyone. A truly self-made man.

    July 23, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  23. SafeJourney

    Ask the guy featured in Mitts commercials if he got government help. He got lots of help from the government.
    Kinda blew that commerical out of the water.

    July 23, 2012 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  24. A not-so-stupid former republican

    Republicans lie and people die!

    July 23, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  25. BADGUY

    Obama CLEARLY said "somebody invested in roads and bridges.If you got a business..somebody else built that (the roads and bridges) didn't build that (the roads and bridges). Somebody else made that happen (the roads and bridges)." NOW Romney and the Republican propaganda machine is twisting what Obama said to what they WISH he had said. NOTHING the Republicans say, NOTHING Romney says... can be believed. They would make Hitler's minister of propaganda blush!

    July 23, 2012 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
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