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. BeverlyNC

    Most media outlets have proven Romney lied about what President Obama actually said. He edited President Obama's actual statement to make a false and misleading ad. Why can't Romney run a single ad about he, Romney, stands FOR and what solutions he has to offer the People. Romney can't because he doesn't know what he stands for and he does not represent the People. He is a corporate puppet, a man who never worked to achieve anything that was not for his own benefit, who did not have everything handed to him his entire life. Bain and the Salt Lake City Olympics are not qualifiers for President, especially when they led to corruption, off shore hidden bank accounts to avoid paying owed taxes, and Romney's inability and unwillingess to tell the truth about anything. He is no leader. He is just a profiteer. A President work for ALL the People and represents our interests. Romney has no idea how to represent anyone but himself. He has no skills to lead a nation or be our beacon to the world. I stand with President Obama.

    July 23, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  2. TM

    Willard told Olympic athletes at the Salt Lake City Games that THEY didn't get there on their own. Has he forgotten? Does he not know that we have this thing called video recording?

    July 23, 2012 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  3. Dubfro

    You'd think with all the money Mittens has made shipping jobs over seas and cheating on his taxes he'd be able to afford to whiten those teeth. Yuck

    July 23, 2012 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  4. annie

    I would love to know exactly how Obama's words are being taken "out of context". I keep re-reading his comments, and I can't figure out any other way it should be taken, except for the fact that he believes "you didn't build that". Just another way for Obama to push the class-envy kick he is on.

    July 23, 2012 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  5. Vincent

    Seems like BOTH sides are taking comments out of context and twisting things around for their own use. Both hoping to muddy the waters just enough such that the real facts become diluted and voters base their decisions on half-truths.

    Start the debates already so theyre both forced to make their points, and present their ideas, views, and their vision for the future direction of the nation!

    July 23, 2012 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  6. James Rame

    Flip-Flop Romney wants to play hard-ball.

    July 23, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  7. judith

    Mittens took the President's words completely out of context rather than responding to what Obama actually said. Mittens is such a slimeball and a liar that I don't think he even realizes when he's lying. This is true of all compulsive liars; you can all see it in Mitt's blinking eyes and stammering remarks. He's a pathetic candidate and will lose by a hefty margin, especially when he goes head to head with Obama in the debates. How is he going to explain that he was healthcare until changed his position? Or how he fully supported reproductive choice before he had ti kowtow to the rightwing? Not to mention why he and Ann are so afraid of releasing their tax returns.

    July 23, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  8. T'sah From Virginia

    CNN – TAKE A BREAK!!! Dang! How many stories are you going to print about Romney's "Build It" LIE!!! Jeez! Is Romney the only news in the Ticker????

    Obama 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward!

    July 23, 2012 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  9. ksmary

    Did Mr. Romney check to see if those people who "did build that" did so without the help of government backed bonds and government backed low cost small business loans? Seems like the guy he first used in his ad about building his business on his own used over one million dollars in government backed low cost loans and bonds.

    July 23, 2012 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  10. Planner922

    Well, so much for clean politics! Back to spin, spin, spin, spin! Take words out of context, and then flat out lie because you don't have a plan or proposals of your own to put out there for the voters to look at.
    Raise money from your Billionaire friends in Superpacs and keep their names quiet so nobody knows who you owe, and then slam the other guy for raising money in the open to oppose you.
    Classy Romney, really. NOT! Money doesn't make you the better man.

    July 23, 2012 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. Andrew

    If you read the ENTIRE Obama commentary, it sounds worse than what is written here. just the tone of it alone was insulting. He was creating a straw man to attack as greedy and selfish. .and that straw man was the american entrepreneur. Governmetn is paid for by the people. Romney aknowledged the hard work that many in government do, including teachers etc.. but he said " we paid for that". It was a stupid speech by Obama and a brilliant speech by Romney. It was Romney's best and this line of attack will serve him well.

    July 23, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  12. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess that Romney isn't aware of finanical policy of the Federal Reserve that everyone looks to and all the mortgages that are backed by federal dollars. Where has he been?

    July 23, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  13. ObamaCares

    What a hypocrite !!!!!!!!!!! He's been raising money for 8 years himself.

    July 23, 2012 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  14. Af

    Mitt Romney don't fool people, every President or elected people spend more in their last time campaigning. Did Georges Bush not campaign at the end of his first term. you will say everything to lie to people including your tax return, your bank account in India, cayman, Mexico, sweetzeland. Tell us about your foreign million

    July 23, 2012 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  15. drake mallard

    Did The Government Bail Out Romney’s Bain Capital?

    Republican Senate nominee Mitt Romney’s rescue of a business consulting firm was achieved in part by convincing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. to forgive roughly $ 10 million of the company’s debts, according to sources close to the deal and federal records obtained by The Boston Globe.The way the company was rescued was with a federal bailout of $10 million. “The rest of us had to absorb the loss … Romney? He and others made $4 million in this deal. … Mitt Romney: Maybe he’s just against government when it helps working men and women. But this flip flopping moderate who also claimed to be progressive was for and against Obama’s wall street bailouts

    The facts of the Bain & Co. turnaround are a little more complicated, but a Boston Globe report from 1994 confirms that Bain saw several million dollars in loans forgiven by the FDIC.

    July 24, 2012 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  16. Ken Margo

    Any one that votes for Romney deserves all the misery that will happen in this country. President Obama is getting his N-igr wake up call. If a white president did what Obama did, This country would would be on a conga line lining up to kiss his butt.

    Killing Bin Laden, not good enough
    Healthcare reform, not good enough
    End war in Iraq, not good enough
    Save auto industry, not good enough
    Save banking industry, not god enough
    Over 25 months of job growth, not good enough
    avoided a depression, not good enough

    I could go on, but it wouldn't be good enough!

    July 24, 2012 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  17. get real

    "Mitt Romney continues to criticize President Obama by taking his words completely out of context"....point to one attack ad by Obama where he has not taken Romney out of context or stated completely false "facts".

    July 24, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  18. snow

    Come on Governor Romney, after all obama is great at fund raising and worse than Jimmy Carter at doing his real job.

    July 24, 2012 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  19. henry

    I honestly love how moronic people are in this country. You want to Hire some that can't even make a better video then a 5th grader on a P.C. commercial. And this is the least of the issues. Flip flop up down no clue what a clown epic bain damage.

    July 24, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  20. Omni

    "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."

    Wow! And he banned assault weapons, passed romneycare, was for a woman's right to choose, all while charging companies $10 million a pop, to help them out, Ha!

    July 24, 2012 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  21. HomeSweetHome

    This is the problem with businesses in this country.

    They think they are the ones that made the business successful. Yes, they may have had the idea or vision if you want to call it that. But the backing came from the Banks and that money came from the people, the materials to create the produce came from other businesses, the workers they hire put the product together. The roads and bridges that they drive on were created by tax payer dollars. The tax subsides the businesses used came from the American Tax Payer. It is a cycle that made all of this possible. Not just one person.

    Companies and Corporations today have no loyalty to the people that helped them to become successful. They treat the American People and this Country like necessary evils that only takes money out of their pockets and not like the ingredients that allowed them to be successful and put that money in their pockets.

    It is this Romney Corporate Raider thinking that got this Country into this mess and it is what will keep Romney out of the White House.

    July 24, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  22. CNNguest001

    He knows without a doubt that the President didn't say that. It's very clear that the President was referring to the fact that business' don't build the roads and bridges and the general American system that subsidizes a business' ability to take off and thrive here. These were actually very pro-American sentiments. It's sad to see him stoop to this level of pretending (lying) about what our President meant with a grin on his face. Even making a banner!?! What a joke this clown is. This Romney guy is a pathological liar and keeps proving over and over that he is not fit to be president.

    July 24, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  23. karenjay

    The small business owners I know say that the government did not help, but made it difficult to thrive. Open a restaurant and see how many government loop-holes you have to jump through and how many fees you have to pay-and when you finally get going, how high your taxes are. Obama seems to think that government builds business instead of the other way around.

    July 24, 2012 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  24. sm houston

    who still listens to the biggest liar ever. after helping build communist china's economy with money and jobs, maybe he should be called a communist (that's worst than a socialist). he's pure evil and his faith is fake..he can only fool those that want to be fooled, because of their hatred for the president, period.

    July 24, 2012 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  25. Thomas

    Mitt Romney is like a guy still in the 1950s running for office in todays world.

    He is very out of touch with reality .

    Romney / GW Bush
    Leave it to Beaver

    July 24, 2012 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
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