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. FactChecker

    I heard the ad put out by the Romney campaign about this. Something fascinating: they sliced the middle out of the president's remarks and then glued the 2 ends together as though they had never edited the remarks at all. Why would they do that? If the president truly said what they claim, why did they need to cut and paste his statement like they did? Something very fishy here. When I read the president's remarks in context, it's very clear that he was saying that business owners didn't build the roads, bridges, internet, etc that their businesses rely upon. All Americans did. I wish the Republicans could make their arguments without sleazy editing tactics and outright lies (remember "death panels"?). I don't think I could ever vote for folks who have so little regard for the truth.

    July 24, 2012 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  2. Orwell sees it, again & again

    Bishop Romney built Bain in his image.

    He may not have run the business day to day.

    But the Bain business has his heart, known as corporate culture instilled by its founder.

    July 24, 2012 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  3. Orwell sees it, again & again

    Bishop Romney, what does Ruppert Murdoch say you must do?
    Any news fom kolob?

    July 24, 2012 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  4. Orwell sees it, again & again

    Bishop Romney you have built a profitable parasite.
    Onward, crush the poor and put them in your dog cage on your roof rack.
    Call Newt, he is ready.

    July 24, 2012 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  5. paladin knight

    "you didn't build that"
    Same could be said of Bain Capital. They were known for buying out corporations, then outsourcing all of the jobs, gutting what was left of them and then selling them off to the highest bidder. Romney wasn't much of building anything, just destroying corporations. The only thing he did build was his great wealth by mastering these practices.

    July 24, 2012 03:06 am at 3:06 am |
  6. question

    If you take your child to the beach to build a sand castle, who built the sand castle : (a) your child, (b) the manufacturer of the car you drove to the beach, or (c) the govermenet ? ? ? (I'm betting everyone would say their child built the sand castle.)

    July 24, 2012 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  7. fernace

    Has Romney heard the saying "no man is an island"? Everything we do in life happens thru cooperation! In my Goodwill Job Search Workshop we learned that most employers hire not just from a glowing resume' or fabulous interview, but from recomendations by other employees! I remember Hillary Clinton took some heat for saying "it takes a village" to raise a child! But all of this is truth! I can't remember how many aknowledgement pages I've read from very successful authors or linernotes in CD covers from talented musicians, thanking all who believed in their project! That's how we create community! But Romney is too out of touch w/"community" to understand that concept! Forward-Obama 2012!!

    July 24, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  8. Zechariah14

    Mitt Romney did not cleaned the bathrooms the janitorial staff cleaned bain
    Office the security officers ran 24 hour security roving foot and car patrols building maintenance was maintain by people who went to school for it mitt did not run the mail room or the human resources office mitt was not the cfo coo
    nor lost prevention officer cio nor was he the executive secutary nor was he the cook or chef prepairing the foods mitt you did not build bain or the governorship of Massachusetts you did not build all your luxury vacation Mega homes its just a fact

    July 24, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  9. mccainin4

    Mitt, Mitt, Mitt – Come labor day, you will honor the working man, then spend 364 days telling us we were tools that businessmen use to build their business. I Am Not A Tool – I helped to "Build That". I don't get "Stock Options". I don't have "Golden Parachutes". I will not be paid $23 million just for my signature. What I do get is a history of Attaboys, and keep my job another day. I am part of a team that designs, builds, repairs and sells things, not a tool.

    July 24, 2012 04:53 am at 4:53 am |
  10. damo12345

    If he wants to convince me he's presidential material, a good first step would be to stop taking a sentence out of context to deceive people about his opponent's meaning.

    July 24, 2012 05:01 am at 5:01 am |
  11. oustobamavanjonesobama

    Right out of the marxist manifesto;
    "Share the wealth", "Fair", "Forward", "you didn't build that"!!!!!
    Wake up America!!!!
    Vote comrade obama OUT!!!!

    July 24, 2012 06:22 am at 6:22 am |
  12. Donald in CA

    Ata least Obama is talking about doing something. All romney talk about is what Obama is talking about. Whats your plan dude?

    July 24, 2012 06:27 am at 6:27 am |
  13. Marie MD

    Small businesses need government loans a hole!

    July 24, 2012 06:33 am at 6:33 am |
  14. Building it up

    Just because you had some help doesn't mean that "you" didn't build it. Not at all.

    July 24, 2012 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  15. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    The main thing Romney has built is his wealth and his hyped Olympic success was due to govt intervention -his family values of us first and "you people" don't need to know any of MY private business-just give me your vote because I'm not Obama is NOT going to fly.

    July 24, 2012 07:21 am at 7:21 am |
  16. TomInRochNY

    "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."

    No, Mitt, we're very familiar with this concept. It's called trickle down economics and it doesn't work. Giving money to people who already have money doesn't create jobs. Consumer demand creates jobs. Always has, always will. Find a way of putting more money in our pockets so we can buy things and watch the economy take off.

    July 24, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  17. Michael Murphy

    Mitt the Twit is so hypocritical on everything. He stands up and tells Olympic athletes that they didn't get here alone and that people helped them along the way, Dah!!! Is this guy just so stupid socially as to criticizes the President for saying no one built there business completely on their own and that someplace along the way they had help and then turns right around and say the exact same thing to the athletes at the Games. I am sorry but I think you have to look at this guys history to find out who he is and that tells me he is a bully. He was a bully in school, He was a bully when he protested in favor of the war in Vietnam and then ran to france to get out of it, and he was a bully in business when he came in with his financial clout and brought out companies, raped them , loaded them with loans that he and his friends kept, put so much debt on them they could not survive. Sorry folks this guy is a Coward in every way

    July 24, 2012 07:26 am at 7:26 am |
  18. Rod The True

    Rommey is such a lame person. He cannot talk about fair business when he profited handsomely with the bankruptcy of American jobs!!

    July 24, 2012 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  19. fred doerrie

    It's just plain sad that the Republican base continues to try and hit Obama on the job's issue!! There has been multiple bill's to create millions of jobs; however, can't get past the GOP dominated house... For election purposes Republicans want poor jobs #'s, but @ a cost to the middle / lower class... So, if the GOP can't buy the presidential election, they will continue to drag our economic recovery as they have For yrs... As they are doing now, they will continue to blame Mr. Obama for their failure!!! Government should run as one machine, not trying to build a boat out of truck and airplane parts.. GOP help americam don't keep keeping down!! Fredie

    July 24, 2012 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  20. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Robme lies. What did you build my friend. You destroyed and outsource jobs to make profits. Tax returns please.

    July 24, 2012 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  21. hadeenuff

    I think Obama's record speaks for itself.

    July 24, 2012 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  22. scott IL

    Al Gore invented the internet. Obama organized the south side of Chicago into a model commnity. But they didn't do it by themselves. They had help.

    July 24, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  23. sk madison

    So.... does this mean Gov. Romney built the internet???

    July 24, 2012 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  24. jesse james. take them to street and shoot them like the dogs they are

    Robme give us a clue on your plans for jobs instead of attacking the potus which you will never be. But you realy do not have a clue . Only bla bla bla. Release the tax returns.

    July 24, 2012 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  25. joseph

    Instead of criticizing the guy why don't you actually say something that makes sense instead of pandering to your darn base like the president is doing.

    July 24, 2012 08:02 am at 8:02 am |
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