Romney camp, Republicans continue to hammer on 'build that'
Mitt Romney attends a business roundtable in California on Monday.
July 25th, 2012
08:48 AM ET
2 years ago

Romney camp, Republicans continue to hammer on 'build that'

(CNN) – Even as Mitt Romney heads abroad for a swing through Europe and Israel, his campaign will continue to push the argument back home that President Barack Obama hurts small businesses with a "big-government" policy approach.

Romney's campaign said Wednesday they would hold twenty-four events in battleground states for small business owners to proclaim "we did build this," a rebuke to a comment Obama made two weeks ago in which he argued successful small businesses got that way with the help of governmental support like roads and educators.

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

"If you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," Obama said at a campaign stop in Virginia on July 13. "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."

Bits and pieces of that remark have been used for weeks, both by Romney's campaign in television ads and by the Republican National Committee, which launched an offensive linking the comment to Obama policies they say are anti-business.

Their counterparts at the Democratic National Committee said Tuesday they would respond to the attacks with events in battleground states, which will focus on Romney's own plans for the economy.

"In conjunction with [Obama for America], we're going to turn the page tomorrow on Mitt Romney's trumped up, out of context fact-checked-to-death BS about the President and small business and set the record straight on how Mitt Romney has a horrible record on small business, a failed record on jobs and who is advocating for policies that are great for millionaires, billionaires, big oil and corporate America – but that would devastate small businesses and stifle job growth and small business expansion," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse wrote in a email.

Obama's team released a television spot Tuesday pushing back on the attacks, saying they were taking the president's words out of context.

READ MORE: Obama campaign: New ad takes on 'build that' attacks

The spot features Obama speaking directly to the camera, refuting the wave of criticism following his remarks. The ad, which largely echoes comments made by the president at a campaign stop in Oakland on Monday, highlights his support for small businesses.

"Those ads taking my words about small business out of context; they're flat out wrong," Obama says in the ad. "Of course Americans build their own business. Everyday hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to stand behind them as America always has. By investing in education, training, roads and bridges, research and technology."

The RNC argued Wednesday that even within context, Obama's remarks were damaging to his political prospects. The group released a video using Obama's full comment, claiming "the more context you get, the worse it sounds."

"President Obama thinks his comments are being taken out of context, but the reality is the context makes it worse," RNC chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a statement. "With more context, it is obvious President Obama doesn't understand that businesses succeed because of the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, not the growth and intrusiveness of government. President Obama thinks he can paint over his latest admission, but he can't cover up four years of anti-business actions."

READ MORE: RNC pounds Obama over economic comments, says they 'aren't gaffes'

Mitt Romney, speaking in an interview Monday, made a similar argument.

"I found the speech even more disconcerting than just that particular line. The context is worse than the quote," Romney said on CNBC. "The context, he says, you know, you think you've been successful because you're smart, but he says a lot of people are smart. You think you've been successful because you work hard, a lot of people work hard."

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.


Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. ST

    Being negative makes Romney not be able to pull ahead. There is time to use negatives and there is time when it should not be used at all. Romney campaign is full of shortfalls. Romney is a challenger. To those people who are thinking, can not buy negatives from the challenger who wants to take over the incumbent!

    July 25, 2012 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  2. Tony

    How did Romney build his fortune? Will he let us know the secrets of his success by releasing all of his tax returns? Did Romney receive government help along the way, like the spokesperson in Romney's "we did build this" ad?

    July 25, 2012 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  3. Babyboomer

    This is stupid. Every person with the smallest bit of common sense knows that they couldn't have a successful business in these UNITED STATES without help for the government. Proper roads and bridges, import/export laws, the EPA, the FDA, etc., etc., etc... Stupidest campaign strategy ever...

    July 25, 2012 09:04 am at 9:04 am |
  4. Myviewis

    Okay President Obama, please tell me who build my business so I can send that person/s my bills. Hey, I'm all for government paying my business bills also, I wouldn't mind not paying payroll this week. I just got my business tax and I just paid my sales tax so if I can have someone that build my business pay all that than please let's do it.

    July 25, 2012 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  5. King

    hey mitten you are acting like the CEO that takes all the credit for the success of their business and give none to the little guy that did most of the work to make things happen. I guest that's why you guys are taking your businesses abroad along with american jobs because you feel no one else should get any credit, or a piece of what you create, because their was no roads, bridges, American workers to help you succeed.

    July 25, 2012 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  6. Myviewis

    So according to President Obama this is how his comment should have been said by him? In the 1st paragraph somebody else build my business, I didn't get to have my business by myself, somebody else made it happen and the government made it happen with the roads and bridges?

    In the 2nd paragraph I did build my business according to President Obama, I am sacrificing to pay my payroll, pay the whole bunch of taxes we small business pay throughout the year, work long hours 7 days a week to create ideas to bring in sales, loan money to employees, WE MAKE THE ECONOMY RUN and America needs to stand behind us?

    President Obama is retracting his original comment because he realized he was wrong, luckily President Obama is making everyone realize their comments and his comment of we Americans didn't build our businesses were wrong. At least he recognized his error, thus his 2nd comment. Hopefully people will realize that Government does not produce money, we small businesses produce money which turns into payroll checks, investments, taxes, etc... which makes the economy run.

    His 1st paragraph contradicts his 2nd paragraph: I doubt anybody out there or the government wants to pay all the bills we encure in our small businesses.

    1st Paragraph:"If you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," Obama said at a campaign stop in Virginia on July 13. "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."

    2nd Paragraph:," Obama says in the ad. "Of course Americans build their own business. Everyday hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to stand behind them as America always has. By investing in education, training, roads and bridges, research and technology."

    July 25, 2012 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  7. Bill Fitzgerald

    Team Romney needs to hammer this all the way to the election. This election is about Big Gov. Obama vs. We the people, we build it not you obama.

    July 25, 2012 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  8. Expat American

    Romney needs to give it a rest. His latest 'stance' is pathetic. Furthermore, and small man syndrome Priebus really needs to try to grown a pair because all he's missing is a petticoat.

    July 25, 2012 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  9. Alejandra

    hahaha serves obama right after the lies he's been spreading hahahaha

    July 25, 2012 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The context is that there is no one force (business or person) which can say it started with nothing. There is always something that started before and gave overt or covert support. Obama's examples are teachers teaching the employer various things like how to read or local and state government building roads and other infrastructure to move vehicles, power, information and people around.

    July 25, 2012 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  11. Peace

    Here is the thing why Romney is going to lose come Nov. Borrowing the say: " You didn't built it, someone did it". Romney, you did not build any foundation since the beginning of your campaign, Pres. Obama did it in 2008. That was: "Hope & Change". If one takes a poll now, the majority still believe in this slogan and few do not. Pres. is still standing on that strong foundation, thats why no one sees him falling apart. Politics is a funny game. If one is not aware of how to play it, in the end, he carries along with him a title of being a loser!

    July 25, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. Boisepoet

    So all they got is misquoting, and misinterpreting the President's remarks, and they're using these fabrications to try to sway the low information voter...pitiful.

    July 25, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  13. 1twinsfan

    That's a stupid line of attack for the Romney campaign to use given that the man in their first ad did get substantial government help and also that Romney himself has made several speeches with such language of the group effort, helping out your fellow man, taking a village, etc. He even said it to the 2002 olympic athletes.

    July 25, 2012 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  14. Critical Thinking

    I guess if you are a President who never built a company from the ground up, it must seem impossible to think that anyone else could do it, if you weren't able to do it. I did without the governments help, hard to believe but true. And it's true for millions of others. When we send our hard earned tax dollars to Washington, they are still our dollars. How they are spent to help our businesses and others bussinesses is not the success of the government but the success of theose businesses. President Obama wants us to say Thank You to government? It should be the other way around, he should be saying thank you to us, the business owners, the risk takers, the job providers. The politicians in Washington often lose site as thei President has done with the simple fact; They Work for US.

    It's time; BO MUST GO !

    July 25, 2012 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  15. EDDIE

    This is funny, the small business's at that round table romney is highlighting all got government grants and or contracts to start their business.One received 11 million in government contracts that he said without that his business would have for sure failed. Poor mittens needs to do his research first then insert foot.Bottom line no business no matter how big or small will not hire anyone just because they got a tax break. They hire when they have more customers/business than they can handle. And that can only happen when the middle and lower class are spending on goods and service's.

    July 25, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  16. Bootstomper

    Romney and his gang are pathetic. I look at these guys and I see a loaf of wonder bread.

    July 25, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  17. David in Houston

    Actually, within context it appears the speech makes perfect sense. I fail to see the issue here. Please try again...

    July 25, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. K Travous

    It seems to me that almost everyone is missing the reference here. The sentence prior to "You didn't build that" refers to bridges and roads. I thought the President was saying that business owners did not build the bridges and roads that are used to transport their goods.

    July 25, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. jpmichigan

    The President has no CLUE what it is to have a real job, one where your hands get dirty, sweat falls from your brow. He has climbed on the backs of other to get where he is today. As a community organizer he spewed his rhetoric to get local, state and federal funds for his community to meet their needs. As a Illinois legislator, he got state and federal funds to develop projects to help low income Americans with housing and the such, but he gave to his friends and associates the monies to build low income housing that have been shut down or are in the process of being torn down , due to shabby construction and funds that went in the pockets of associates, then in construction. Doubt me read for your selves in the Chicago papers. Obama philosophy has always been, the government should take care of the poor as well as the weathy, as long as the wealthy are his friends. Look at the amount of stimulus that went over seas to donor related companies, and to compaies here that are donor related. Please vote to sent Obama back to Chicago!!!

    July 25, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Jill

    Mitt knows exactly what President Obama meant - that we all have people who helped us along the way, parents, teachers, mentors, donors, banks, roads, bridges, highways, good schools. Unless you are from another universe, you know this.

    July 25, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. IndeePendant

    Didn't Romney give the same message to Winter Olympians.. Mr. FlipFlopper has memory leak.. it seems.

    July 25, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. n

    Absolutely unbelievable, the republican party is. Where are the grownups? Is this who America want to lead them, a bunch of children? I think not. The republican party takes responsibility for nothing. Everything about this country that brought us to the brink of destruction and economic despair, is a result of their failed policy of greed. The republican party and it's leadership, destroys with one hand and point the blame with the other. The so called small businesses struggles are due to the republican 8 year raid on the middle class and the poor. And now they have the gull, the audacity to seek power on more lies as they continue to distort the truth. America, if you vote for these demons, knowing their true nature, let em have at you.

    July 25, 2012 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Pete

    One of Romneys campaign advertising advisors didn't like being drilled on CNN this morning saying after listening to his stupid,ignorent excuses that this advisor was setting himself up for the big time after this election stint in advertising at Romneys expense,needless to say he was speechless hearing a fact he couldn't refute.How he created or twisted which is more appropriate the famous Obama statement that businesses all needed help,they didn't do it on their own but its so far off base if you actually hear the presidents speech in its entirety its rediculous and pathedic how far someone will change a part of a speech to gain a political edge,but that's the republicans way of politics,keep it dirty and as negetive as you can,its propaganda at its filthiest,but its nothing new is it!!!

    July 25, 2012 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Dave

    Everyone knows that Romney and his lapdogs are taking Obama's comment completely out of context. Of course, Romney and the GOP can't come up with any original ideas and plans, so I don't expect them to come up with original attack lines.

    July 25, 2012 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Mitt Romney made nearly identical remarks in a different context back in 2002 at the Salt Lake Winter Games. He told the athletes that they didn't reach their achievements on their own.

    July 25, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
1 2