Romney: Obama wants to 'substitute' freedom
August 22nd, 2012
03:20 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney: Obama wants to 'substitute' freedom

(CNN) - Mitt Romney continued to hammer President Barack Obama over the president's controversial remark about business owners, arguing Wednesday that the president's administration has been chipping away at economic freedoms.

"It is free men and women that drive our economy. Freedom is what makes America work. And President Obama, bless his heart, has tried to substitute government for free people–and it has not worked, and it will never work," Romney said at LeClaire Manufacturing in Bettendorf, Iowa.

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During his remarks, a small group of business owners stood behind Romney on stage–all wearing shirts with large, white font that read: "Government didn't build my business, I did. Built by us."

Romney's campaign has not let down in its offensive against the president for his July 13 remarks in Roanoke, Virginia, in which Obama argued successful people had help along the way from their communities.

"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," Obama said.

Team Romney and other top Republicans have focused on the "you didn't build that" line, saying it was not a gaffe, but a symbol of the president's overall philosophy about the role of government.

The presumptive GOP nominee insisted Wednesday the president was too eager to replace personal freedoms with bureaucracy, though he did not elaborate on which freedoms the Obama administration had infringed upon.

"One out of six people (have) fallen into poverty under this president. The gap between the rich and the poor has gotten larger under this president," Romney said. "His policies of substituting government for free people have not worked. We will return freedom and get America growing again."

His points were part a larger theme, highlighting the difference one person can make. To make his case, Romney pointed to people he found inspiring–including Rosa Parks, Lech Walesa, and his sister–and told a story about an unnamed woman who called Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceau┼čescu a "liar" at a speech, sparking thousands to follow suit and chant the same word at the ruler.

Romney was then interrupted by a heckler in his own speech, who shouted out that he wanted to ask the candidate a question. As other audience members began to drown out the heckler's noise with chants of "U.S.A.," Romney paused to address the disturbance.

"You know there's always an occasion to ask me questions and I'm happy to answer those questions but only when we come to answer and question time," Romney said. "If that gentleman wants to wait outside to ask me a question I'll be happy answer it."

The campaign later said Romney did not meet with the individual, because the questioner left the property after local law enforcement escorted him out, according to pool reports.

Romney's statements Wednesday further piled on to similar arguments that his running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, made earlier in the day in Roanoke, the same city where Obama made his original comment last month.

The Obama campaign has repeatedly fought back, saying Team Romney was taking the president's words out of context. They point to the more than 4.5 million jobs created in the last 29 months as evidence of the president's support for small business. Responding to the attacks Wednesday, the Obama campaign argued a Romney administration would be detrimental to the economy.

"Mitt Romney today said that a Romney-Ryan White House would make America stronger, but we know that's not true. Romney would increase health care costs for all Americans by repealing the savings in Medicare and turning Medicare into a voucher system, he would raise taxes on the average middle class family with kids by $2,000 a year to pay for tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, and even independent economists have said his policies wouldn't create a single job and could actually push us back into recession," Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. "This isn't a recipe for strength; it's the same failed formula that crashed the economy and devastated the middle class in the first place."

Filed under: 2012 • Economy • Iowa • Mitt Romney
soundoff (108 Responses)
  1. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    If Obama had it his way we'd all be on food stamps!

    August 22, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. Ex-GOP Con

    "We DID build it!"?????

    NO! YOU didn't Romney and Ryan. YOU shipped everything overseas. I build "it". My successes are due to my hard work and accomplishments. Stop giving your self credit for something I did!

    August 22, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Mikey

    I guess if you're Mitt Romney, you just make stuff up. He's probably been getting away with it his whole life. The conservatives will lap this BS up. I don't think it works with moderates, but who knows. Much of what he says is senseless dribble with no specific plans to fix anything.

    You just say he's taking away your freedom. I can't think of one freedom I've lost under President Obama. Perhaps it's that "he's going to take away your freedom". Like that idiot who runs the NRA, who actually said that the reason we know he's going to try to take away your guns is because he hasn't done anything to take away your guns." Huh?????? ...and I paraphrased, but he really actually said that. It's a double secret conspiracy. You got to love those right wingers. God bless their little hearts. Not real bright, but God bless them.

    August 22, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. Sniffit

    "If Obama had it his way we'd all be on food stamps!"


    August 22, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  5. v_mag

    These poor Repugs have to keep that death grip on the lies they tell, because they have nothing else. Notice the sign in the background above? A totally discredited "out of context" quote that they've mangled into a right wing slogan, and they put it up like a big sign that they're really proud of it. Well, if you have nothing to offer but more years of George W. Bush/Mitt Romney, I guess that's what you'd do.

    August 22, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  6. Bill

    Romnety becomes more laughable and ridiculous every day.

    August 22, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  7. Critical Thinking

    I truly believe that the President meant infrastructure when he said you didn't build that but here is the kicker, our tax dollars did. Too often washington and even ourselves lose site of the fact that They, the politicians, work for us. They are our employees that we pay with our tax dollars. So in essence, WE ALL BUILT THE INFRASTRUCTURE. The government didn't build it, they merely purchased the materials and the labor, nothing more than a paid contractor. But the President went on further to say the successful people think that they are successful because they work hard or are smart, and he comments that he knows a lot people who are smart and work hard. This is the more important part of what he was trying to communicate. I thnk he was saying that only a portion of americans are able to be successful, not because they are hardworking or smarter but because they belong to what he believes is some type of priviledged class. And I beleive he thinks it is the job of government to rectify this unjust outcome. That is the more important item in what he said.

    August 22, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Still not willing to quote Mittens from July 18, 2012 when he used these lies about this out-of-context quote to criticize Obama and THEN TRIED TO MAKE THE SAME POINT OBAMA WAS MAKING AS THOUGH HE OWNED IT?

    Grow a pair. Ignoring that blatant hypocrisy is seriously disgusting. Stop carrying Mittens' water.

    August 22, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Mikey

    @Lake Orion – "If Obama had it his way we'd all be on food stamps!"
    Wow! Thank you for revealing his secret plan... now, go play in the corner.

    August 22, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  10. Wes B.

    How self-centered do you have to be to think you, and ONLY YOU, built your business? No help from employees? No help from teachers that helped your brain develop? No help from family that supported your endeavor? No help from business partners or distributors or outside manufacturers? GOP: The party of ME ME ME!!!

    August 22, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  11. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens, like most right wingnuts, is two slices of white bread short of being a crap sandwich. The Mittens' 'pants on fire campaign' continues.

    August 22, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  12. Linc

    He is the Food Stamp/Welfare President.

    August 22, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  13. bb

    u dumbocraps truly amAze me. if i dont agree with you than im hateful, or a racist or anti-gay or etc.etc. Facts are facts

    August 22, 2012 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  14. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    The new GOP middle class will be the $2 an hour workers. Even China will send jobs to us, because we will be cheaper.

    August 22, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  15. B.

    That whole "We Built it" thing is a bold face lie and everyone know it!

    They completely edited, OUT OF CONTEXT, what Obama said to suite their own Propaganda purposes. Try reading his entire statement -Fools.

    They are dishonest and it will cost them this election. Romney and Ryan is the worst that the Republicans have put forth since Nixon and Bush!

    August 22, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  16. scmom

    "Mike Lake Orion Michigan" at least with your logic you can eat if the President has his way. If Ryan/Romney has their way you will most definitely not and you'll be paying more taxes to boot.

    August 22, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  17. Observer

    Is Romney for real? What nonsense from his campaign and not presidential.

    August 22, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  18. BLKMANinAmerica

    Does this yoyo ever tell the truth? I mean really!

    August 22, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  19. Wes B.

    I read something that compared Romney's thinking to someone that gets waved ahead into traffic, but then doesn't give the friendly "return wave" to the person that let him in because he thinks he merged all on his own.

    August 22, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  20. 1crusader

    It's obvious why no one that has ever run against Romney( including former GOP opponents) likes, nor respects him.He is not honest and truthful.He operates on the margins.Just ABOUT NOTHING SEEMS TO BE BENEATH HIM,.He will repeatedly say things that have been proven false by independent agencies-like this old refrain.I don't care what he may know how to do( and even that is questionable). He does NOT have the character to be president.

    August 22, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Hahahahahahaha

    Well Romney's horse WILL have more freedom than females under the GOP plan. So not everything he said was a lie. Hahahahahahahahaha

    August 22, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. BLKMANinAmerica

    Wow the tin man still looking for that brian.

    August 22, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  23. V

    Bless your heart, Mr. Romney – Because when you meet your maker, you've got a lot of explaining to do. I understand lying is one of the Big Ten (Commandments) and you've been breaking that one throughout this whole campaign.

    August 22, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  24. Babyboomer

    I will be so glad when this election is over and President Obama wins. We have some serious work to do in this country to turn things around. When he wins, maybe, just maybe, Congress can get back to work, since the Republicans will no longer have the mission of "Making President Obama a one term President." Lord, please let November get here as quickly as possible. Obama/Biden 2012.

    August 22, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. Another Ex-Republican

    It is free men and women that drive our economy. What the heck does this mean? The republicans are the ones trying to abolish freedom for women by focusing on social issues instead of the economy.

    August 22, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
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