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. David

    What a silly say nothing hollow comment, lets see your taxes Romney.

    August 22, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    'since the Republicans will no longer have the mission of "Making President Obama a one term President.""

    What don't you understand? The GOP/Teatrolls, if they remain in control of one or even both chambers of Congress, will continue their obstruction, delay, filibuster records, lying, demagoguery, waste of resources and time with symbolic legislation, etc. Their mission is to break the federal gov't in ordert o kill the societal safety net. Once the Civil Rights Act passed, black scould vote, women could vote, and SS ad Medicare were created, half the country or so decided that they'd had enough and wanted out. They didn't feel like losing an outright war like last time so they figured they'd just begin the process of using plutocracy to remove all power from the "unwashed masses" and then enact economic policies entirely designed to (a) redistribute the country's wealth to a very very few chosen families and (b) kill off the federal gov't...well, at least everything except for the military, because a giant military is certainly necessary if you wish to be a corporate imperialist. They will do everything they can to break the gov't so they can say "see, gov't is broken!" and then point at the 8 years they forced us to stay in a recession with their complete and utter BS obstructionist, ideological nonsense and they'll blame Obama....just like they're doing now. It won't stop just because he wins a second term. They'll still be hellbent on ruining his legacy, especially since he's brown.

    August 22, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Pete

    Republicans including Romney hate it when the president hits them with facts,so they respond in kind with lies ha!!Republicans disect the presidents speeches than put the ole republican twist on it,that goes back to well before tv was invented,radio ads from politicians were bad then because you had to take them at face value,there's no Google or politifact to confer to for real facts back then..And Romney just keeps rolling out those lies,doesn't a Mormon high in his church have any religious conscience,that goes for Ryan too the Ayn Rand diciple,an alterboy who believes in an atheist and no government involvement in peoples lives either,that's Ayns philosophy and I wonder how Ryan believing in her and lying gets any sleep at night ,no conscience like Romney..Well I believe in karma and what goes around ,comes around ,you republicans will get yours in the debates,Romneys really great at those if you've been keepin score,challengers in primaries won all but one and they let him by on that one because most of them were gone because of being outspent by Romney,I'm right aren't I!!!See how Biden does when he crashes the republicans convention,wouldn't that be somethin!!!

    August 22, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. TY

    mike Lake Orion Michigan

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

    That is not true but you better watch your step , because if R&R have their way we won;t be able to afford food.....

    August 22, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. eciam

    Yes Romney Hood, "You Build It" in the Cayman Islands!

    August 22, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  6. Etch-A-Sketch Mitt RobMe Hood Out-sourcing-Jobs Outsourcing-his-Money and Outsourcing America


    robme hood – BUILD JOBS IN CHINA & INDIA!!




    August 22, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Sharon

    Mike in Lake Orion

    I am also from Michigan, lost my job in 2010 in a move of jobs from Michigan and NY to the Philippines that started in 2006 (under guess who??) – fortunately, I found another job for 25K a year less but needed the benefits and had to stop drawing down my savings. Too many people I know still cannot find full time employment and are using any and all programs to keep their children fed. If it wasn't for emergency measures Obama initiated, most of them would be on the streets. Wake up – Mitt got his from his Daddy. Too bad my Daddy couldn't do the same for me.

    August 22, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    ok let's see if THIS sticks when we throw it out there. The line about the president being "hateful and devisive" didn't work too well and the welfare lie, even though he's still trying to get that one to stick isn't working too well either. One thing about Romney is he has to have one of the WORST run campaigns I have ever seen.

    August 22, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain: Under the Ryan Plan, Romney Pays 0.87% in taxes

    Mittens is full of ... fill in the blank with your favorite expletive.

    MIttens belongs to the party that wants to regulate the most intimate details of a person's life, while protecting corporations from responsibility for their actions, regardless of the negative consequences.

    The GOP wants to install a theocracy along the lines of Saudi Arabia, with a few families owning and controlling everything and religious police keeping the masses in line.

    You want that, America? If so, then vote for Mittens and the GOP!

    If you want REAL freedom, vote for President Obama and a Democratic majority in the House and Senate!

    August 22, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  10. jerrylax

    your choice is obama's collectivism (marxism) or Romneys capitalism (actually center right, the old democratic party)... collectivism does diminish personal rights, I know that is hard for the mass ignorance on the left to understand but it is true.

    August 22, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  11. Romney's Horse

    My rear end has more freedom than women and gays under the republican mantra.

    August 22, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain: Under the Ryan Plan, Romney Pays 0.87% in taxes

    Grow a pair, Mittens, and show us your tax returns! Until he does that, bless his heart, he is the most cowardly, spineless, POS sell-out to come down the pike in a very long, long time.

    August 22, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Canuck

    "other audience members began to drown out the heckler's noise with chants of "U.S.A.,"

    Good grief – what a bunch of sheep....

    August 22, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. I'm Convinced You're An Idiot

    I guess Romney thinks that if he just keeps repeating the same lie over and over and over that he will convince everyone it is actually true. Romney, you can stop now. I am convinced you are an idiot. I guess that is about all I could expect from a moron who believes Jesus will rule from Missouri in his Second Coming.

    August 22, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    To understand Romney and his billionaire friends platform you must be one of them because it's much deeper than the Middle class or the poor will ever understand. Is it really about "bringing America back to it's greatness" or is it really about "protecting the wealth of the wealthiest", these are questions we must ask ourselves by stepping out of a party identification. If I can't intelligently answer that question, I strongly consider voting Independent because with a Republican Congress this country is in trouble.

    August 22, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  16. gord

    move on nothing to see here-move on

    August 22, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain: Under the Ryan Plan, Romney Pays 0.87% in taxes

    @Sniffs S hits: "If BO had it his way, he would be the matrix and he would use us as batteries."

    If the GOP has its way, it will implement the same GOP economic, military and foreign policies that are PROVEN FAILURES.

    Name me just ONE Repub policy that works .... none of you Repub lackeys ever can because THEY DON'T EXIST!

    You all make me absolutely SICK with your anti-American behavior of obstruction and harm. I come from a military family, with relatives serving and risking their lives for this country, and YOU pieces of S HIT should all be ashamed of yourselves for not only being so dumb that you support the GOP, but that you're proud of it!

    August 22, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. 8.3% unemployment - Over 8% 42 Straight months and the Obama Jobs DEPRESSION continues unabated

    BLKMANinAmerica – Wow the tin man still looking for that brian.
    hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!! tell us about it tin man!!

    August 22, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. ThinkAgain: Under the Ryan Plan, Romney Pays 0.87% in taxes

    If it weren't for all the effort the GOP is putting into voter suppression, I wouldn't give a rat's behind what Mittens and Munster and the rest of the clown car crew have to say.

    But, folks, the GOP is doing everything they can to steal the election. Every Democrat, Independent and thinking Republican MUST get out and vote for President Obama AND Democratic majorities in the House and Senate!

    August 22, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  20. enuff

    Empty words... no meat to anything he says, just generalities... where's your taxes?

    August 22, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: Under the Ryan Plan, Romney Pays 0.87% in taxes

    @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."

    Bingo – you just transcribed the Koch brothers economic plan!

    August 22, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  22. Laura, Boston

    Did you all ask to see Kennedy's, Clintons, Obama's taxes. If I were Romney, I would say I will put up when you show your college degrees.

    How do we know how you got into Harvard, Yale, etc. especially when you have an Aunt living right here in Boston living on Food Stamps (oh wait that is your policy). Tell us did you live with her while going to Harvard (if you did)!

    August 22, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Jan

    I find THE HYPOCRITICAL NOISE the Republicans keep making about FREEDOM insufferable. When President Obama speaks of his planned policies that would benefit and restore a THRIVING ECONOMY AND AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE to the Middle Class, they call that "THE ENDING OF OUR FREEDOMS." Yet this is the party that's FIGHTING TO PUT LAWS IN PLACE TO RESTRICT what we can do in terms of our healthcare. This is the party that WOULD RAISE OUR TAXES, THEREBY LIMITING THE INCOME WHEREBY WE COULD LIVE. This is a party that would DRASTICALLY ELIMINATE ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT JOBS, THEREBY ELIMINATING TEACHERS, POLICEMEN, FIREMEN, ETC. This country was, in part, founded as a place to practice FREEDOM OF RELIGION, yet this party says ONLY OUR RELIGION. All other religions and/or religious people ARE SUSPECT, AND TREATED AS SUCH. THIS IS A PARTY THAT IS SCREAMING FOR POVERTY, LAWLESSNESS, IGNORANCE, AND ABSOLUTE CHAOS, WHILE THEY CONTINUALLY TOOT THE WORD "FREEDOMS". I FEEL THEM ABSOLUTELY MIND BOGGLING!!!!

    August 22, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  24. lolo

    Stop lying flip-flopper. Is this all you have, just to blame President Obama for everything because you do not have a clue about anything but greed? Grow up and show us those tax returns. I can't wait to vote all republicans out. I am so sick and tired of their nonsense.

    August 22, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. Independent

    @ Donkey Party....Yep and that would be the brainless uneducated Democrats!!! LOL

    August 22, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
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