Romney: Obama trying to change 'the nature of America'
July 17th, 2012
03:29 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney: Obama trying to change 'the nature of America'

Irwin, Pennsylvania (CNN) - Mitt Romney repeatedly seemed to question whether President Barack Obama believed in the American dream in an energetic campaign speech Tuesday, calling his rival's approach to leadership "foreign" and accusing him of trying to change "the nature of America."

"President Obama attacks success and therefore under President Obama we have less success, and I will change that," Romney told more than 1,000 cheering supporters at an oil and gas services company in suburban Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, after the president told a Virginia audience Friday that all Americans benefit from government investment in infrastructure and education.

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Breaking a hiatus of several days without a public campaign event, Romney attacked his rival for what he called Obama's wish to attack individual success and give government credit for the accomplishments of individual Americans.

"It is changing the nature of America, changing the nature of what Democrats have fought for and Republicans have fought for," Romney said, adding: "celebrating success instead of attacking it and denigrating it makes America strong."

"That's the right course for this country," Romney continued. "His course is extraordinarily foreign."

At a campaign event last week, Obama emphasized the role of government in the success of American industry.

"If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own," Obama told supporters in Roanoke during a rainstorm Friday. "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."

Romney took exception to Obama's words Tuesday.

"It's not like government just provides those to all of us and we say 'oh, thank you government for doing those things,'" Romney said. "We benefit from them and we appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices that are done by people who work in government. But they did not build this business."

An Obama campaign spokeswoman accused Romney of misrepresenting the president's words.

"As President Obama said the other day, those who start businesses succeed because of their individual initiative – their drive, hard work, and creativity," said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith. "But there are critical actions we must take to support businesses and encourage new ones – that means we need the best infrastructure, a good education system, and affordable, domestic sources of clean energy. Those are investments we make not as individuals, but as Americans, and our nation benefits from them. Apparently Mitt Romney disagrees."

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • Pennsylvania • President Obama
soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. 4merRepubCT

    Romney is clearly suffering from Bain Strain. Obama celebrates all of American success, from the stay at home Mom to the small businessperson to the multinational conglomerate. He celebrates our freedom to choose and respects the choices that people make...even if that 'dooms' us to middle class status. The president is right, no one succeeds in a vacuum. What is Romney's problem? If anything is "foreign" from the voters, it's Romney's reality.

    July 17, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. Romney Outsource America Jobs

    Romney relieve them 12 year of taxes then you can talk about president Obama. Romney you the biggest liar
    in politics. We are finding the true side of Romney dirt.

    July 17, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  3. Charlotte

    @Kim Jong, you tried to joke but you told the truth. Obama is certainly more godlike than Mitty. In that he actually cares that other people besides wannabe plutocrats actually have a fair shot at a decent life. But your brilliance notwithstanding, if you think anyone has been successful all on his own, you are clearly not among those who are, in fact, successful – or you'd know how dependent that success is on infrastructure, security (i.e. police and military), cyberinfrastructure, telecommunications, trash collection, neighborhood cooperation, public schools (or did your private governess teach you to read and type?) and so forth. People who like to pretend they did it completely alone are either stupid, liars, or so ghastly inferior and insecure that they have to pretend they aren't part of a society that helped them.

    July 17, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  4. J

    The GOP is not blowing dog whistles, their sounding off sirens with the urgent message of all hands on deck!

    July 17, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. The Shepard

    Yup, this President believes that the government owns you and you owe them and his followers get a free ride on the taxpayers dime. Forget hard work – very unamerican. He's in way over his head and has accomplished nothing but DEBT.

    July 17, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    "The more I hear from Romney and his surrogates, the more I am convinced that America will be turned into a
    playground for the greedy"

    It already is. They just want to push us off the swings and forcefeed us the sandbox sand now.

    July 17, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |

    Trying to brand the President Obama as "foreign" worked so well in 2008, didn't it?

    The GOP should have gone with Huntsman. All I detect from the Romney campaign is desperation. B-O-R-I-N-G. Romney is not a game changer. He was picked simply because he is filthy rich and meets the hue qualifications.

    July 17, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  8. Lisa P

    Mitt should ask himself how much those U.S. dollars he's got socked away in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands would be worth if the U.S. government fails. Then I think he would understand what President Obama is talking about. Without the social, economic and legal infrastructure that we Americans have built over the last four centuries, and continue, so far, to maintain, Mitt Romney owns nothing but what he can carry and defend. I'll never understand why he and his supporters think it would be a good idea to tear all that down.

    July 17, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Mike from Calgary

    Romney appears to suffer from ADHD. And the Republicans want HIM to be Commander-in Chief!



    July 17, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  10. Phil in KC

    Another Republican trying to tell us who's "American" and who's not. I guess if they can't make the "birther" thing stick, they'll just accuse him of being unAmerican. I didn't know they get to decide that.
    I'm a Viet Nam Era veteran, a Cold War veteran and a 25 year Boy Scout Leader. I vote and pay taxes. I have 2 direct ancestors who fought in the American Revolution and one who fought in the War of 1812. My dad was a Korean War vet. But I'm also a liberal Democrat. So I suppose Romney and Sununu would tell you I'm not a true American either. Guess that makes me a man without a country.....

    July 17, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  11. Boris of New Jersey

    To all ignorant Obama followers:
    Wake up before this country becomes Union of Soviet Americas.
    If you elect Obama then you deserve what is coming to you.
    Save America – defeat Marxist in WH

    July 17, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |

    Ugh. Can somebody please get him a stylist? This faux "I'm just like you" meme is not working. The "mom pants" have got to go!!!!!

    July 17, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  13. Mike

    For some reason CNN has not covered this story. This is Cut and Paste from, this is what Obama said in his Friday Speech: They know they didn’t - look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something - there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
    If you were 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 point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

    July 17, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  14. ghostriter

    Even when the entire statement is posted, republicans take the Rush edit and run with it.
    Losers.....the lot of ya!

    July 17, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  15. The Real Tom Paine

    Isn'tt it fun watching the aristocrat condescend to act like us? How 18th-century of him! Next thing you know, he'll toss quarters to us out of his limo to make us feel better. Romney has never had to fight for anything in his life, and has never had to go through the struggles his father did. That's what made his father credible, and Mitt never went through that process. If anything, Romney is more of an outsider than Obama ever was.

    July 17, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  16. ghostriter

    Seriously, we heard all this in 2008. However, the last time we heard it, it was coming from the woman that McCain said was better suited for the job than you were Mittsy.

    Imagine losing to the dumbest person this side of Bachmann. Mittsy should hide in shame.

    July 17, 2012 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Bill

    Wow. We can probably put a fork in Romney by August.

    July 17, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Mike

    Ghostriter, typical of a liberal to insult. Can you tell me what is wrong with my post. This is exact words.

    July 17, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. Randy, San Francisco

    Appears that Romney is coordinating his political attacks on President Obama with Rush Limbaugh and Fox news.

    July 17, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Republicans must be beginning to see that their candidate is an idiot.

    July 17, 2012 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Expat American

    Give it a rest, Mitt "Bully and Cower" Romney.

    July 17, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  22. MoninDenver

    The only one "FOREIGN" to us and trying to change "The Nature of America", won't release the last 13 years of tax returns, and continuously lies to us. His name is Mitt Romney...a pathetic little person, with no conscience, a sociopath.


    July 17, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  23. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Save America, vote out the republican domestic terrorists.

    July 17, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. rosaadriana

    If by the nature of America he means to put the screw to the average guy and give to the wealthy, then yes, he is trying to change that.

    July 17, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. Expat American

    How many in the crowd of say, 35 people is a millionaire…and how many will lose their food stamps should Romney in a Benny Hill parallel universe actually get elected?

    July 17, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
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