Report: Subject of Romney commercial received federal help in small business
July 23rd, 2012
05:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Report: Subject of Romney commercial received federal help in small business

(CNN) - A man who starred in a television ad for Mitt Romney's campaign received government help while building his family's small business, despite implying in the commercial that he did so without assistance, according to a report Monday by the Union Leader in New Hampshire.

Jack Gilchrist of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating said in the ad that he and his father created the company.

But the Union Leader reports that in 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority to set up a manufacturing plant and buy new equipment.

In the TV ad released Friday, Gilchrist took issue with a comment President Barack Obama made earlier this month at a campaign stop in Virginia. Making the case that businesses succeed with collective help, Obama said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that."

"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," he said.

However, Romney's campaign and national Republicans seized on Obama's "build that" comment, arguing it represents a philosophy of big government in the Oval Office.

Gilchrist, in the commercial, said it was his family who deserves credit for the developing the business.

"My father's hands didn't build this company? My hands didn't build this company? Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it? It's time we had somebody who believes in us, someone who believes that achievement should be rewarded, not punished," he said.

Gilchrist told the Union Leader that his argument is not "compromised" by the fact that he received the bonds and added that his legal fees for the bonds amounted to $12,000.

"It was a loser and I wish I had never done it," he told the paper. "I bought some equipment with it."

In addition, he said that his company received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan totaling "somewhere south of" $500,000 in the late 1980s, according to the Union Leader.

Responding to story, Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams stood by the ad and pointed back to the president's comment.

"President Obama has demonstrated that he doesn't understand how the economy works and that he doesn't believe in our free market system," said Williams. "The President has denigrated business owners by telling them that they 'didn't build' their own successful companies, arrogantly dismissed the challenges facing our economy by saying the private sector is 'doing fine,' and promoted disastrous policies that have killed jobs."

Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Mitt Romney
soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Steve

    I wonder how it feels to be exposed as a liar on CNN?

    July 24, 2012 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  2. stevetall

    Typical. Another whiney Joe the Plumber-type Republican hick who doesn't even know who helped him get to where he is today.

    July 24, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. Jim

    So a republican shill's arguments is not "compromised" by the facts, eh?

    $800,000 in tax-exempt bonds is doesn't count because of $12,000 in legal fees? yeah, right.

    July 24, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  4. mk1

    This makes total sense. Nobody out there started any business without help from somewhere, often times the government. It may have been their brainchild and idea and they may have been responsible for the physical startup but somewhere they got help through tax breaks or financing. Nobody did it on their own. Republicans who say otherwise are hypocrites, just like this business man and his claim.

    July 24, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  5. Rob

    If the bonds and loans were so insignificant, then why did he take them? I'm a small business owner and a bond or loan of that size is something I would consider enormous. But I guess if you're a wealthy Republican, something south of half a million is just chump change.

    July 24, 2012 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  6. DocHollywood

    He get's $800,000 in tax free bonds and his legal fees for that is $12,000, and he says that is a loser? How did this guy make it in business to begin with? Just another hypocrite, one who criticizes the government and has his hand out at the same time dipping from the public till.

    July 24, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  7. Republican who supports President Obama

    Sorry Jack. It is tile WE run you out of town for being two-faced. You decided to get on camera and withhold information now it is time you face some of the stark realities.

    The GOP must come to terms that they are running on unstable ground. If they worked in good faith with the Obama administration then they would have a record that I can see to base my vote on. Fact is there is NO real record because they said no to everything and did not offer any real solutions or compromises.

    July 24, 2012 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  8. Philavery

    We the people enable we the people! We all built everything!

    July 24, 2012 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  9. Thomas

    Romney , out of touch , out of mind !

    Romney for a better Romney.

    July 24, 2012 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  10. Mtheumer

    So you didn't "Build it'!

    July 24, 2012 01:46 am at 1:46 am |
  11. J.V.Hodgson

    OMG he got an $800,000 loan that cost him $12,000 to get and he bought some equipment with it, one has to assume tha since is business is till going the equipment worked the loan was paid off and he is still in business.
    Then he gets anothr $500,000 small busines loan in the 1980's
    I have two questions for you sir. a) without those two supports from government you hard work or not ( frankly thats a given in any small business... and often equates to longer hours than our " employed colleagues") been there done both. would you still be in business methinks probably not.
    b) if you say no there where other reasons ( not hard work please alone) we would have succeded without the government finacial support. you have to say why. Its hard to succeed in a small business with or without loans/ gov help. In my speciality ther we no loan prgrams or help but yes hard work gives me an abve average income pa while employing several people with good medical and benefits re pensions, which i had to change from defined benefit to defined contribution ( higher retirement age) years ago, and it was not that hard to get my employees to agree.
    This latter is the main issue with city and state government debt matters and costs.

    July 24, 2012 01:57 am at 1:57 am |
  12. Brehon

    Typical Republican hypocrisy and of course, good old fashioned Grand Oil Party "Lyin" " until they get caught with their pants on fire.

    See also corporate welfare beneficiaries Frau Michele Bachmann (R – Minnesota and Citizen of Switzerland); Gove. Sarah Palin (R-Alaska) (At least until the Alaskan Independence Party her husband Todd belongs to achieves its stated goal of getting Alaska to secede from the United Sates. The list of GOPers (including colossal gorger at the public trough John Sununu (R-NH) who told a crowd of GOP Kooks Klowns and Klanners that the President of the United States was "UnAmerican." for suggesting that businesses benefit from the investment all of us as Americans make in our roads, beidges and schools.

    What a bunch of phonies.

    GOP Pest Control Program: "Listening to our lies and hypocrisy is enough to gag a maggot!"

    100% Pure Republican Hypocrisy!(TM)
    "You can smell the Romney in every load!"

    July 24, 2012 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  13. exrepublican

    So eventhough Gilchrist's true history fits with Obama's statement, Romney still says, "we stand behind the ad". And... The president was "wrong". The twisted logic these Romney people use is beyond compare. How he can get away with it over and over is beyond belief!

    July 24, 2012 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
1 2 3 4 5