RNC pounds Obama over economic comments, says they 'aren't gaffes'
July 23rd, 2012
10:07 PM ET
11 years ago

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

(CNN) – The Republican National Committee on Tuesday will launch a new attack campaign against President Barack Obama, targeting the president over his comments on the economy and record of job creation.

Using a web video, "These aren't gaffes," supplemented by a research piece, the RNC will focus on the president's recent "build that" remark and resurrects a comment he made in June in which he said the private sector was "doing fine" compared to the public sector.

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"The more we hear from President Obama about the economy the more we realize that he doesn't understand what it takes to get America working again," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

"President Obama believes that 'the private sector is doing fine' and entrepreneurs are successful because of government efforts, not their individual hard work and sacrifice. It is becoming clearer by the day that these aren't gaffes, this is what President Obama believes."

Both comments used in the RNC web video have sparked considerable debate in the 2012 presidential race. The Obama campaign, however, strongly objected to the way Republicans seized on the remarks, saying the president's comments were taken out of context.

Most recently, Mitt Romney's campaign and supporters zeroed in on a moment on the campaign trail in which Obama told a Virginia crowd: "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," Obama said.

Republicans have argued the comments were insulting to small business owners and represented a view of big government with which they starkly disagree.

The new RNC attack marries the comment with Obama's remark last month about the private sector, which also kicked off a strong wave of pushback from Republicans.

"The truth of the matter is that, as I said, we created 4.3 million jobs over the last two, 27 months, over 800,000 just this year alone. The private sector's doing fine," Obama said at a press conference. "Where we're seeing weaknesses in our economy have to do with state and local government, oftentimes cuts initiated by, you know, governors or mayors who are not getting the kind of help that they have in the past from the federal government and who don't have the same flexibility as the federal government in dealing with fewer revenues coming in."

Later that day, after a firestorm of criticism from many in the GOP, Obama walked back his remarks, saying "it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine."

However, that didn't stop Republicans from criticizing the president for being out of touch with the economic reality of the private sector, and they used the so-called "doing fine" comment in attack ads in the following days.

At the time president's re-election campaign hit back, saying the remark was being used out of context. Team Obama makes the same case this week about the more recent "build that" comment.

"Mitt Romney continues to criticize President Obama by taking his words completely out of context-all while sitting with small business owners who built their enterprises through their own initiative but with some help along the way," Lis Smith, campaign spokeswoman, in a statement on Monday.

She continued: "As CEO of Bain & Co, he even negotiated a $10 million federal bailout to keep the company afloat. Mitt Romney's attacks may be unfair, but his events and own actions actually prove the President's point that while businesses are built through hard work and initiative, we're all in this together."

Along with the Obama comments, the RNC also hits the president in its new video over reports that he hasn't met with his jobs council in six months, highlighting the number of fundraisers and golf trips the president has had during the same time period.

Filed under: 2012 • President Obama • RNC
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Miroslava

    What a waste of time and money, Willard!

    July 24, 2012 04:14 am at 4:14 am |

    What does this Gop bafoon party goof know about the economy ??where is romney the clowns tax returns ,disk drives from mass and now missing Olympic records ,I guess you haven't heard about that yet .it would be amazing to see people be dumb enough to vote for romney the clown who tells,you people ,your not geting them.well we are not voting for you moron.

    July 24, 2012 04:42 am at 4:42 am |

    A vote for romney the clown is a vote for BACHMANN and the rest of the Gop goofs !!!

    July 24, 2012 04:51 am at 4:51 am |
  4. Neutral Observer

    This is why liberal's just don't get it. Growing the economy and creating jobs takes risks. While much attention is focused on the businesses that do well, there are many that fail. Any financial planner will tell you that the bigger the risk, the bigger the return. While attacking the successful may sound good, it increases uncertainty and fear in the market which is a job killer. The best thing govt can do to create jobs is to get out of the way.

    July 24, 2012 05:13 am at 5:13 am |
  5. Marie MD

    Funny sounding named man. Where is steele when you need him?
    The economy IS doing better and it would be doing a LOT better if the teapublikkan run congress and their friends those "corporation are people" klan would try to help the country instead of doing everything they can against the President and the Nation!

    July 24, 2012 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  6. The Other Dale

    Looks like "gaffes" is the big word of the week for Republicans. Romney and others have already used this term. Funny thing is – Obama iand his staff iaren't standing around saying it was a mistake – this really is the position that people work together to build businesses and make a better America. (C'mon, no one besides Romney and a couple of suckers in the ads really think Obama is talking about anything remotely like Romney & the GOP is crying about. Even Romney doesn't believe it, as he's begun to just mumble about it instead of making it his rallying cry.) All the Republicans are doing is promoting Obama's pro-America message, instead of promoting their own agenda. Once again, it's like the GOP wants Obama to win.

    If Republicans really want to win the White House, they've got to come up with an angle that puts them in FRONT of what Obama is doing instead of three steps behind and playing catch-up. Even big names in Republicans circles are tearing their hair out and screaming that Romney and others campaigning for him are blowing their chances with stuff like this.

    July 24, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  7. Kevin

    Not a gaffe at all, considering he didn't say it at all.

    July 24, 2012 07:00 am at 7:00 am |
  8. some guy in New Hampshire

    I'm a registered independent voter and have voted for Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, Democrats, and independents. But the last two years have turned me into a one-issue voter: if it's Republican, I'm voting against it. One of the reasons is behavior like that described here. I've seen more than 30 years of Republicans' deliberate disrespect for voters, for civil rights, for honest debate, and for true freedoms - even for all their endless yammering about "freedom" while they try to take it away from people who actually would use freedom in any way other than the economic sense. The GOP will never con me out of another vote.

    July 24, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  9. Phyllliis G

    "without Me ye can do Nothing" (John 15: 5), so why harass yourselves about who produces?

    July 24, 2012 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  10. w l jones

    The president is only direct in charge for the national security jobs of this country as well all feb... everything else help create condition for business to work within the system. Said enough.

    July 24, 2012 08:12 am at 8:12 am |

    A vote for romney is a votefor BACHMANN and what does this idiot know about the economy ,the Gop bafoons party drove the economy into the ground once already !!!

    July 24, 2012 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  12. Marty, FL

    The president was making a positive statement how Americans collectively contribute to build the bridge for our businesses to thrive.

    For Romney RNC to twist it into something negative is the same old politics as usual.

    July 24, 2012 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  13. Arun

    All the rebubes do is talk crap. Their only have 2 solution to fix the economy: reduce taxes for corporations and reduce taxes for the rich!! They don't give to craps about people making below $220 k individually or $250 k jointly. As politicians say, the AMERICAN PEOPLE have already seen what this policy does to the economy. IT MAKES IT WORSE!! So when the repubes talk about jobs why don't they pass some of the bills the prez has proposed?? Because they don't care about anything except promoting their useless agenda!!!

    July 24, 2012 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  14. a in austin

    It's shameful how the RNC distorts the words of the President by leaving out sentences. But then again, they are all bought and paid for including reince.

    July 24, 2012 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  15. American People

    The American People want to see Romney's tax returns for the last 20 years.

    July 24, 2012 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  16. Realist

    And what have the Republicans done to help the economy and create jobs? Nada. Zip. Zilch. All they do is block every attempt by Obama to fix the economy. They will sacrifice the economy to have a chance at retaking the White House. The Republicans are a bunch of lying, money grubbing, selfish, self-centered, hypocritical, Tealiban toadies.

    July 24, 2012 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  17. enuff

    Is this all they have to talk about? Whatever happened to policies, what they would do to improve the lives of Americans, taxes... you know... the sort of topics that would make people WANT to vote for them? Right now, it"s just "he said this, vote for me," I want to hear about the meat of your campaign. Not these stupid school yard "nany nany boo boo" quips.

    July 24, 2012 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
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