Romney camp, Republicans continue to hammer on 'build that'
Mitt Romney attends a business roundtable in California on Monday.
July 25th, 2012
08:48 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney camp, Republicans continue to hammer on 'build that'

(CNN) – Even as Mitt Romney heads abroad for a swing through Europe and Israel, his campaign will continue to push the argument back home that President Barack Obama hurts small businesses with a "big-government" policy approach.

Romney's campaign said Wednesday they would hold twenty-four events in battleground states for small business owners to proclaim "we did build this," a rebuke to a comment Obama made two weeks ago in which he argued successful small businesses got that way with the help of governmental support like roads and educators.

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"If you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," Obama said at a campaign stop in Virginia on July 13. "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."

Bits and pieces of that remark have been used for weeks, both by Romney's campaign in television ads and by the Republican National Committee, which launched an offensive linking the comment to Obama policies they say are anti-business.

Their counterparts at the Democratic National Committee said Tuesday they would respond to the attacks with events in battleground states, which will focus on Romney's own plans for the economy.

"In conjunction with [Obama for America], we're going to turn the page tomorrow on Mitt Romney's trumped up, out of context fact-checked-to-death BS about the President and small business and set the record straight on how Mitt Romney has a horrible record on small business, a failed record on jobs and who is advocating for policies that are great for millionaires, billionaires, big oil and corporate America – but that would devastate small businesses and stifle job growth and small business expansion," DNC spokesman Brad Woodhouse wrote in a email.

Obama's team released a television spot Tuesday pushing back on the attacks, saying they were taking the president's words out of context.

READ MORE: Obama campaign: New ad takes on 'build that' attacks

The spot features Obama speaking directly to the camera, refuting the wave of criticism following his remarks. The ad, which largely echoes comments made by the president at a campaign stop in Oakland on Monday, highlights his support for small businesses.

"Those ads taking my words about small business out of context; they're flat out wrong," Obama says in the ad. "Of course Americans build their own business. Everyday hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to stand behind them as America always has. By investing in education, training, roads and bridges, research and technology."

The RNC argued Wednesday that even within context, Obama's remarks were damaging to his political prospects. The group released a video using Obama's full comment, claiming "the more context you get, the worse it sounds."

"President Obama thinks his comments are being taken out of context, but the reality is the context makes it worse," RNC chairman Reince Priebus wrote in a statement. "With more context, it is obvious President Obama doesn't understand that businesses succeed because of the hard work and sacrifice of the American people, not the growth and intrusiveness of government. President Obama thinks he can paint over his latest admission, but he can't cover up four years of anti-business actions."

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

Mitt Romney, speaking in an interview Monday, made a similar argument.

"I found the speech even more disconcerting than just that particular line. The context is worse than the quote," Romney said on CNBC. "The context, he says, you know, you think you've been successful because you're smart, but he says a lot of people are smart. You think you've been successful because you work hard, a lot of people work hard."

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Filed under: 2012 • Ads • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. enuff

    If this is all they have, then they are desperate. In the words of the RNC: "Get over it!'. Where's Romney's taxes? What happened to the Mass. computers? Why were contracts shredded from the Olympics? Why did Romney sign SEC filings for Bain then say he wasn't there?

    July 25, 2012 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  2. SafeJourney

    For all you that do not understand what the "that" is refering to in the "build that"statement. The "that" is refering to infrastructure in the U.S. .Read the complete statement and stop acting breitbart or fox news and editing film and statements.

    July 25, 2012 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. once upon a horse

    did Romney and Priebus happen to mention the man they used in his ad in NH did NOT build that on his own but had loans and help from the goverment? And really that should not be an issue, the goverment should help small business owners. But the GOP wants to continue to twist the president's statements like he is anti small business. I don't see what's wrong with what he was saying about Americans helping each other get ahead, but then again I am not a right wing Republican so perhaps I just don't see what the complaint is all about.

    July 25, 2012 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  4. Wake up people

    Keep lying Mittens, before it's over the only supporters you are going to have are the very wealthy and the inbred hicks that are getting more help from the government than anyone. People with brains, eyes and ears know exactly what the President said and meant.

    OBAMA 2012!

    Show us your taxes Mittens and don't forget your long form birth certificate and your college transcripts. You can run but you can't hide from the truth. We all know you are using the distraction of the Olympics, job report, and the debt ceiling debate to try and make us forget but we won't. You are a proven liar and those tax records will prove it even more. The only way you will win is by cheating.

    July 25, 2012 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  5. Nell, NC

    Cnn why not mention the counter ad? Romneys ad at the Olympics in 2002, where he stated, the Olympic participants didn't get there by themselves, they had help! Didn't see it, huh!

    July 25, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. Four and The Door

    It would be a completely different story if after 3 1/2 years Obama had something in his record or his results that he could throw in the Republican's faces. But he doesn't. The results of his policies strengthen the argument that Obama does not understand American business and he does not care to. He's all about big government not small business.

    July 25, 2012 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Obama 2012 - MOVE Forward America, NOT another round of DUBYA's FAILURES

    The Grand Obstructionist Party is really on a losing stretch here. Most Americans realize that his comments are being take out of context and see thru the hate-attack ads that the GOBP are using. Reality is – no-one succeeds on their own. They have help. And while it's a waste of time trying to convince the right wing nuts that Obama was NOT talking about Govt intrusion or socialism, FACT is, ANY business needs Govt provided infrastructure (roads, etc.) to be successful.
    Perhaps we can get down to discussing what exactly it is that these same Repugs – who've been blocking, filibustering, denigrating the POTUS and blocking ANY attempts at progress for the last four years – plan on doing to fix the mess that they created and are attributing to Obama. TEFLON Teapugs is what they should be called.. since nothing is EVER their fault and nothing ever sticks!@

    July 25, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  8. 2012liberal

    Romney says obama just wants 2 talk about shiney objects. Well if that's what u want 2 b called rommey, then that's what we will call u. Shiney object.

    July 25, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. Q

    This campaign slogan "build that" is a flimsy tactic based upon a lie that is in danger of collapsing on Romney like a house of cards.

    July 25, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  10. FORWARD into the Obama FISCAL ABYSS

    Obama, bit by bit, reveals exactly who he is to the American people. After 4 years, not one single reporter has point blank asked him if he is a socialist. They are, and have been, protecting him because the minute he admits it, he is done. But his actions and now his words all tell people he IS a socialist.

    Why doesn't Obama just come clean with the American people and tell us he's a socialist? Why isn't the MSM asking the real questions people want to know the answer to?

    July 25, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. NotFooledByDistractions

    It doesn't matter that the whole premise was rated pants on fire...that doesn't stop romney from lying. Fact checkers also didn't stop romney from repeating the "apology tour" lie. He's shameless.

    July 25, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  12. "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." --B. Obama


    July 25, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
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