President Barack Obama’s campaign staff is trying to defend President Barack Obama’s damaging campaign speech in Roanoke, Va., where he told American entrepreneurs that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Mitt Romney’s new TV-ad about the speech “blatantly twists the president’s words… Romney is not telling the truth about what the president said, and is taking the president’s words out of context,” deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter says in a new July 24 video.
“So please share this video with your friends, and not just your friends who already support the president [because] we all have a relative who spends all their time forwarding these crazy e-mail chains, so make sure they get the facts too,” Cutter says in the video.
Cutter’s criticism of Romney’s new ad — dubbed “These Hands” — comes as Romney and his GOP allies step-up their efforts to highlight Obama’s Roanoke statement.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help… somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive,” Obama told a July 13 rally in Roanoke, Va. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Romney has been energized by Obama’s statement, and by the public’s widespread disagreement. In several speeches, he’s criticized the statement, and has been rewarded by cheering and applause.
A new poll showed that 72 percent of likely voters “believe that people who start small businesses are primarily responsible for their success or failure,” said a July 23 statement from the Rasmussen Reports. “Only 13% disagree,” according to the firm.
However, said Cutter, Obama “didn’t say that… anyone who has seen the president’s actual remarks knows the truth.”
“Does [Romney] even understand how our economy works? … [it works] with the public and private sectors working together to create a climate that helps us grow,” she said.
Democrats argue that Obama’s claim “you didn’t build that” refers to public infrastructure such as roads and schools.
Republicans, however, argue that public infrastructure is built by the taxes payed in large part by entrepreneurs, and that Obama’s “you didn’t build that” claim seeks to boost the government’s role in the economy by downplaying private sector’s.
“The president knows hard-working people turning ideas into successful businesses built the American middle class,” Cutter said, while arguing that Romney would cut education, cut technology research and “give more tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires.”
Cutter’s video does not include any video of the president’s controversial speech.
However, she includes a critical quote about Romney from the Washington Post’s so-called “Fact Checker,” Glenn Kessler.
“By focusing on one ill-phrased sentence, Romney and his campaign have decided to pretend that Obama is talking about something different — and then further extrapolated it so that it becomes ridiculous,” Kessler wrote July 18.