In a fundraising email, Mitt Romney is shocked, shocked that President Obama thinks entrepreneurs don't build their own businesses. "You didn't build this" has become a mantra for the Romney campaign (which is ironic considering much of Romney's business career appears to have been built on dismantling businesses). Still, the President's dismissive attitude toward business owners would be shocking - if it were true.
Forget Romney's selective editing. Here's what President Obama actually said, in its entirety:
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. 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. (Applause.)
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.
So Mitt Romney's campaign immediately freaked out, selectively edited the speech and is now selling t-shirts that say: "I built my business, Mr. President."
When, from the quote, it's clear that the President was talking about roads & bridges, not an individual business. I'm not aware of any trucking companies who build the roads their trucks drive on and, while Fed Ex surely pays to use the Memphis airport, that infrastructure predates the company by quite a bit. Did Google founders Larry Page & Sergey Brin create the Internet for their company? Did they lay thousands of miles of cable to give customers access?
No. All these companies succeeded because their founders had the vision & talent to attract investors. But that's not the whole story. President Obama knows it and so does Mitt Romney - if he'd just be honest about the issue like he was... well... the same day he was pushing this dishonest attack on President Obama.
Gov. Romney pointed out last Wednesday that entrepreneurs need government to help them start businesses and create jobs.
See the video on the flip..
There are a lot of people in government who help us and allow us to have an economy that works and allow entrepreneurs and business leaders of various kinds to start businesses and create jobs. We all recognize that. That's an important thing.
I know that you recognize that a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the banks, the investors. There's no question your mom and dad. Your school teachers. The people that provide roads, the fire, and the police. A lot of people help.
Good God. The man truly has no shame. He's simultaneously criticizing & plagiarizing presidential speeches.
Then Friday, Romney continued his "you didn't build that tour" by touring a business that owes its start to a government loan:
Company owner Brian Maloney, 69, agreed with Romney’s assessment. “I take umbrage at the suggestion that people don’t start and build businesses,” Maloney said. “I started out with 500 bucks and worked with my hands to afford grad school at night. My wife supported me. Started a little body shop and was able to bring together people, one at a time.”
But in an interview with Boston-based reporter Jon Keller of WBZ-TV, Maloney acknowledged that his business received some government help. “The only way I was able to come here, because I had no money, was with an industrial-revenue bond,” Maloney said in the interview.
I'm glad the company is successful, but don't kid yourself, Mitt. The owner's no John Galt.
Hang on campers, it gets better!
The New Hampshire business featured in Romney's new commercial is the poster company for government aid. In the commercial, the business owner says: "My father’s hands didn’t build this company? My hands didn’t build this company? My son’s hands aren’t building this company?"
A good line, but still no John Galt!
The New Hampshire Union Leader’s John DiStato today reports that in 1999 the business in question, Gilchrist Metal, “received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority ‘to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment’…” In addition, in 2011, Gilchrist Metal “received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller, $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008…”
The businessman, Jack Gilchrist, also acknowledged that in the 1980s the company received a U.S. Small Business Administration loan totaling “somewhere south of” $500,000, and matching funds from the federally-funded New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.
And just yesterday, Mitt held a rally about the virtues of self-sufficiency with... wait for it... defense contractors!
Let's close our disturbing tour of "Mitt Romney's reality world" with his moving speech to Olympians before the 2002 games:
"You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right! [pumps fist].”
Once again, we have the same questions for Governor Romney.
- What, if anything, do you really believe?
- You seem to hold many contradictory positions. Are you lying now or were you lying then?