The Washington Post

Romney releases ‘You didn’t build that’ ad

Yesterday, we wrote that a Web video from former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s campaign was a preview of what his next attack ad might look like, using the president’s comment that “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

We didn’t have to wait long. “These Hands” is now a 30-second ad going after President Obama for telling small business owners to remember the government and community that helped them get where they are.

Like the Web video, Romney’s ad truncates Obama’s words to make them more damaging.

“In the ad, the video jumps from the president saying “If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own” to “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.” In his speech, Obama spoke in between about the infrastructure and education that help, making it more clear that he was saying individuals didn’t build that system, not that individuals don’t build their own businesses.

Jack Gilchrist, a New Hampshire metal plant owner, is featured in both clips. “Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business,” he says “Why are you demonizing us for it? It’s time we had somebody who believes in us.”

In an interview with Fox News Thursday, Gilchrist was more nuanced, saying “There’s truth to what he says” and praising his 11th grade English teacher and the tax-funded transportation system. “But I think it’s a far stretch to infer that the government is the reason I’m here today or my company’s here.”

Romney’s recent spots have focused on Obama’s negative ads; it’s a notable shift for the candidate to punch back instead.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.


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