President Obama is pushing back on former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s “You didn’t build that” attacks in a new ad.
It’s a sign that the White House is worried that the quote, while taken out of context, is doing the president real damage.
Obama said last Friday that businesses need infrastructure and other government-supported goods to survive.
“Somebody invested in roads and bridges,” he said. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
A recent Romney ad splices footage of the president saying, “You didn’t build that” to suggest that Obama doesn’t think business owners deserve credit for their success. The Republican candidate and his allies have been hammering the line on the campaign trail as well.
Obama’s surrogates have emphasized the context of his words. Now the president himself is telling swing state voters he was misrepresented.
“Those ads taking my words about small business out of context, they’re flat out wrong,” Obama says. “Of course Americans build their own business. Everyday hardworking 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.”
Romney spokesman Ryan Williams denied that Obama’s context made a difference. “It's clear what President Obama believes because he told us,” he said in a statement. “He said it, and he meant it.”
It’s Obama’s second ad this week in which he faces the camera directly and talks to voters — a way of trying to elevate himself above the flurry of negative attacks on both sides.
“Always” will air in Florida, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio and Virginia.