Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney sought to discredit President Obama’s business record last week, citing an excerpt from the president’s speech to frame him as anti-entrepreneurial.
In the speech, Obama said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
In context, Obama’s statement alluded to the fact that successful people have benefited from the help of others, including teachers and government investment in roads and bridges.
“Somebody along the line gave you some help,” Obama said. “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.”
But Romney and other Republicans jumped at the chance to interpret the president’s words to mean he does not support American entrepreneurship.
“To say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motors ... It’s insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America,” Romney said Tuesday in Pennsylvania.
“This idea of criticizing and attacking success, of demonizing those in all walks of life who have been successful, is something that is so foreign to us that we can’t understand it,” Romney told a crowd in Ohio the following day.
Romney also seized on a Labor Department report released Thursday that showed the number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose by 34,000 the previous week as proof that Obama had not done enough to encourage businesses to hire, the Associated Press reported.
Obama had planned to respond to Romney’s attacks during campaign speeches in Florida on Friday, but the campaign cancelled all scheduled events so the president could address the shooting in a Colorado movie theater that left at least 12 people dead.