Financed by his super PAC, Crossroads America, and others, the Romney campaign has begun an ad campaign featuring President Obama uttering the words, “If you’ve got a business you didn’t build that.” The ad goes on to insinuate that the President has shown his true colors as a job killing neophyte in over his head on economic matters.
As I was using the print copy of the speech transcript, I don’t know if Obama breathed then, if the crowd cheered and he got distracted, if he blooped the line or if there was an editing error in his text. The statement that Mr. Romney is featuring in his ads may well be one of sort we watch in the humorous out-takes of movies and popular TV series.
Here is the ad:
How does one know the difference? Is the President a secret socialist with a dark, hidden agenda, or did he merely make an error in speaking?
Perhaps the easiest way to determine which is true is to look at the remark in context; here it is with the entire paragraph around it.
“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.”
Reading the transcript of the President’s speech one could see that the sentence was probably meant to said as.”If you’ve got a business—you didn’t build that alone.
In adding that one little word, the sentence is changed and fits far better into the overall thrust of the President’s entire paragraph.
In reading the entire transcript of the speech in which Obama said over and over that work should pay, that initiative should be rewarded and that the liberty to turn down government assistance should be protected.
For example, and admittedly taking a page from Mr. Romney’s book and presenting only snippets from the President’s remarks, we read his approach to manufacturing, to education, to the foreclosure crisis, to Afghanistan and to infrastructure repair.
I believe in American manufacturing. I believe in making stuff here in America.
I want to lower tuition to make it more affordable for all young people. (Applause.) I want to help our elementary schools and our middle schools and our high schools hire more teachers, especially in math and science. I want 2 million more people to be able to go to community colleges to get trained in the jobs that businesses are hiring for right now — because a higher education, a good education is not a luxury, it is an economic necessity. That’s how we’re going to win the race for the future. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President — to finish the job we started in 2008…
I want to let every single person refinance their homes and save about $3,000 a year because you’ll spend that $3,000 on some of these stores right here in downtown. You’ll help small businesses and large businesses grow because they’ll have more customers. It will be good for you and it will be good for the economy. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President…
I now intend to transition out of Afghanistan and bring our troops home. (Applause.) And what I said is, because of their outstanding work, we’ve been able to decimate al Qaeda and take out bin Laden. (Applause.) And so now it’s time for us to take half of the money we were saving on war and pay down our deficit, and use the other half to do some nation-building here at home.
…rebuild our roads and our bridges and our rail systems, and let’s build wireless networks into rural communities so everybody can tap into world markets. Let’s put construction workers back to work doing what they do best and that is rebuilding America. That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.
Just to make sure that we get the point and understand whose side Obama is on and who will benefit in his second term, I offer this, “…give 98 percent of Americans some certainty and some security.
I went to Washington to fight for the middle class. (Applause.) I went to Washington to fight for working people who are trying to get into the middle class, and have some sense of security in their lives. (Applause.) People like me and Mr. Romney don’t need another tax cut. You need some help right now to make sure your kids are living the kind of life you want for them. And that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.”
Using the critical thinking technique of examining Mr. Obama’s words in the context of the entire speech, we can easily determine that Mr. Romney has distorted them for his own political purposes.
The use of super PAC funding to unload dump truck loads of scurrilous innuendo on his opponents is something Mr. Romney pioneered and perfected in the GOP nomination contest.
We should draw the line and let Mr. Romney know that this reprehensible tactic is intolerable in a general election campaign.