BY WESLEY P. HESTER
As part of a national push, Mitt Romney’s campaign — with the help of Gov. Bob McDonnell and two Richmond-area business owners – pounced Wednesday on President Barack Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark from a July 13 event in Roanoke.
In front of a “We Did Build This” banner at Richmond’s Ball Office Products, McDonnell — flanked by the business’s owner, Melissa Ball, and Mike Bucci, owner of K&M of VA — took the president to task for his comment.
The particular line Republicans have seized on was Obama’s comment that “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Here’s the quote in the context of the speech:
“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.”
McDonnell, acting as a surrogate for Romney, said the president’s message was that “it was essentially the government that really created the opportunity” for businesses to be built, also noting the president’s comment last month that “the private sector is doing fine.”
“These two comments together reflect a president and an administration that’s just out of touch, out of ideas, as far as I’m concerned, out of time to prove that they can restore the American dream in Virginia,” McDonnell said.
Democrats have pushed back fiercely against the uproar over Obama’s Roanoke remarks, claiming the remark has been taken out of context.
The Obama campaign has even launched an ad, airing in swing states, that features the president defending his remarks, and clarifying them.
After his comments, McDonnell was asked if he felt the remarks had been taken out of context.
“It’s not out of context, it’s out touch,” he said. “It’s not the words as much as it is the policies.”
Democrats later in the day noted that Ball Office Products had, according to USASpending.gov, received a $635,000 loan through the small business administration and had been awarded a $52,525 contract with the General Services Administration.