Did Obama Say, ‘If You’ve Got a Business, You Didn’t Build That’?

Jul 16, 2012 3:21pm
gty obama roanoke lpl 120716 wblog Did Obama Say, If Youve Got a Business, You Didnt Build That?

(Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Conservatives have been jumping on comments President Obama made in Roanoke, Va., in which he said “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”

As an example, read what the Heritage Foundation posted at its blog that the comment was a “slap in the face to hard-working Americans conveyed Obama’s belief that it takes a village – a heavily subsidized village – to create that venture you’re profiting from.”

A Romney campaign spokeswoman told Fox the comment was “insulting” to small business owners.

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

The president’s argument, which is similar to one made by Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, revolves around the idea that business people need the infrastructure provided by the government in order to succeed.

Here’s the full context of what he said:

We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.  We can make some more cuts in programs that don’t work, and make government work more efficiently…We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more …

There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t -look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

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.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together.  That’s how we funded the GI Bill.  That’s how we created the middle class.  That’s how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam.  That’s how we invented the Internet.  That’s how we sent a man to the moon.  We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that’s the reason I’m running for president – because I still believe in that idea.  You’re not on your own, we’re in this together.”

 

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