From Emily Friedman in Roxbury and Mary Bruce at the White House
Mitt Romney went to a Massachusetts truck repair shop today to refute President Obama's point that businesses are built only with the help of roads and other government services.
"The president does in fact believe that people who build enterprises like this really aren't responsible for it, but in fact a collective success of the whole society that somehow builds enterprises like this," said Romney. "In my view, we have to celebrate people who start enterprises. In my view, we have to celebrate people who start enterprises and employ other people."
Included in the president's comments last week in Virginia was the line: " Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business. you didn't build that ."
Disputing the statement has become a major element of Romney's campaign stump speech in recent days, including at the event today surrounded by mechanics who work on trucks and buses.
"When the president said, If you got a business you didn't build it, come here and talk to Brian and you'll learn that in fact he did build this business," Romney said, signaling to Brian Maloney, the owner of Middlesex Truck & Coach.
"Someone else isn't responsible for what he did here. He's the one that took the risk. He's the one that built this enterprise. He's the one responsible for helping get these people these jobs. And all the people who work here, they're also responsible for building this business. They came together and did it together. This is not the result of government. This is the result of people who take risk, who have dreams, who build for themselves and their families," said Romney.
For a third day in a row, Romney also hammered President Obama on failing to meet with his jobs council for six months. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has said the president's plate was too "full" for a meeting. The council last met in January. .
"We're surprised that the president has not met with his jobs council in the last six months, and the White House asked why that was and they said, Well, the president has a lot on his plate," said Romney. "And so we took a look at his schedule and over the last six months he has done 106 fundraisers, and so I think you learned something about the president's priorities."
Romney pointed to a Labor Department report this morning that jobless claims had risen by 34,000 last week.
The White House, meanwhile, underscored that the president takes seriously the recommendations of his Jobs Council, even if he hasn't met with them recently.
"I want to be clear - the President is extremely appreciative of the initiatives and ideas that have been put forward by his Jobs Council," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reportersaboard Air Force One today on the way to a campaign rally in Florida.
Following a recommendation from the Jobs Council, the White House today announced it is streamlining the permit review process for several large infrastructure projects, an effort to modernize and expand major ports in the country.
"You should know that the administration has acted on 90 percent of those initiatives that we can act on - that the President can act on through his executive authority - 90 percent rate," Carney said, noting that Congress has only acted on 20 percent of the proposals that require congressional action.
"This President is focused on job creation and economic growth and he is using every tool in his toolbox to advance job creation and economic growth through his executive action," Carney said. "But we need Congress to act, too. Every economist whose Ph.D. is worth the paper it is printed on will tell you that the initiatives that Congress has so far refused to pass in the American Jobs Act would create at least a million jobs and would add to our economic growth."