President Barack Obama accused Mitt Romney of “knowingly twisting my words around to suggest that I don’t value small business,” and the Obama campaign released a scathing web video in an coordinated effort to push back against Romney’s claim that the president thinks that business owners owe all of their success to the government.
“The other side knows they can’t sell their ideas, so what they’re going to do is try to distort my vision,” Obama told a crowd of about 2,000 supporters in Oakland, California on Monday night. “Earlier today, Governor Romney was at it again — knowingly twisting my words around to suggest that I don’t value small businesses.”
“When folks just like, omit entire sentences of what you said, they start kind of slicing and dicing… he may have gone a little over the edge there,” Obama said.
Obama went on to clarify the controversial remark that Romney has seized upon as an attack line.
“I believe with all my heart that it is the drive and ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that leads to their success. I always have and I always will,” Obama said. He continued
But I also believe that if you talk to any business owner, they’ll tell you that what also helps them succeed alongside all their hard work, all their great ideas, is the ability to hire workers with the right skills and education. What helps them succeed is the ability to ship and sell their products on new roads and bridges and ports and wireless networks. What helps them succeed is having access to cutting-edge technology, which, like the Internet, often starts with publicly funded research and development. And what helps them succeed is a strong and growing middle class who can buy the products that they’re selling. Every business needs customers.
On Tuesday morning, Obama for America Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter followed up on Obama’s speech with a web video that blasts Romney for “not telling the truth about what the president said.”
“Ironically, Mitt Romney knows better than anyone that business can’t always do it alone,” Cutter says in the video. “When Bain & Company was on the brink of bankruptcy, Romney himself negotiated a $10 million bailout with the FDIC.”
The Obama campaign’s decision to aggressively push back against Romney’s offensive is likely a sign that the attacks aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Indeed, the “didn’t build that” speech has now found its way into a major senate race — Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown released an ad on Monday that edits Obama’s words in almost the exact same way that Romney’s ad did, and compares his statement to a speech made by Brown’s opponent Elizabeth Warren.