By Shushannah Walshe
Mitt Romney may be overseas, but his campaign is definitely not taking a pause, holding 24 events across 12 battleground states Wednesday all trying to take advantage of comments the president made last week.
The Romney campaign has been heavily pressing their “you didn’t build that” attacks for the past ten days and Wednesday is their biggest push yet with events with small business owners in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada.
Speaking in Roanoke, Virginia, earlier this month, the president stressed the importance of community as well as continued government investments in infrastructure and public services that many businesses in this country utilize.
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help,” Obama said. “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.”
Republicans pounced on the words “you didn’t build that” singling them out and claiming that Obama was speaking directly to business owners about their accomplishments, and that focus continues Wednesday.
In events at small businesses in locations as varied as Waukesha, Wis. to Palm Beach, Fla. to Columbus, Ohio, entrepreneurs will express their anger at the “you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen” line.
Lou Ramos, a small business owner from Tampa, will be at his local event. He owns an information technology and computer training company called Value Enterprise Solutions, Inc. and he said the president’s comments made him “almost throw up when I heard it.”
Ramos is a 64 year old Hispanic veteran, serving in the military from 1973-97, including two tours at the Pentagon, and he said he did read and watch all of the president’s comments in context, not just the two sentences continually highlighted by the campaign.
“I heard the whole thing and I read it,” Ramos told ABC News, mentioning he did like Obama when he spoke at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. “I heard the whole thing…The guy was talking sincere…This guy thinks success is about government hand outs and not perseverance.”
Ramos was injured–not in combat–but serving in military exercises and now has some disability, but he stressed he never got any federal financial help starting up his business instead getting a bank loan to originally hire three employees.
He said as soon as he heard the comments last week he called other small business owners pleading with them to get involved.
“When President Obama told Americans that government is responsible for their success, it started a wave of anger that has swept across this country,” Romney campaign spokesperson Sarah Pompei said. “We wanted to give those businesspeople, entrepreneurs, and hard-working men and women a chance to let President Obama know that government didn’t build the small businesses that are the backbone of this country—everyday Americans built them, and they continue to build on America’s greatness every day. Today, they’re standing up to say, ‘We did build this.’”
It’s clear the Romney campaign will continue pressing these comments, even unveiling new signs at their events this week with the words “We did build this” written on them.
Tuesday, the Obama campaign released an ad with the president refuting the Romney campaign’s new focus and accusing them of intentionally misleading the public saying his words have been “taken out of context.”
“Of course Americans build their own businesses,” Obama says looking directly at the camera. ”Every day, hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run.”
“And what I said was that we need to stand behind them, as America always has,” Obama said in the ad that will run in six swing states.