Mitt Romney's presidential campaign has banned small vendors from setting up shop at the 2012 Republican National Convention, CBS San Francisco (KCBS) reported on Thursday.
In order to maintain control over all official campaign souvenirs, the Romney-Ryan campaign has barred small vendors from selling campaign buttons and other political souvenirs at the RNC, KCBS found. As a result, small vendors are "are conspicuously absent" from the convention, the news outlet reported.
Robin Abrams of Irvine, Calif., has been forced to sell campaign buttons at a hotel 30 miles away from the RNC, KCBS reported. In contrast, the Democratic National Convention next week will allow small vendors to sell political souvenirs, according to KCBS.
The Republican Party has been touting its support of small businesses throughout the RNC. The official theme of the first night of the convention was "We Built It" in order to present a contrast to "You didn't build that," a quote by President Barack Obama that has been used out of context by Republicans to highlight the importance of small business development independent from government intervention.
Some Republicans have used the Obama quote to brand the president as secretly anti-capitalist. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the Republican Party's vice presidential nominee, wrote in July that Obama believes that "the nucleus of society and the economy is government not the people."
Media outlets have moved to point out alleged hypocrisy in the GOP's choices for spokespeople for the "We Built It" campaign. Two small business owners who spoke at the RNC on behalf of the Republican Party's "We Built It" campaign actually benefited from government contracts, government loans, or both.
Romney is scheduled to speak at the Republican National Convention tonight.