Mitt Romney on Tuesday seized on a recent remark by President Barack Obama to paint him as anti-business, but he took it out of context.
"If you've got a business, you didn't build that, somebody else made that happen," Obama said Friday.
Speaking Tuesday in Irwin, Pa., Romney called the remark "startling and revealing" and said that it was "extraordinary that a philosophy of that nature would be spoken by a president of the United States.
He ran with the idea. "The idea that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motors, that Papa John didn’t build Papa Johns, that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonalds, that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft," Romney said. "It's not just foolishness, its insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America and it’s wrong."
But in his reaction to the remark, Romney ignored its original context. When he made the comment in Roanoke, Va. Friday, Obama was arguing that businesses needed infrastructure investment to succeed.
"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help," Obama said. "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 antecedent to "that" is not the business, but "roads and bridges," as well as the "American system" as a whole.
"The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together," Obama said.
Soon after Romney made his remarks, the campaign continued to seize on the comment with a 15-second video, which excerpts the one sentence from Obama's speech and replays it five times.
CORRECTION:Following a flawed transcript, the article previously misspelled Ray Kroc's name.