If you’ve paid any attention to conservative blogs or talking heads the last few days you would have heard false claims that Obama said something along the lines that if you built a business you didn’t really build it. Conservatives love to quote out of context. They even think it is fair game to leave out words, change the order of words, and sometimes even put in their own words. I had no difficulty guessing what Obama really said, but conservatives tend to be ignorant of basic economic principles, and it is certainly possible that even if they were aware of Obama’s full statement it could have been beyond what they can comprehend.
President Obama, in a speech to supporters, suggested business owners owe their success to government investment in infrastructure and other projects — saying “if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.
Rush Limbaugh had this to say about what Obama didn’t actually say:
I’ll tell you what. I think it can now be said, without equivocation — without equivocation — that this man hates this country. He is trying — Barack Obama is trying — to dismantle, brick by brick, the American dream.
Here is what Obama actually said:
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me — because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t — look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)
If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. 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 Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.
The wording was awkward, and I suspect that Obama did leave out a few words, but any intelligent person could have figured out what Obama was really saying Any honest person would have responded to the actual meaning as opposed to one line taken out of context.
I note that Obama has not asked anyone to apologize for lying about what he said, in contrast to Mitt Romney who is looking weak by demanding that Obama apologize for telling the truth about him.