There are two schools of thought about handling an untrue attack–ignoring it or responding to it. The down side to responding to an attack is that often doing so leads to more people hearing the attack than originally heard it. In the past it might have been better to ignore some attacks, but in the age of twenty-four hour right wing “news” and the internet, an attack which is ignored will only continue to spread. The Obama campaign must have finally decided that attacks on Obama based upon misquoting his comment on small business are doing harm, and finally decided to respond.
Obama was repeating a basic fact about economics–businesses benefit from government infrastructure such as roads and bridge. Businessmen did not build these. Nor did they build the internet, utilities, educational systems, and other government services which are helpful to their business. Republicans have been distorting Obama’s statement to claim he was saying that businessmen did not create their own business–a complete fabrication.
Yesterday I pointed out that Mitt Romney has made a comment analogous to Obama’s in the past–not that it is any surprise to see Mitt Romney take both sides of any issue. In addition a fact checker noted that Romney’s attacks are untrue, and it was even discovered that a spokesman in a Romney ad attacking Obama over the distorted quote has received direct government benefits for his business.
Today Obama has responded:
At a campaign fundraising event in Oakland, Calif., Obama hit back at Romney for “splicing and dicing” his words. “I believe with all my heart that it is the drive and the ingenuity of Americans who start businesses that lead to their success. I always have and I always will,” he said.
This morning, Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter “debunks distortions” and defends the Obama record on small business in a new video.
Stephanie Cutter also pointed out that this is not the first time Romney has distorted Obama’s words, and it won’t be the last:
The “you didn’t build that” meme has been exposed as a lie. On the other hand, the memes that Romney repeatedly lies about Obama’s positions, and takes both sides of virtually any issue, have been demonstrated to be true once again.