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Can Obama defuse the 'you didn't build that' attacks?
After facing steady attacks over something he said two weeks ago, the president and his fellow Democrats finally mount a counterattack
Mitt Romney holds a round table discussion with small business owners.
Mitt Romney holds a round table discussion with small business owners.
David McNew/Getty Images
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resident Obama said on Tuesday that he can handle criticism, but has "no patience" for Mitt Romney's criticism of his "you didn't build that" line to business owners. Romney has turned Obama's July 13 comment into a focal point of his stump speech, saying that Obama is hostile to business and thinks entrepreneurs owe their success to the government. In an ad, Obama says the GOP is taking his words out of context to suggest he doesn't stand behind small business. "They're flat-out wrong," Obama says. The Democratic National Committee is launching an effort to "turn the page" on the GOP's attacks by arguing that Romney has been friendly to the super rich and giant corporations, but he's the one with a bad record on small business. Will Obama's push-back work?

Obama can't un-say his telling remark: Obama probably "wishes he hadn't said it, but he did," says Mary Katherine Ham at Hot Air. He told business owners they should happily pay higher taxes because the government provided them with teachers and roads. It was "a casual dismissal of what it takes to succeed," mixed with the insulting suggestion that entrepreneurs are giving nothing back, even though they do pay taxes. "Gee, I wonder why everyone heard it wrong."
"Obama has 'no patience' for frequent quoting of dumb thing he said"

People need to see that Romney is twisting Obama's words: A little ribbing is okay — look at how Democrats mocked Romney for his "I like to fire people" line, says Alec MacGillis at The New Republic. But Team Romney is basing major attack ads on its disgraceful, "out-of-context" distortion of a few ill-chosen words. Obama was asking serious questions — how much public investment is needed; who should pay for it? He's right to ask Romney to drop his "rank cynicism," and reply seriously.
"Beltway media cynicism? Yeah, you built that"

This damage control is overdue: Even if the GOP is taking what Obama said out of context, says Rachel Weiner at The Washington Post, it's pretty plain that Democrats are worried that the quote "is doing the president real damage." The Romney campaign is doubling down on its attacks, saying that Obama's scorn for business owners was abundantly clear. In his ads, Obama faces that directly and tells viewers the GOP is misrepresenting him. We'll see who voters believe.
"Obama pushes back on 'You didn't build that' in ad"

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

 

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