As Republicans continue trying to cash in on the out-of-context “you didn’t build that” attack on President Obama, the Obama campaign is assembling an army of small business owners who say that they did engineer their own success — thanks to the opportunities afforded them by generations of American taxpayers.
The new Obama push, details of which were obtained by TPM, highlights small business owners across the country in a series of state-specific press releases and events throughout this week aimed at highlighting Obama’s “vision for an economy built from the middle out — where hard work pays off, responsibility is rewarded and everyone gets a fair shot,” according to the campaign.
“I am a product of all the great opportunities our country gives its citizens. I grew up with middle-class values, where I went to public school. I went to college at a public university, where I received a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship,” Angie Morgan, a co-founder of the Leadstar company says in a release sent by the Obama campaign to Virginia news outlets. “Upon graduation, I served my country as a Marine. Today I am a military wife and a small business owner that employs military veterans. I believe that President Obama’s leadership and vision create paths for the American Dream to be possible.”
On the trail, Obama is calling for more taxpayer investment in infrastructure and other projects — investments he was touting when he uttered the phrase “you didn’t build that” — a line Republicans chopped up and turned into a rallying cry. Several of the small business owners tapped by the Obama campaign say their businesses survived the recession thanks to government projects.
“President Obama knows that small businesses like ours are the engine of job creation. As the owner of Crenshaw Bros. Construction in Erie, I’ve seen firsthand how the president is looking out for us. The recession nearly ruined my company, but an influx of public-investment projects funded by President Obama’s Recovery Act rejuvenated our business,” Don Crenshaw, a construction company owner in Pennsylvania, says in one release. “Since 2010, I’ve added more than 50 employees and taken on an additional $10 million in business. And thanks to the President’s Small Business Jobs Act, I’ve been able to invest in the equipment my business needs.”
“You didn’t build that”, or rather the GOP interpretation of the comment, appears to be sticking around despite endless attempts to set the record straight from Democrats and the media. The Obama campaign is now stepping up the pushback by tapping business people to make the case the president has tried to emphasize since the line from a July speech was taken out of context.