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In this together

July 18, 2012 - Jim Anderson
This past weekend, in Roanoke, Va., President Obama delivered a campaign speech that touched upon the theme of succeeding together. He pointed out that there is a physical and social infrastructure in America that is meant to allow hard-working people to flourish.

Near the end — emphasizing the importance of an American infrastructure that everyone helps to build —he said this:

“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.”

To which Mitt Romney responded:

“He (President Obama) said this: ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.’ That somebody else is government in his view. He goes on to describe the people who deserve the credit for building this business. And, of course, he describes people who we care very deeply about, who make a difference in our lives, our schoolteachers, fire fighters, people who build roads. We need those things, we value schoolteachers, fire fighters, people who build roads, you really couldn’t have a business if you didn’t have those things. But, you know, we pay for those things. The taxpayers pay for government. It’s not like government just provides those to all of us and we say oh thank you government for doing those things. In fact we pay for them and we benefit from them and we appreciate the work that they do and the sacrifices that are done by people who work in government. But they did not build this business. The idea to say that Steve Jobs didn’t build Apple, that Henry Ford didn’t build Ford Motor, that Papa John didn’t build Papa John Pizza, that Ray Kroc didn’t build McDonald’s, that Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft ... to say something like that is not just foolishness, it is insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America and it’s wrong.”

A few observations:

1. President Obama needs to be more careful with his sentence structures.

2. Gov. Romney needs to improve his listening skills.

3. At times, this is going to be a tiresome presidential campaign.



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