‘You didn’t build that’: When push-back falls flat

posted at 12:41 pm on July 26, 2012 by Mary Katharine Ham

He’s down to 35 percent approval among business owners, and that was before “you didn’t build that.” We’ll see in future polls exactly how they react to Obama’s July 13th comments in Roanoke. Until then, Obama’s trying to turn this around on Mitt Romney.

Yesterday was supposed to mark the Obama campaign’s “nuclear” response to the “you didn’t build that” attacks from camp Romney, with an emphasis on milk fees in Massachusetts while Romney was governor:

If you’re the Governor that raised a fee on milk and attempted to impose a $10 fee for a state certificate of blindness, it becomes clear why Mitt Romney doesn’t want to talk about his record as Governor on jobs or the economy or budget and taxes.

While I generally object to fee hikes of all kinds, if $38 million in negative advertising on Bain in June didn’t move the needle for Obama, is this line of attack likely to?

In response to Obama’s push-back, Team Romney sent out the entire clip of Obama’s remarks, notably unmanipulated or trimmed and a list of business owners quoted in local press taking umbrage at the president’s remarks. The beauty of the gaffe for Romney’s camp is the entire passage is offensive, even without “you didn’t build that.” As such, Romney’s campaign has been using the entire passage, in context, since its first attack ad on the subject.

If I were Obama, I wouldn’t have argued I was taken out of context, since the other team can so quickly prove that’s not the case. I would have argued I wasn’t talking about small business, but big ol’ meanie businesses with low effective tax rates and big lawyers making sure they get a bunch of write-offs. His original statement didn’t specify small business. Romney played it smart by making the business owner next door the face of their attacks. Obama took the bait. In the first sentence of his response ad, he concedes that ground:

“Those ads taking my words about small business out of context — they’re flat-out wrong,” Obama says in the commercial.

The whole rest of his campaign and ideology are about drawing those lines between “good” businesses and “bad” businesses, rich and poor, big and small (except all the rich people and big businesses he exempts from his paradigm for the price of a $35,000 plate of filet). Why not just claim this comment was more of the same? But you can’t do that if you start 11 days after the gaffe.

During Obama’s push-back, what was the No. 1 news story of the day for the left? A national jihad on chicken sandwiches. That’ll turn this around.

At least the Obama campaign is effectively educating the children about conservatives’ long-time objection to roads and bridges. From a mildly creepy pool report on Michelle Obama’s travels by the Dayton Daily News‘ Jeremy Kelley Tuesday:

FLOTUS joined a group of eight volunteers making phone calls, urging people to attend the campaign’s Weekend of Action events on July 28.

FLOTUS went up and down the table, hugging volunteers and talking to them about their lives. One volunteer, making calls with her college-age daughter, eagerly thanked FLOTUS for all she does, with FLOTUS responding, “Now don’t make me cry.”

The daughter had a quiet, emotional conversation with FLOTUS, saying at one point, “I just really want to try to build bridges.”

“We’re doing it all for you, for your generation,” FLOTUS told the daughter. She said to all the volunteers, “You’ve been working so hard. You keep us going.”

Update: Here’s a great place for the president to learn about how much hard work and intelligence it takes to make a business run, especially when dogged by changing regulation and uncertainty.

Update: Did George Lakoff build the “you didn’t build that” argument Elizabeth Warren and Obama employed?


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Comment pages: 1 2 3

Keep banging away at Mr. Thin Skin, it’s working. Don”t let up!

D-fusit on July 26, 2012 at 12:57 PM

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Eeeewwww, that doesn’t quite sound right…..

8 weight on July 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

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I know what you meant, D-fusit; but it could have been worded better.

: )

listens2glenn on July 26, 2012 at 8:13 PM

Jim Treacher’s take

Schadenfreude on July 26, 2012 at 3:19 PM

It’s a killer, isn’t it. Let’s hammer it home, now ’til November.

petefrt on July 26, 2012 at 8:54 PM

You have the right to whine incessantly, call people names and behave like an a-hole. We have the right to point it out.

Chuck Schick on July 26, 2012 at 5:09 PM

I don’t whine, I don’t call people names except for ” ‘bot”, which is appropriate; and I’m an a-hole simply because I don’t join in the little Mittbot echo chamber. Tough. Now if I made it a sign of wit to refer to you all the time as Chuck Sh1t, I’d be more at the level of you and your ‘bot compadres.

You’re tedious and repetitive. Please say something new…

kim roy on July 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

You mean like “Romney’s gonna kick ASSSSSSSSS!!!! Obama is going down!!!!!!!! Forget the polls, they oversample Democrats!!!! Obama’s a poo poo head Marxist SOB!!!!! And Moochelle is too!!!!!”

You mean to tell me THAT’S not “tedious and repetitive”? I’m thinking for myself. If you like in that comfy little ‘bot echo chamber, good on ya!

ddrintn on July 26, 2012 at 9:23 PM

When your own achievements are based on affirmative action rather than your own abilities you defensively assert that other successful people must likewise have had help to get where they are.

Nomas on July 27, 2012 at 6:56 AM

Comment pages: 1 2 3