DENVER (CBS4) – As Mitt Romney prepares to visit Colorado this week the campaigns have been arguing over a remark President Barack Obama made about small businesses.
The economy will likely be the topic when Romney visits this Thursday and the numbers aren’t good. But the president isn’t doing anyone any favors either when he makes remarks that some small business owners see as an insult.
Republicans have branded the president as big-government and anti-business, and lately he’s playing right into that.
“If you’re successful, you didn’t get there on your own,” Obama said. “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
From ads to press conferences Republicans are having a field day with the president’s “you didn’t build it” blunder as Democrats move to do damage control.
“I did build my business, Mr. President, you didn’t,” Martin Mendez with Splash Publications said.
“The message was taken out of context,” Former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb said.
The Obama camp says the president was talking about government-funded things like roads and teachers and how they’d helped entrepreneurs.
“The other part of the broader message was about how collectively we work together,” Webb said.
But on the heels of his “the private sector is doing fine” gaffe, he’s paying for it.
“To me the statement he made truly demonstrates to me that this president doesn’t have an appreciation for what it takes to start or run a business,” said Jack Davis, owner of Advance Surface Technologies in Arvada.
Davis is among dozens of small business owners across the country calling the president out.
“I think he thinks the government is the one that subsidizes everything that gets started, and it isn’t,” Dick Robinson with Robinson Dairy said.
As Republicans rushed to stick the big government label on the president, Democrats paraded out their own small business owners.
“I don’t think that Barack Obama was saying that small business owners didn’t do this on own,” a Colorado business owner said. “I was think he was actually reaching out to the community saying, ‘We’re here to help.’ ”
The problem is he left it open for interpretation, and in politics it’s fair game.