If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that


Someone who doesn’t listen carefully, posted this snippet of the President’s remarks in Roanoke Virginia.


If you have a hard time catching what the President said, match it up with this transcript from the White House web site.  The transcript seems accurate to me.

 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.

I started to hunt this down, when a certain Boston newspaper reported Mitt Romney mocking the phrase, “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”  It took them over 20 column inches before they  put some context around the phrase:

In Virginia, Obama’s blunt “you didn’t build that” was accompanied by, “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.”

For several days, I have taken The Boston Globe at its word  and had to admit that Obama did not state his case very well.  Reading more in the UK Guardian made me start to have doubts about even the Globe’s belated attempt to set the record straight.  So I finally found the video and transcript above.

Nothing in the whole Boston Globe article makes it clear that in the quote “If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that.”, the word that does not refer to the business.  It refers to the roads and bridges that the business person most assuredly did not build.

Even the person who posted the video clip still managed to misinterpret what the President said.  If you want to believe the President said it the way Mitt Romney and The Boston Globe imply that he did, then there is nothing I can do to stop you.

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