Galvanized by Obama’s remark that “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” about a dozen business owners, executives and GOP U.S. Senate candidate Tom Smith rallied in the capitol rotunda just before lunch expressing personal offense at the president’s comment.
David Cranston, president of Cranston Material Handling Equipment Corporation in Allegheny County, was brought to tears as he discussed the affect operating a small business can have on a family.
“I can tell you Mr. President, you have not talked to the spouses of business owners across this country, or you would not have made the the incredible statement you made suggesting business owners have not worked hard,” Cranston said as his eyes welled up and then a lone tear trickled down his right cheek.
Obama has pushed back to the Romney campaign’s characterization of his remarks, arguing his opponent twisted his words intended to highlight the role government plays in providing the infrastructure for successful businesses, such as roads, bridges and schools.
But the local Romney surrogates, part of a coordinated campaign offensive in 24 locations across the nation, rejected the president’s revision.
“Government didn’t do that,” said Kevin Shivers, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses. “Those were services that were built by contractors and others who paid taxes, and those taxes were created out of wealth. That wealth was derived from a job. That job was made available by the job creator. And that job creator spent sleepless nights trying to figure out how they were going to make payroll.”
Obama forces arranged a hasty response on the capitol steps. Rob Teplitz, the Democratic nominee in the 15th District state senate race, volleyed back on the Romney campaign claims.
“If the Romney campaign is going to distort the president’s record, and distort what he said, then we’re out here trying to tell the truth,” said Teplitz. “And the truth is that he has fought for small businesses and middle class families in a way that few other presidents have and that a president Romney certainly would not.”