Obama’s Virginia Gaffe Could Prove Costly

President Obama might want to start making friends with American small business owners – and quickly. 

After a rough week for his Republican challenger, the President inexplicably threw Mitt Romney a bone with his now-infamous “you didn’t build that” gaffe, landing him in hot water with business owners. The remark was actually a snippet of a much longer off-the-cuff speech the president delivered to supporters in Roanoke, Virginia last week. Here’s the quote in its entirety:

“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.”

These comments were a generous gift from the President to his critics. Seriously, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that”? The only way that quote could be defended as anything other than an attack on business owners (read: class warfare) would be if it were taken out of context. But as we pointed out last week, the quote actually sums up the President’s whole speech to his Virginian supporters.

If you were gambling that Republicans weren’t going to leverage that, pull your bet. Take a look at this new hard-hitting (and surprisingly upbeat) ad put up by Team Romney:

The furor over “you didn’t build that”  has come out at a bad time for Obama. Small businesses employ 51% of the American workforce. With a re-election bid hinging on jobs and the economy, the President would like to be building bridges with business owners.

Instead, he’s on defense over comments that only serve to reinforce the GOP’s 2012 narrative – that the President is ineffective, out-of-touch, and out of time.

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