Mitt Romney got back some of what he dished out Wednesday from a small business owner in Columbus, Ohio, who said her business couldn’t not have prospered as it has without help from government.
Romney Campaign spokesperson Amanda Henneberg said earlier today that “Business owners are still fuming over President Obama’s out-of-touch comments that denigrated Americans who built their own businesses.” She said it’s not just the President’s words that are hurting job creators, but for “For three and a half years, President Obama has imposed burdensome regulations and higher taxes on small businesses. It’s time for a change – and it’s time for a president who doesn’t devalue the entrepreneurs and innovators who build our economy.”
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One small business owner in Columbus offered a 60 Seconds Ohio reason why she parts company with Romney, the GOP’s all-but-nominated presidential candidate to challenge President Obama this year, on downplaying the big role government plays in the growth of most businesses.
Elizabeth Lessner, whose growing empire of seven eateries includes Surly Girl Saloon in Columbus’ Short North, an entertainment district located between Downtown and The Ohio State University on High Street, pushed back hard on Mitt Romney today, making her case that while business owners like her directly contribute to the growth of their own business in many ways, help from government, whether in the form of public investments in infrastructure likes roads and bridges or from the federal Small Business Administration can not be disputed.
Watch Lessner on 60 Seconds Ohio here.
For the Romney campaign, which included three Ohio companies in its attack on the president’s remarks on the intersection of business and government, the use of government programs and assistance by these companies undercut his case that business doesn’t really need government to prosper.
If Mitt Romney’s campaign in Ohio, where he trails the president by as many as nine points in some polls, wanted to really make its case that business built their business without help from government, the businesses chosen to make their case should have been vetted for the government help that helped them stay in business and grow.
By one account, Columbus Truck and Equipment Owner Ray Mason II, a company that participated in the “We Did Build This” strategy today, is not only registered as a government contractor but was awarded a $3,245 contract by The Department of the Army.
Another one, E.C. Babbert Inc., attributes its long history to working with city, county, state and federal agencies. Company information points to a contract from the City of Columbus as the reason for its successful start, and what saved it fro bankruptcy.
On it’s own Website, E.C. Babbert Inc. touts it’s 45 years of working with government. Contributing to what it called its “road to big success” was a contract awarded by the City of Columbus for concrete barriers downtown.
In light of this information, the Ohio companies used in Romney’s press conference benefited greatly because of government contracts, which undercuts his anti-government argument.
President Obama’s campaign says Romney taking the President’s remarks out of context, falsely suggesting that the President doesn’t value small businesses or the entrepreneurial spirit that built this country, is false on its face.
Lessner, a native of Chicago who said she’s been around the restaurant business for a long time and who once flirted with a career in law, has grown her stable of eateries over the last 16 years, doing the socially responsible thing for employees including paying base workers $10-hour and ladling on job benefits like health care and an Employee Assistance Program, which is out of step for with what many eatery operations offer to workers.
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