Words are interesting things. With the proper editing software, you can make anyone say anything. Like when Mitt Romney took a small portion of President Obama’s talk about the importance of infrastructure and turned it into an ad in which Romney slams the president for telling small business owners they didn’t build their own businesses.
Very tricky. Yes, he said the words, but no, not in the context Romney uses them in his ad. Very sly, this Romney.
But he might have done a better job vetting the actors he chose for the commercial. It turns out that one of them, Jack Gilchrist, the owner of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson, New Hampshire… you remember him, right? He’s the guy who seemed shocked and repulsed by Obama’s “remarks.”
“My father’s hands didn’t build this company? My hands didn’t build this company? My son’s hands aren’t building this company? …Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it?”
Hard work, a little bit of luck, and nearly a million bucks of taxpayer money that is, according to Think Progress.
The New Hampshire Union Leader reports today that Gilchrist benefited from millions of dollars of government loans and contracts to get his business on its feet:
In 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority “to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment,” according to a New Hampshire Union Leader report at the time…
Last year, Gilchrist Metal also received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008, according to a government web site that tracks spending.
Gilchrist wisely took advantage of these funds, which help small businesses like his survive in their early years. He also took a U.S. Small Business Administration loan in the late 1980s totaling “somewhere south of” $500,000, plus matching funds from the federally-funded New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.
When asked about the apparent hypocrisy of scolding Obama for “saying” that “he didn’t build his own business” while accepting government handouts, Gilchrist didn’t see a problem.
In a lesson on basic government spending that Romney himself could learn from, Gilchrist succinctly explained: “I’m not going to turn a blind eye because the money came from the government. As far as I’m concerned, I’m getting some of my tax money back. I’m not stupid, I’m not going to say ‘no.’ Shame on me if I didn’t use what’s available.”
Indeed, Mr. Gilchrist.
Shame on you.