It appears the president himself is leading the all-out rebuttal over his ill-fated July 13th words, “You didn’t build that” remark.
He is not only going from one stump speech to another with the familiar war cry of “my words were taken out of context,” but the Democratic National Committee has launched a state-by-state denial of what is fact.
David Axelrod, Obama’s lead strategist, insists the president is “not worried” about the mounting Republican offensive to the surprising remarks – merely informing the voters of the truth.
Whatever the color is in Axelrod’s political world, the Republicans are taking full advantage of comments the president made in Roanoke, Va. two weeks ago. Stunning remarks made without his familiar teleprompter included, “If you’ve got a business – you didn’t build that.”
Whether the Obama team wants to take responsibility for the remarks, it is clear what the president meant. He was telling entrepreneurs and small business owners they need government infrastructure like roads and bridges, investments in education and what Obama called “this unbelievable American system that allowed you to thrive.”
But the “you didn’t build that” remark has becomes the mainstay of Republicans more than happy to paint the liberal commander-in-chief as a hostile foe to business and the private sector as a whole.
The entire incident has provided the most hard-hitting Romney ads yet.
Recent polls show a dramatic dip in support for the president from small business owners. “I was concerned when I saw the initial ad that it might be impactful. I’ve concluded that it’s not all that impactful,” Axelrod wishfully said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
He went on to admit “… the ad that we did in response got a very good response in the kind of testing that we did,” Axelrod quipped, contending the counterattack would “brush them (Republicans) back.”
In truth, the off-the-cuff honesty of Obama during the Roanoke speech has not been missed by shocked business owners throughout the country. The comments were the reason the phrase “letting the Genie out of the bottle” were invented.
If this was indeed a blip on the radar screen of a long campaign, the Democrats have been spending a lot of money and effort discounting it. Only time will tell just how damaging the remarks will be to Obama’s chances of re-election.
Campaigning last week in the State of Washington, the president again refuted his own comments and attempted his form of clarification.
“I have to tell you, I generally have patience with what the other side says about me. That’s the requirement of this job. And if you don’t like folks talking about you, you probably shouldn’t run for president. The one thing I do have no patience for is this argument that somehow what I’m criticizing is success. That’s an argument you hear from the other side: ‘Oh, he wants to punish success.’ I want to promote success,” he said.
A spokesman for the Republican National Committee Communications commented that his remarks were causing “a little bit of panic in Chicago right now.” He was referring of course to the headquarters for President Obama’s campaign.
The ill-fated remarks could not have come at a worse time for the campaign. As the economic news on all fronts in July has been flat at best and dismal in most cases, castigating the very people suffering the heaviest losses provides lasting energy in campaign ads and the minds of voters all the way to November.
Far more damaging than remarks made last week in Great Britain about Mitt Romney’s critique of their Olympics.
No brutal campaign ads there.
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