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Did Romney Have a 'You Didn't Build That' Moment?


"You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power."

President Barack Obama's gaffe suggesting that businessmen "didn't build" their own success has become one of the more viral symbols of the President's lack of sympathy with the private sector. Given that this year's election is likely to be fought over the economy, that is not a good thing for a sitting President to express.

Given this problem, those supporting the President face a thorny issue. Typically one of the easiest ways to get out of a gaffe your candidate made is to find an equivalent gaffe by an opponent. But anyone who thinks Mitt Romney was ever persuaded to trash private enterprise would be laughed out of a volunteer position. So they have to dig a little deeper, and according to RealClearPolitics, they may have found something that could work. From Romney's speech at the 2002 Olympics comes this quote, dug up by MSNBC:

Now, before you start ripping the comparison apart, give MSNBC credit. This is a creative parallel. However, it's also a fatally flawed one. Romney very clearly gives the Olympians credit for their own attributes in this clip - something Obama actively disparages in the one floating around of him.

Moreover, even if you assume that both Obama and Romney have said peoples' individual attributes take a back seat to the contributions of others and ignore what the quotes involved actually say about that, compare what the messages being sold here are. According to Obama, people achieve great things because of the government. According to Romney, people achieve great things because of their communities and families. It's not a stretch to figure out which of those two messages is more likely to appeal to the majority of voters.

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