You didn't build that

from edit revision

Template:Article for deletion/dated Template:Use dmy dates Template:POV

"You didn't build that" is a phrase from an election campaign speech delivered by President Barack Obama on 13 July 2012 in Roanoke, Virginia. The phrase was publicized by his political opponents, and has been described as a meme.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref name="CohenGuardian">Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Although the speech became known by that phrase,<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Obama was speaking about the ways in which successful businesses rely on both individual initiative and public infrastructure,<ref name="CSPAN">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="">Template:Cite news</ref><ref name="LAT18JUL12">Template:Cite news</ref><ref name="OB17JUL12">Template:Cite web</ref> stating in part: Template:Quote

The line "If you've got a business—you didn't build that" generated controversy when Mitt Romney's campaign and conservatives quickly disseminated it across the conservative political blogosphere. Conservative commentators were critical of what they viewed as Obama's support for big government.<ref name="washingtonpost-problem">Template:Cite news</ref> Fact-checking organizations<ref name="EK24JUL12">Template:Cite web</ref><ref name="PF25JUL12">Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref> and commentators were critical of what they viewed as misrepresentations of Obama's speech by the Romney campaign.<ref name="HP30JULY12" /><ref name="NYT27JUL12" /><ref name="TRMS24JUL12" />

The Romney campaign used the phrase "you didn't build that", taken from Obama's speech, to create an election advertisement;<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> The Obama campaign said that the statement was taken out of context, having "that" appear to refer to the person's business instead of "roads and bridges", and called the ads "flat out wrong".<ref name=""/><ref name="LAT18JUL12"/><ref name="OB17JUL12"/><ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref>


In August 2011, while contemplating a run for the U.S. Senate, former White House financial reform adviser Elizabeth Warren gave a fiery defense of liberal economic theory at an event in Andover, Massachusetts.<ref name="HP20120730">Template:Cite news</ref> On 21 September, a video of Warren making the case for progressive economics received attention on the Internet and became a viral video.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In the video, Warren aggressively rebuts the argument that asking the rich to pay more taxes is "class warfare",<ref>Elizabeth Warren speaking in Andover, Massachusetts on Debt Crisis and Fair Taxation</ref> by pointing out that no one grew rich in America without depending on government services paid for by the rest of society.<ref name="PhilyInquirer20120730">Template:Cite news</ref> Warren said:<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>


Obama later echoed her thoughts when he spoke in Roanoke about how private businesses rely on government investments in infrastructure.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

In her victory speech on November 6, 2012, Elizabeth Warren made a callback, stating it had been "an amazing campaign, and let me be clear, I didn't build that, you built that." <ref>Democrat Warren Tops Brown In Mass. Senate Race WBUR Fred Thys November 6, 2012 Updated Nov 07,</ref>


On a campaign swing through Virginia, Obama stopped in Roanoke to speak to supporters.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In his remarks Obama noted that while he was willing to cut government waste, he would not gut investments that grow the economy or give tax breaks to millionaires like himself or Mitt Romney.<ref name="PhilyInquirer20120730" /> Obama went on to say that rich people did not get rich solely due to their own talent and hard work, but that, to varying degrees, they owe some of their success to good fortune and the contributions of government.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Obama said in this context: Template:Quote

Obama then cited the funding of the G.I. Bill, the creation of the middle class, the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam, creation of the Internet, and landing on the moon as examples of what he was talking about.<ref name="PhilyInquirer20120730" />


Template:Overly detailed

Although the remark was not initially seen as significant, it soon gained traction,<ref name="WP18JUL12AB">Template:Cite news</ref> and it became a hashtag on Twitter.<ref name="LAT18JUL12" /> According to David Weigel of Slate, the first news story regarding the speech was done by Fox News.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Additionally, the statement "You didn't build that" has become a meme with multiple images using it on the internet.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Fact-checking said that the Romney campaign and Republicans have used quotations from the speech out of context, failing to include Obama's remarks about how infrastructure and education promote business success. In an update to the post, responses from the Obama campaign were added, explaining the president's intended meanings of infrastructure and education. said "We don't know what the president had in mind when he uttered those words, and his intent is not clear. Regardless, our conclusion is the same: Taking snippets of his speech ignores the larger context of the president's meaning that a business owner does not become successful 'on your own.'" Romney was commended, however, for acknowledging Obama's wider context in a 17 July campaign speech Romney gave criticizing Obama's "You didn't build that" remark.<ref name="EK24JUL12"/>

Politifact also criticized Romney advertisements, saying that the Romney campaign, "cherry-picked a quote that made it sound like Obama was dismissive of businesses when in fact he was making a point that success comes from the combination of 'individual initiative' and the fact that 'we do things together'", and that by doing so "Romney and his supporters have misled viewers and given a false impression."<ref name="PF25JUL12"/>

Political commentators

Template:Undue An opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal on 17 July 2012 stated that the speech is a "burst of ideological candor" and that the statement meant that "the self-made man is an illusion".<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> In another Wall Street Journal piece, James Taranto wrote that "The president's remark was a direct attack on the principle of individual responsibility, the foundation of American freedom."<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Later Kimberley Strassel, wrote that the portion of the speech that spoke about Obama's views on the relationship between business and government was similar to statements made by Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and that the effect of the speech was to "suck away the president's momentum".<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

In The Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin wrote that the statement showed that Obama "revealed a level of resentment toward the private sector that was startling, even to his critics", and that the speech reflects that "the anti-business assaults become the campaign. Meanwhile, his affection for government becomes a chip on his shoulder, prompting him to dare those private-sector wise guys to deny the centrality of government in their success."<ref name="JR24JUL12">Template:Cite news</ref> Later, Glenn Kessler said that the Obama statement was taken out of context and that he was speaking about infrastructure.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

In The Atlantic, Andrew Cline wrote that what Obama said was an "enormous controversy – a philosophical rewriting of the American story" and that "With his Roanoke speech, Obama turned Jefferson on his head. In Obama's formulation, government is not a tool for the people's use, but the very foundation upon which all of American prosperity is built. Government is not dependent upon the people; the people are dependent upon the government." This, Cline writes, is fundamentally non-Jeffersonian.<ref name="AC10AUG12">Template:Cite news</ref> Earlier in the same publication, Clive Crook wrote that Obama's statements did not mean what his critics wrote they meant, but that the caricature resonates due to it being recognizable as part of his theme of the "rich aren't paying their fair share".<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Jonah Goldberg, in the National Review, wrote that Obama's "gaffe" was at best truism, and the reason for Obama's supporters attacking others, for taking Obama's words and progressive roots seriously, is because they do not portray Obama as a pragmatist and a moderate.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

Guy Benson, on, wrote that the Romney campaign did not take Obama's words out of context since "Obama essentially posits that no private or individual success is possible in America without the government's help."<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Rachael Larimore, in Slate, wrote that it does not matter what Obama meant to say, as conservatives heard "You didn't get credit for your hard work" and even with the context of the entire speech, the reaction would be largely the same, more importantly it resonated with small-business owners.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Rush Limbaugh has commented that business owners did build the roads and bridges through their taxes, and that Obama wants to socialize private profit.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Mark Levin, in reaction to the speech, said that Obama was "disrespecting the American people" and that "he despises the capitalist system."<ref>Template:Cite video</ref> Josh Barro, in Bloomberg, wrote that Obama's speech was needlessly insulting, and that the statement resonates badly with people of all income levels; later he quoted Sam Seaborn in the television show The West Wing in regards to progressive taxation.<ref name="Bloom30JUL12">Template:Cite news</ref>

In researching the 2002 Winter Olympics, NBC News' Domenico Montanaro found that Romney made a similar statement during his speech during those game's opening ceremony, where he said: Template:Quote

In The Huffington Post, Michael Smerconish wrote that the Romney campaign did take the words out of context, and that the message of the importance of social contracts were better worded by Elizabeth Warren.<ref name="HP30JULY12">Template:Cite news</ref> Nelson Davis, president of Nelson Davis Productions, rebuked the conservatives' take on what Obama had said in Roanoke, saying that the reason why the United States has become great is due to business and government working together.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Keeping with the "You didn't build that" meme, Alan Colmes wrote that Romney will not have sewed his suit, would not have built the stage used during the 2012 Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, and that his success at Bain Capital would not have been possible without government assistance.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Additionally, Anthony Gregory of The Independent Institute, wrote that the implication of the speech was "The state protects business interests so taxpayers have a partial claim on the wealth produced."<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Michael Cohen writing for the Guardian stated that the Republican's usage of the phrase exemplifies that they "not only toil in their own narrowly and misleadingly constructed world, but really are just making stuff up."<ref name="CohenGuardian" />

In the New York Magazine, Jonathan Chait wrote that Romney use of the words from the Roanoke speech as a "plan of blatantly lying" about it, and the reason why it works is because of a "broader subtext" of the speech due to Obama not using his normal voice, but speaking with a "black dialect".<ref name="NYT27JUL12">Template:Cite news</ref> In Bloomberg Businessweek, Charles Kenny of the Center for Global Development also criticized the Romney campaign for taking the word out of context, and went on to state that American businesses benefit from infrastructure, and other elements of the "system" that Obama was speaking about in the speech.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Media Matters has made several post targeting Fox News,<ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and other news source who they view as using Obama's words out of context through "deceptive" editing.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Ezra Klein, on The Rachel Maddow Show, said that the political statements made in the Roanoke speech, were not particularly controversial and that people rely on others and themselves.<ref name="TRMS24JUL12">Template:Cite news</ref>

Comedic commentators

On The Daily Show, a news satire program, Jon Stewart said that the Romney campaign was centering its campaign on a grammatical misstep taken out of context;<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref> he additionally said that both campaigns are guilty of focusing on gaffes.<ref name="LAT26JUL12MB">Template:Cite news</ref> On The Colbert Report, another news satire program, Stephen Colbert, keeping with the theme of the Obama quote used by the Romney campaign, attempted to do a segment of the program as a one man show using an iPhone, desk lamp, and a whiteboard.<ref name="LAT26JUL12MB" /><ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref> On The Tonight Show, Jay Leno during his opening monologue made a play on Obama's statement in regards to unemployment.<ref>Template:Cite video</ref> Additionally, the controversy created by the speech has become the subject of numerous editorial cartoons.<ref>Template:Cite web</ref>

Romney campaign

The following Monday, 16 July, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney spoke about the "you didn't build that" statement in a campaign stump speech.<ref name="LAT18JUL12" /> The following day, Romney rebuffed Obama's statement in Pennsylvania by saying: Template:Quote This was followed by campaign events with small business owners in multiple states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Missouri, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada);<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> two small business owners who spoke at one of the campaign events in Florida have government contracts.<ref name="tb-times-built">Template:Cite news</ref> A new part of the Romney campaign website was created,<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> and merchandise related to the statement was produced.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>

The second day of the 2012 Republican National Convention was themed "We Built It" as both a celebration of small businesses and an attack on Obama's comments.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref name="SFC27AUG12">Template:Cite news</ref> Salon, Political Wire, and a humor website later commented on the fact that the stadium where the GOP hosted the "We Built It" theme at the convention was constructed using 62% taxpayer financing.<ref>Template:Cite webTemplate:Self-published source</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref><ref>Template:Cite web</ref> Country music singer Lane Turner also performed a song at the event inspired from the speech called "I Built It".<ref name="SFC27AUG12" /><ref>Template:Cite video</ref>

Obama campaign

On 17 July 2012, the Obama campaign stated that the statement was taken out of context,<ref name="OB17JUL12" /> and as the statement gained traction the campaign ran new ads in multiple states (Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Nevada) where the President directly counter's Romney's claims.<ref name="AP29JUL12">Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite video</ref> In the ad Obama says while looking directly at the camera: Template:Quote While speaking at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon, on 24 July,<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Obama rebuked the Romney campaign by saying: Template:Quote

Debra Krause-McDonnell, who owns a business used in the Obama ad, requested that footage of her store be removed from the ad; its TV run ended, but the footage of her store in the ad can still be viewed on YouTube.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref> At a campaign event in Iowa, a caterer of the event wore a t-shirt saying "Government Didn't Build My Business, I Did," later explaining, "No one from the government was there when we were sweating it, when we were building this business."<ref>Template:Cite news</ref><ref>Template:Cite news</ref> Due to the speech at Roanoke, a small-business bakery in Virginia declined Vice President Biden's request to make a campaign stop there.<ref>Template:Cite news</ref>



External links

Template:Barack Obama Template:United States presidential election, 2012