President Barack Obama’s remarks in a Roanoke speech last week in which he tied the infrastructure of government to individual business success is drawing fire from business groups, who have joined Mitt Romney and conservatives in outrage over the remarks, Fox News reported.
In a speech to supporters in Roanoke, Va., on Friday, Obama said, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business. you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said the remarks "reflect just how unqualified he is to lead us to a real economic recovery.”
"They are also insulting to the hardworking entrepreneurs, small-business owners, and job creators who are the backbone of our economy," she said in an e-mail, Fox News reported.
The Heritage Foundation posted on its blog that the remarks were a “slap in the face to hard-working Americans and conveyed Obama’s belief that it takes a village — a heavily subsidized village — to create that venture you’re profiting from.”
David Chavern, chief operating officer of the Chamber of Commerce, said the business owners should not be denigrated but applauded.
"We should applaud the risk-takers and the dreamers who are willing to stand out from the crowd," Chavern said in a Chamber blog. "Rather than denigrate what these people have done, we need to encourage more people to be like them."
The National Federation of Independent Business said the president's "unfortunate remarks over the weekend show an utter lack of understanding and appreciation for the people who take a huge personal risk and work endless hours to start a business and create jobs," Fox News reported.
"I'm sure every small-business owner who took a second mortgage on their home, maxed out their credit cards or borrowed money from their own retirement savings to start their business disagrees strongly with President Obama's claim. They know that hard work does matter," the group said.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt defended the comment.
"As President Obama said, those who start businesses succeed because of their individual initiative — their drive, hard work, and creativity," LaBolt said in a statement, reported by Fox News. "But there are critical actions we must take to support businesses and encourage new ones — that means we need the best infrastructure, a good education system, and affordable, domestic sources of clean energy. Those are investments we make not as individuals, but as Americans, and our nation as a whole benefits from them."
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