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Tue Jul 17, 2012, 11:45 AM

The latest Obama line taken out of context [View all]

Last edited Wed Jul 18, 2012, 09:53 AM - Edit history (1)

“If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

This despicable attack is gaining traction. I've seen "friends" on Facebook posting about this one sentence from Obama's speech and complaining without bothering to read the entire part of the speech that puts it into context.

From ThinkProgress:

Conservatives Selectively Edit Obama's Speech To Claim He Hates Small Businesses


The sound bite soon reverberated throughout conservative media outlets. Fox News later ran the headline, “Obama Insults Small Business Owners,” and House Speaker John Boehner scoffed, “He said that because he has no idea what it takes to build or run a small business.”

The quote also prompted talk show host Rush Limbaugh to declare that President Obama “hates this country.”

Of course, Obama’s supposedly insulting comment is somewhat different in context. The full text of his speech, rather than denigrate small business, challenged the idea that wealthy and successful individuals have never benefited from government programs:

I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.

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. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.

The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.

It is clear to me that in the one sentence they are taking out of context that Obama was literally talking about physically building your business location and how you can't do that alone. He probably should have worded it better but he is NOT saying that others are responsible for the success of your business. How anyone could believe he would say such a thing baffles me, especially when he summed up his point with the following:

"The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."

So, if you see someone posting that one sentence to attack Obama as somehow being anti-business, give them the full section of that speech so they'll know the context. People should form their opinions based on all the information, not a just sound byte of a single sentence taken out of context.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like I did a pretty bad job explaining what Obama meant by this sentence that conservatives are taking out of context. The Obama Truth Team does a much better job of explaining it:

The President’s full remarks show that the “that” in “you didn’t build that” clearly refers to roads and bridges—public infrastructure we count on the government to build and maintain.

They also include facts that show Obama's record clearly prove he is anything but anti-small business.


Next time I'll review the audio of the speech to better analyze based on inflection and not just a written transcript. Or, I'll probably just leave this kind of thing up to the professionals. I think my frustration over seeing someone on FB spread this out-of-context lie got the better of me and I didn't focus as sharply as I should have. Oh well, it's not like anybody Rec'd this mess of an article anyway.

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Reply The latest Obama line taken out of context [View all]
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 OP
Bluerthanblue Jul 2012 #1
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 #2
1StrongBlackMan Jul 2012 #3
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 #4
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 #5
Enrique Jul 2012 #6
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 #7
booley Jul 2012 #8