Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney contrasted his economic philosophy with that of President Obama by using the President’s own statements against him during a campaign stop in southwest Pennsylvania Tuesday afternoon.
Standing in front of a large sign that read “Obama’s Upside-Down Economy” at Horizontal Wireless Services in Irwin, Romney addressed a speech Obama made last week in Roanoke, VA where he said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that,” while speaking on the role of government-funded infrastructure in U.S. commerce.
“I’ve got to be honest: I don’t think anyone could have said what he said who had actually started a business or been in a business,” Romney said. “In my own view, what the president said was both startling and revealing.”
Romney countered Obama’s statement with his own five-point plan to mend the U.S. economy, including loosening regulations on coal, oil and natural gas, improving international trade policies, balancing the federal budget, improving the education system and encouraging “economic freedom.”
Lis Smith, a spokesperson for the Obama campaign, said in a press release that Romney attacks were “over the top” and took the President’s words out of context.
“As President Obama said the other day, those who start businesses succeed because of their individual initiative – their drive, hard work and creativity,” Smith said.
“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.”
Romney also attacked what he called “political cronyism” by Obama, saying the President granted $529 million in loans from the federal government to Fisker, a high-end electric automotive company that donated to Obama’s 2008 campaign. He added that Fisker’s assembly line is in Finland.
“When the government comes in and it becomes based on who you know in government, who is a friend in government – you get money from them, you get taxpayer dollars,” Romney said.
“That’s happening in this country today. I’m ashamed to say that we’re seeing our President hand out money to campaign contributors.”
Following a common theme in his campaign, Romney also addressed what he called an “attack on success” by Obama, saying he would encourage Americans to celebrate prosperity and innovation.
“I don’t want to see Americans ashamed of success. I want Americans to welcome, to celebrate success and encourage people to reach as high as they can,” Romney said.
“I don’t want government taking credit for individuals’ accomplishments, whether they work in government or work in the private sector, it’s the people of America that make America great.”
Republican Senate candidate Tom Smith, who was also an Armstrong County businessman, opened for Romney at the event and said those in attendance had the opportunity to end the decline of the country under Obama and Sen. Bob Casey through their collective effort.
“So, please, keep up the good work. There are long days and nights ahead of us,” Smith said. “But if we work hard, if we work together, we can turn this country around.”