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Romney’s ‘You Didn’t Build That’ Attack Ad Stars Businessman Who Received Millions in Government Money

By Aviva Shen on July 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm

"Romney’s ‘You Didn’t Build That’ Attack Ad Stars Businessman Who Received Millions in Government Money"

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After the conservative blogosphere used a selectively edited Obama campaign speech to suggest that the president belittled the achievements of small business owners, the Romney campaign released an attack ad featuring New Hampshire small business owner Jack Gilchrist as a counterpoint.

In “These Hands,” the Romney campaign repeated the out-of-context quote, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else did that.” Jack Gilchrist, the owner of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating in Hudson, New Hampshire, incredulously asks, “My father’s hands didn’t build this company? My hands didn’t build this company? My son’s hands aren’t building this company? …Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it?”

In context, Obama’s speech was not “demonizing” small business owners but simply challenging the idea that wealthy and successful individuals have never benefited from government services.

And, as it turns out, Jack Gilchrist is no different. The New Hampshire Union Leader reports today that Gilchrist benefited from millions of dollars of government loans and contracts to get his business on its feet:

In 1999, Gilchrist Metal received $800,000 in tax-exempt revenue bonds issued by the New Hampshire Business Finance Authority “to set up a second manufacturing plant and purchase equipment to produce high definition television broadcasting equipment,” according to a New Hampshire Union Leader report at the time…

Last year, Gilchrist Metal also received two U.S. Navy sub-contracts totaling about $83,000 and a smaller $5,600 Coast Guard contract in 2008, according to a government web site that tracks spending.

Gilchrist wisely took advantage of these funds, which help small businesses like his survive in their early years. He also took a U.S. Small Business Administration loan in the late 1980s totaling “somewhere south of” $500,000, plus matching funds from the federally-funded New England Trade Adjustment Assistance Center.

In a lesson on basic government spending that Romney himself could learn from, Gilchrist succinctly explained: “I’m not going to turn a blind eye because the money came from the government. As far as I’m concerned, I’m getting some of my tax money back. I’m not stupid, I’m not going to say ‘no.’ Shame on me if I didn’t use what’s available.”

Watch the Romney ad:

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