Mitt Romney doubled down on his characterization of President Obama as a “foreigner” during an interview with CNBC’s Larry Kudlow Monday afternoon, insisting that the president believes that the government is responsible for the success of entrepreneurs and small businesses.
Romney’s comments continue to misrepresent Obama’s remarks at a July 17th event, during which Obama suggested that society as a whole contributes to the economic accomplishments of the individual. Republicans have seized on the remarks to advance the myth that the president espouses an “un American” governing philosophy:
KUDLOW: Why do you think President Obama, what did he mean, if you’ve got a business, you didn’t build it, someone else made that happen? He claims it’s being taken out of context. What do you think it means? Do you think this is Obama anti-business, anti-entrepreneur? Or do you think maybe he has been treated unfairly? [...]
ROMNEY: This is an ideology which says hey, we’re all the same here, we ought to take from all and give to one another and that achievement, individual initiative and risk-taking and success are not to be rewarded as they have in the past. It’s a very strange and in some respects foreign to the American experience type of philosophy. We have always been a nation that has celebrated success of various kinds. The kid that gets the honor roll, the individual worker that gets a promotion, the person that gets a better job. And in fact, the person that builds a business. And by the way, if you have a business and you started it, you did build it. And you deserve credit for that. It was not built for you by government…. So his whole philosophy is an upside-down philosophy that does not comport with the American experience.
In reality, Obama’s contention that — “when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together” — is something Romney himself has agreed with. For instance, during his speech at the Opening Ceremonies of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Romney said, “You Olympians, however, know you didn’t get here solely on your own power. For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions.”
He echoed the same sentiment last week, saying, “I know that you recognize a lot of people help you in a business. Perhaps the bank, the investors. There is no question your mom and dad, your school teachers. The people who provide roads, the fire, the police. A lot of people help.”