There are a series of press events being held by surrogates of the 2012 presidential candidates across Iowa Wednesday, where lawmakers and business owners are debating the comment by President Barack Obama that some have said is insulting to entrepreneurs.
Said Obama, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
Alta business owner Rob Hach came to Sioux City to speak on behalf of the Obama administration on the need to extend wind energy production tax credits that expire at the end of 2012. Hach was asked about Obama's remarks, and said people have missed the full meaning of the president's point that everyone is aided by others as they go through life.
Hach said people who run businesses were aided by a parent who pushed them to succeed in school, while his Anemometry Specialists business was helped through a Small Business Administration loan to buy a building.
"I have a great bank. I completely agree with business owners can't do it on their own," said Hach, a Republican who has decided to vote for Obama after meeting with him twice in Iowa since September 2011. (He also plans to vote for Republican Steve King in the Iowa 4th District congressional race, rather than backing Democrat Christie Vilsack.)
Former Iowa Lt. Gov. Patty Judge, who participated in the press conference with Hach, said Republicans are taking the Obama statement out of context.
Republicans affiliated with the campaign of presumptive candidate Mitt Romney are holding three "We Did Build This" events to address Obama's "insulting" claim about businesses. In a preview, one of the speakers, Rob Gettemy (an eastern Iowa businessman who unsuccessfully ran for the U.S. House in 2010) said the comment told him Obama “truly has a world view that says the power of the state is more important than the power of the individual.”
The "We Did Build This" events are taking place in Davenport, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines (and in other states), while the Judge/Hach events are moving onto Storm Lake and Emmetsburg stops in Northwest Iowa later in the day.
On the Wednesday Sioux City Journal editorial page, Karen Heidman, of Sioux City, wrote to let people know the full passage Obama spoke on the topic:
"If you are 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."
Heidman said Obama may have used "inartful" language, but he wasn't being malicious.