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When President Obama said, “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that”, the word “that” referred to roads and bridges, not businesses.

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Welcome to  Today we are stepping away from our usual focus on facts for a quick focus on your opinion relating to the President's recent "You didn't build that..." statement.  In an article from the Washington Post, we read an argument about that now viral statement which argues that the Romney camp wrongfully distorts Mr. Obama's meaning.

First, here is the now viral statement by Barack Obama:

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

According to Ezra Klain at the Washington Post, here is the problem with the Romney ad:

" Romney’s ad, “that” refers to “building a business.” In Obama’s remarks, “that” refers to the roads and bridges."

Klein argues that President Obama's use of the word, "that", did not mean your business, it meant the roads and bridges.  To look more closely at the arguments from both sides, let's remove the word "that" and replace it with the words each side claims "that" is supposed to mean:

The Obama side:  "If you've got a business, you didn't build the roads and bridges.  Somebody else made the roads and bridges happen."


The Romney side:  "If you've got a business, you didn't build your business.  Somebody else made your business happen."

But to further help you construct the vote we hope you cast here at VoteFacts, we are also providing you with both written and video versions of what President Obama said in larger context for you to process it all.  The video is above, and here is the written text:

"In fact, you know what, I'm not gonna' see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don't need 'em.  So I'm gonna' reduce the deficit in a balanced way.  We've already made a trillion dollars worth of cuts, we can make another trillion too, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more.  And by the way, we've tried that before.  A guy named Bill Clinton did it.  We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus and rich people did just fine.  We created a lot of millionaires and billionaires, and you know there are a lot of wealthy successful Americans who agree with me 'cuz they wanna' give somethin' back.  They know that if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own, ya didn't get there on your own.  I'm always struck by people who think, well it must be 'cuz I was just so smart.  Well there are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Well let me tell ya somethin', there are a whole bunch of hard workin' 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 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 of the companies could make money on the internet.  The point is is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative but also because we do things together.  There are some things just like fighting fire we don't do on our own..."

Now cast your vote and let us know which side feels right to you.

Past Posts

To refresh on facts from the 1990's, the budget surplus, and Mr. Obama's budget proposal and deficit reduction, visit our Fast Facts section and scroll through the Federal Spending topic and click these links below to read and cast your vote on this Fact or Fiction posts:

President Obama's budget request in February sought $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade through a combination of spending cuts and tax hikes.

President Obama's budget proposal would have stopped the credit card running up.

The Washington Post is a registered trademark of WP Company, LLC, Washington, DC

VoteFacts Original Post Date:  circa July 26, 2012

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Voting Key

Fact = 100% - 92% True
Mostly Fact = 91% - 75% True
Slightly Fact = 74% - 60% True
Split = 59% - 50% True
Slightly Fiction = 49% - 30% True
Mostly Fiction = 29% - 10% True
Fiction = 9% - 0% True