Politifact doubles down on defense of “you didn’t build that” in ‘Lie of the Year’ list

Mitt Romney’s criticism of President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remark has somehow made Politifact’s annual list of nominees for 2012 Lie of the Year.

“President Obama was saying success ‘is the result of government,’ not ‘hard-working people,’ when he said, ‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen,’ ” Romney said in a web video criticizing Obama’s infamous statement.

When Romney initially pounced on Obama’s comment in appearances and campaign ads, Politifact came to the President’s defense, claiming the GOP presidential candidate had taken the comment out of context. They dubbed Romney’s response as “False.”

In their truth assessment, Politifact acknowledged that Obama did say, ”If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” However, the fact-checking website disagreed with Romney’s interpretation of Obama’s speech, and therefore Romney is a liar.

But those were the President’s exact words – “you didn’t build that.” And while President Obama might have been trying to make an overarching point about how government and individuals work together to achieve success, he still discounted the individual in his small business example. He gave the government all the credit and insulted small business owners across the country.

Romney’s statement is one of ten “lies” from the 2012 campaign season that Politifact has selected as a ‘Lie of the Year’ finalist, with the “the most significant falsehood of 2012″ to be chosen by the Politifact editors and reporters. The public can also vote for the Readers’ Choice Award, in which write-ins are accepted.

Politifact does not have the current voting results available on their website, so it is impossible to tell which “lie” the public believes to be the biggest of the year. But with other nominees such as Priorities USA Action’s lie that Romney and Bain Capital are responsible for the death of former Bain employee Joe Soptic’s wife, it hardly seems fair for Romney’s criticism of Obama’s “you didn’t build that” speech to top the list (or be on the list at all). But then again, this is Politifact, so one of Romney’s statements on the list is almost guaranteed to win, regardless of the veracity of the statement.

Francesca Chambers contributed to this report.

Comments

Comments

  1. Alexy1214 says:

    1. Dwelling on this quote any further is a waste of time

    2. You are still taking the quote out of context, which was the entire point of the politi-fact ruling

    1. Ace says:

      False: if you listen to the speech in its entirety, it discredits small business owners even more. The “you think your smart” and the “you think you work hard” only add to the class warfare attack. These words all coming from a man who says full time employment is 32 hours a week. I agree that it is pointless to regurgitate the quote, but don’t insult everyone’s intelligence by saying it was taken out of context. The fact is: if he’s talking about rich people not building roads or schools like the “out of contexters” would like you to believe, he is dead wrong about that. The top 10% pay 70% of the tax burden and the top ~49% pay 100% of the tax, so actually they did build all of the things in this country.

      1. Alexy1214 says:

        Not true at all. I will quote the full excerpt.

        “There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me – because they want to give something back. They know they didn’t – look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart. There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something – there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. (Applause.)

        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 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.

        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 fires, we don’t do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires”

        He was specifically talking about how business don’t build roads, bridges, etc. For the most part that is a true statement. Our tax dollars are used to build this infrastructure, but the initial act of building roads is performed primarily by the government. The main crux of the speech was about how we need to work together (i.e. government and private sector) to solve our nations problems. You may disagree with this sentiment, but that is a different debate

        “The “you think your smart” and the “you think you work hard” only add to the class warfare attack.”

        This is completely off base. Within the context of the speech, he was talking about the importance of a mentor, the people in your life (parents, teacher, etc..) who help you along the way. This is no way represents a “class warfare” attack. The very phrase “class warfare” is just a media smokescreen that distracts from the real issues and replaces real news with ideological dogma. Liberals and Conservatives news outlets and politicians are quite good at this.

        You can completely disagree with the speech. I have no problem with that. But there is no denying that Romney ripped the quote “you didn’t build that” out of context and used it for political purposes. In all honesty, Obama has committed similar acts. It’s the way political campaigns work. To continue to get worked up over semantic “he said she said” nonsense just goes to show how far our political dialogue has fallen.

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