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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.


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