This morning I participated in a media phone call organized by the Romney campaign. It was led by John Sununu and focused on President Obama’s astonishing claim that “If you got a business—you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.” Sununu was joined by four small business owners.
Sununu was nuclear. He said that Obama’s comments show three related things: 1) The President doesn’t understand how America and business work. No wonder his administration has failed to create jobs. 2) Obama’s crony capitalism: he thinks the way to create jobs is for the government to pick winners and losers, and slide money to Obama’s bundlers and allies. 3) Obama’s attitude toward small business also reflects where he comes from, the “murky political world” of Chicago where politicians and felons are interchangeable.
Sununu wrapped up by saying that not only were Obama’s comments insulting to entrepreneurs, they show he has no idea how the economy functions. He said he wished Obama would learn how to be an American.
Sununu then introduced four small business people, all of whom did a great job of pushing back against Obama’s casual dismissal of their hard work. Kyle Koehler and his brothers and sisters own a tool and die company in Ohio. He pointed out that if all it took to have a successful business is a road in front of your building, as Obama seems to believe, then everyone would have one. Instead, building a small business requires, more than anything else, sacrifice. Koehler and his family went without new cars, vacations and so on so that they could reinvest money in their business. In the end, the business succeeded and has paid millions of dollars in taxes as well as millions in payrolls. Obama, he said, is ignorant. The government is getting a free ride on the backs of businesses, not the other way around.
David Napier owns a catering business in Richmond. He noted that Obama doesn’t seem to understand that 100% of the government’s revenue comes from business activity. Who does he think paid for all of those roads and bridges? Government is entirely dependent on business, not the other way around.
Jerry Pierce said he was insulted by Obama’s ignorant comments. Obama has no idea what it takes to start a business. When Pierce began his, his first office was a door he laid across two filing cabinets and a single phone line. He got no help from the government, nor was there ever a community organizer helping him. Pierce took out a second mortgage on his house, gave up vacations and sacrificed to build his business. We need a new president; Mitt Romney understands business.
The last small business person was Renee Amoore, who owns a health care and business consulting firm in Pennsylvania. She was white-hot, her voice quivering with anger. Where did Obama get his comments, she asked. She is blessed, but she is blessed because she has sacrificed. Obama’s statement is reprehensible, he doesn’t know what is going on. He doesn’t understand business or the economy. Romney understands business because he has lived it. People think that because I am an African-American woman I am supposed to vote for Obama, she said. Well, I have been an African-American woman for a long time, and I’m not voting for him. 23 million Americans are out of work and incomes are falling. I’m working hard, Obama isn’t. He doesn’t know what hard work is. Her husband suffers from ALS, and she is her family’s sole support. I need Mitt Romney, she said. Hope and change? I’m hoping for a change.
It is hard to imagine a more hard-hitting presentation. I would love to see every one of these business owners featured in a commercial. Ms. Amoore, in particular, would be a sensation. So when Sununu and the business owners had spoken, the floor was opened up for questions.
The first question came from Joe Varden of the Columbus Dispatch: Can you clarify your comment about Sununu learning to be an American? Sununu: I meant that Obama needs to learn the American formula for creating business — not for government to create business, but to create an environment in which entrepreneurs can thrive.
Varden’s second question: What do you think of Rob Portman as a Vice-presidential choice?
Next up was Andrew Stiles of the Washington Free Beacon, who asked about Jeffrey Katzenberg, a major Obama bundler, being under investigation for allegedly bribing Chinese officials.
Then it was back to the media-formerly-known-as-mainstream. Garrett Haik of NBC News wanted to know how the issue of Romney’s tax returns “plays into the argument about what someone understands re business.” Sununu said the tax return question is merely a distraction, no matter how many Romney releases the Democrats will always want more.
The last question came from Sarah Boxer of PBS: Expanding on the tax return question, a new Obama ad is running in Pennsylvania that says Romney’s returns may show that he didn’t pay any taxes at all. Any comment on that? Sununu said that the ad “shows how stupid the Obama campaign is.” To think that someone who has been in the public eye all his life and has been Governor of Massachusetts didn’t pay any taxes is ridiculous. The IRS would have been beating down his door. (I love, by the way, how liberals talk as though paying taxes were optional, so that everyone gets to pay whatever he wants.) Sununu concluded by saying that “Obama’s ad shows they are clearly and unequivocally a bunch of liars.”
So you can see what is happening. The Romney campaign puts on a devastating show, and the only thing the Democratic Party reporters are interested in is how they can spin it back to Obama’s talking points. It will be interesting to see whether any word of what actually happened in today’s call will see the light of day in the media-formerly-known-as-mainstream. If you didn’t see it here, would you see it anywhere? I doubt it.