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Tue Jul 17, 2012, 11:45 AM

The latest Obama line taken out of context

Last edited Wed Jul 18, 2012, 09:53 AM - Edit history (1)

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

This despicable attack is gaining traction. I've seen "friends" on Facebook posting about this one sentence from Obama's speech and complaining without bothering to read the entire part of the speech that puts it into context.

From ThinkProgress:

Conservatives Selectively Edit Obama's Speech To Claim He Hates Small Businesses

http://thinkprogress.org/media/2012/07/16/525181/conservatives-selectively-edit-obamas-speech-to-claim-he-hates-small-businesses/

The sound bite soon reverberated throughout conservative media outlets. Fox News later ran the headline, “Obama Insults Small Business Owners,” and House Speaker John Boehner scoffed, “He said that because he has no idea what it takes to build or run a small business.”

The quote also prompted talk show host Rush Limbaugh to declare that President Obama “hates this country.”

Of course, Obama’s supposedly insulting comment is somewhat different in context. The full text of his speech, rather than denigrate small business, challenged the idea that wealthy and successful individuals have never benefited from government programs:

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.

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.


It is clear to me that in the one sentence they are taking out of context that Obama was literally talking about physically building your business location and how you can't do that alone. He probably should have worded it better but he is NOT saying that others are responsible for the success of your business. How anyone could believe he would say such a thing baffles me, especially when he summed up his point with the following:

"The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."


So, if you see someone posting that one sentence to attack Obama as somehow being anti-business, give them the full section of that speech so they'll know the context. People should form their opinions based on all the information, not a just sound byte of a single sentence taken out of context.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like I did a pretty bad job explaining what Obama meant by this sentence that conservatives are taking out of context. The Obama Truth Team does a much better job of explaining it:

The President’s full remarks show that the “that” in “you didn’t build that” clearly refers to roads and bridges—public infrastructure we count on the government to build and maintain.


They also include facts that show Obama's record clearly prove he is anything but anti-small business.

http://www.barackobama.com/truth-team/entry/fact-check-what-president-obama-actually-said-about-small-businesses

Next time I'll review the audio of the speech to better analyze based on inflection and not just a written transcript. Or, I'll probably just leave this kind of thing up to the professionals. I think my frustration over seeing someone on FB spread this out-of-context lie got the better of me and I didn't focus as sharply as I should have. Oh well, it's not like anybody Rec'd this mess of an article anyway.

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Arrow 8 replies Author Time Post
Reply The latest Obama line taken out of context (Original post)
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 OP
Bluerthanblue Jul 2012 #1
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 #2
1StrongBlackMan Jul 2012 #3
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 #4
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 #5
Enrique Jul 2012 #6
RedStateLiberal Jul 2012 #7
booley Jul 2012 #8

Response to RedStateLiberal (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 11:57 AM

1. I know-

twisting the message to mean something very different.

I had this on FB yesterday. A picture with quote leaving out important parts of his speech making it sound like he's diss ing small businesses.

It was posted by a group called "Liberty Clips"-

pretty frustrating.

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Response to Bluerthanblue (Reply #1)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 12:08 PM

2. Some people believe whatever they want to believe

and that really pisses me off. Just think how many sentences from Rmoney we could easily take out of context, but we don't go there. If you present the facts in a reasonable way they just change the subject because they can't handle the truth. Politics has become nothing more than a sport for Repugs. They have chosen their team and nothing will ever get them to change their allegiance. That will never stop me from presenting the facts and refuting their nonsense with logic.

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Response to RedStateLiberal (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 12:14 PM

3. Shades if the Warren smear ...

When she said the same thing, the gop took the same jag. That's the danger of the soundbite world that passes for journalism these days.

A responsible media would have, immediately, put the statement in context and exposed the gop for the misinformers that they are.

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Response to 1StrongBlackMan (Reply #3)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 12:23 PM

4. I noticed that too

I'm pretty sure Warren's great speech on this subject is what inspired Obama to also talk about how nobody in America is successful solely on their own - which is the truth.

If only we did have a responsible media...or even a true "liberal media" like they try to claim whenever their misinfomation is exposed.

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Response to RedStateLiberal (Original post)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 01:59 PM

5. So I tried to explain this to a conservative FB 'friend'

and they had no response other than a sarcastic "I'm so glad the president enlightened us on this...otherwise we'd never know."

I really don't know why I bother. They're only interested in bashing Obama and not a real explanation or even a conversation and certainly not a civil debate.

And get this, In this 'friend's' original status that gave the out-of-context Obama quote he ASKED for it. He asked for Obama supporters to please tell him what the president means by this quote. I gave basically the same argument and facts from ThinkProgress that I posted here and him and his friends have no respose other than sarcastic remarks and vague comments on how Obama hates business. I even gave a personal story about my own small business and how the internet is a great help and really the only reason I have my business at all.

My 'friend' finally concluded that they think Obama's quote was an "insult" and they "disagree". No remarks on my thoughtful response. No mention of any of my reasonable opinion that I had just explained in depth. No respect for me at all. They are truly pathetic.

Instead of going back and forth on this all day I finally told him he should just unfriend me if he doesn't want me to give my honest opinion - even when he asks for it.

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Response to RedStateLiberal (Reply #5)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 05:43 PM

6. thanks for trying, but I wouldn't bother with conservatives

this distortion is many orders of magnitude too subtle to get across to them. Just look at some of the things they believe about him.

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Response to Enrique (Reply #6)

Tue Jul 17, 2012, 05:47 PM

7. Don't I know it! I've battled cons on FB for years

and never get anywhere with them so I've mostly given up. This one asked specifically for an Obama supporter to explain what it means so I did and, of course, he didn't like it.

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Response to RedStateLiberal (Reply #5)

Sun Jul 22, 2012, 07:15 PM

8. My attempt ended in absurdity

with along drawn out debate over whether you could have airports if there were no roads or power lines and how everyone in the city should go back to subsistence farming.

I think deep down they know they are lying. But being against Obama is more important

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