The battle over "You didn't build that" - NBC12.com - Richmond, VA News

The battle over "You didn't build that"

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

It was one line in a speech delivered by president Obama here in Virginia and it has quickly become a key battle point in the presidential election.

The president was talking about the importance of the government's role in creating and helping businesses survive. But his remarks have offended some small business owners and the Romney campaign is seizing on the opportunity.

It was one line that has transformed into a campaign slogan for Mitt Romney.

"If you've got a business," Obama said in Roanoke.  "You didn't build that."

"You didn't build that", has become "we did build it" and on a banner behind a Governor Bob McDonnell at a Romney event in Richmond.

"This is a president and an administration that is out of touch, out of ideas and as far as I am concerned out of time," McDonnell said.

The president has personally responded to the attack line with a new campaign ad:

"Those ads taking my words about small business out of context;" Obama says speaking directly to the camera, "They're flat out wrong."

But, local business owner Melissa Ball, said reading the entire speech, made her even more upset.

"The one phrase wasn't even as bad as the whole together," she said.  

Democrats counter that Ball is the perfect example of a business owner who has directly benefited from government help.

"The recovery act helped some small business get access to capital," among other things, pointed out Obama supporter Del. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond)

Ball Office Products, which Melissa Ball owns, received a $600 thousand loan from the Small Business Administration, and a more than $50 thousand dollar government contract. Both are big boosts directly from the government.

However McDonnell argues that it's not just what the president says that is the problem.

"It's not just the words," he said. "It's the policies and we've seen it for three and a half years."

Wednesday's event in Richmond was one of 24 similar events in swing states across Virginia. A clear indication the Romney campaign believes the attack is working.

We have more from today's event including Governor McDonnell evading questions about his Vice Presidential prospects on Decision Virginia.

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