Mitt Romney has largely been on the defensive this week countering attacks over Bain Capital, but today he came out fighting slamming the president for his "you didn't build that" comment regarding business owners, calling them not only "foolish" but "insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America."
Friday, in Roanoke, Virginia, President Obama told a crowd at a campaign rally, "If you are successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life."
He went on to say, "If you've got a business, you did not build that-somebody else made that happen."
Capitalizing on the backlash the remark has had in the media, Romney characterized the comments as evidence the president "attacks success."
"People who reach to try and bring themselves up, the president would say, well you didn't do that, all right?" Romney said to an enthusiastic crowd of at least 1000 people gathered at an oil and gas service company in Irwin, Pennsylvania. "You couldn't have gotten to school without the roads the government built for you, and you couldn't have gone to school without teachers, so you didn't - you're not responsible for that success."
Listing entrepreneurs from the likes of Steve Jobs and Henry Ford, to a barber shop owner or taxi cab company owner, Romeny argued that they are deserving of the credit for their success, not the federal government.
"All these businesses that I've been to all around the country that have grown and thrived, I believe that they and the people who worked there built those enterprises, it is their responsibility, their achievement, and they deserve credit for it," Romney said.
Romney described the comments as "stunning" and revealing" and argued they played into a larger narrative of Obama "changing the nature of America," calling his policies "extraordinarily foreign," and breaking even from the "Democratic Party of Bill Clinton."
"In the past, people of both parties understood that encouraging achievement, encouraging success, encouraging people to lift themselves as high as they can, encouraging entrepreneur celebrating success instead of attacking it and denigrating makes America strong," he said.
The Obama campaign fired back in a statement calling the attacks "off the deep-end" and "over the top" arguing the comments were taken out of context.
"As President Obama said the other day, those who start businesses succeed because of their individual initiative -- their drive, hard work, and creativity. But there are critical actions we must take to support businesses and encourage new ones -- that means we need the best infrastructure, a good education system, and affordable, domestic sources of clean energy. Those are investments we make not as individuals, but as Americans, and our nation benefits from them. Apparently Mitt Romney disagrees," the statement said.
Former Obama campaign adviser, David Axelrod countered as well via Twitter.
"Isn't it ironic that the guy who sticks his millions in foreign tax havens says the president's views are 'extremely foreign?'" he said. Romney then echoed the new attack line launched by his campaign earlier this week slamming Obama for "crony capitalism," citing Solyndra and Fisker as examples of companies benefiting from contributions to the president.
"I'm ashamed to say that we're seeing the president hand out money to the businesses of campaign contributors," he said. That kind of crony capitalism does not create jobs."
Romney will hold another public event tomorrow in Bowling Green, Ohio, a key battleground state, where we can expect him to continue his offensive on the president over his remarks and "political payoffs."