Published July 20, 2012
President Obama, one week after his controversial "you didn't build that" remark, claimed Friday that the criticism he's taking from Republicans is "bogus."
Though Republicans say the president was implying that business owners didn't build their businesses, Obama said he was just talking about roads and bridges.
In an interview with WCTV-TV in Tallahassee that aired Friday, Obama said: "What I said was together we build roads and we build bridges."
He added: "That's the point I've made millions of times, and by the way, that's a point Mr. Romney has made as well, so this is just a bogus issue."
That's not the explanation that initially came from the Obama campaign when it was first asked about the speech last Friday in Roanoke, Va.
The fresh pushback from Obama comes as Mitt Romney and Republicans escalate attacks over the comment. Romney's campaign announced Friday that it was releasing a new TV ad, which is a condensed version of the scathing web video released a day earlier on the comment.
The ad features a New Hampshire business owner criticizing Obama for the remark. "My father's hands didn't build this company? My hands didn't build this company? Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it?" he asks.
The Obama campaign on Thursday started to push back, claiming the president's quote was taken out of context. It released a web video of its own accusing Romney of launching a "false attack." The video showed Romney reading the selected "you didn't build that" quote, then said: "That's not what he said."
Here's what Obama said last Friday:
"There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me because they want to give something back," the president said. "If you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. 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," he said. "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."
While Obama now claims the "you didn't build that" was in reference to roads and bridges, that's also not the only section of the speech that Republicans have taken issue with.
The video released Thursday by the Romney campaign included the section in which Obama said he was "struck" by business people who think they succeeded "because I was just so smart."
Romney said Thursday in Massachusetts that the remarks were "not a gaffe."
"It was instead his ideology," Romney said. "The president in fact believes that people who build enterprises like this really are not responsible for it, that in fact it is a collective success of the whole society that somehow builds enterprises like this. In my view we ought to celebrate people who start enterprises and employ people."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.