Wausau business owners upset over president's "build" comments - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Wausau business owners upset over president's "build" comments


Some business owners in our area are blasting the president on his recent comments about business. They had some strong words for him at an event Friday afternoon in Wausau.

The comments in question were made by President Obama at a campaign event July 13 in Virginia.

"If you've got a business, you didn't build that," said Obama. "Somebody else made that happen."

That's upsetting to David Torkko, owner of Everest Inn in Wausau. He bought the inn 14 years ago.

"At no time in that whole experience, even though it was difficult at first, did I ever look and say, the government's going to help me," said Torkko.

Torkko and two other small business owners gathered at the inn Friday at an event sponsored by Mitt Romney's campaign. The three men said the president's comments were out of line.

"That goes contrary to that basic philosophy of the American people," said Torkko. "And I thought, how out of touch can we be?"

But earlier this week, a spokesman for the Obama campaign said Republicans are twisting the president's words.

"This is becoming a pattern with Governor Romney and a credibility issue, taking the President's remarks out of context and distorting their meaning," said Ben LaBolt. "What the president was talking about was there are things we can do to support a business climate that encourages entrepreneurs."

But Torkko and the other business owners don't buy that, and say they want to see the president focus more on jobs in this tough economy.


Here is a transcript of part of the president's July 13 comments:

"I'm not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don't need them. I've -- so I'm going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. We've already made a trillion dollars worth of cuts. We can make another trillion, or trillion, two. And what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more. And by the way, we've tried that before. A guy named Bill Clinton did it. We created 23 million new jobs, turned the deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine. We created a lot of millionaires. And, you know, there are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back. They know they didn't -- look, 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. 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. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

"So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we funded the G.I. Bill. That's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet. That's how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You're not on your own, we're in this together."

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