Phil Klein buys the GOP’s spin on the above video:
Obama’s defenders argue the “that” in “you didn’t build that” refers to “roads and bridges.” I’m not so sure we can make that assumption, given that “business” is the noun that directly precedes the pronoun “that.”
Weigel takes a closer look at the video:
Watch (again, can’t believe I’m saying this) the body language. Obama is gesticulating to count off the various ways people have been helped — great teacher, American system. At 0:44, he says “somebody invested in roads and bridges,” and gyrates his arms as if mapping out said roads and bridges. “If you’ve got a business,” he says, making one more gyration, “that — you didn’t build that.” The extra “that,” a false start, is not captured in transcripts. It really looks like “that” refers to the stuff that business-builders utilized on the way up, not the businesses themselves.
Joe Klein concurs. He wishes the GOP would pick a different line of attack:
Arguments can be made about this Administration’s anti-business actions, especially when it comes to the sclerotic regulatory morass and the byzantine tax code, but no one seems to be making them.
Tom Smith goes there:
I started a business, commercially unsuccessful, sadly, but we created some great technology. I was a libertarian before that, but I was really a libertarian afterwards. It’s difficult to even explain how pervasive, expensive, frustrating and sometimes just plain insuperable the regulatory and taxation burden of the state is. It’s not what did our venture in, but it helped.