Campaign 2012: The Facts - "You Didn't Build That"

10:13 AM, Sep 21, 2012   |    comments
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This is the first of daily fact checks provided by the Gannett National Wire Desk in Des Moines addressing news-making topics on the campaign trail. 

Question: Did Barack Obama tell small-business owners "you didn't build that?"

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Answer: This refers to something Obama said on July 17 about the relationship between government and business. Let's look at what Obama said before and after that phrase:

"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."

"That" refers to the infrastructure and educational system that governments provide to create the foundation for business owners to prosper.

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(Jeffrey Bruner is the wire chief for the Gannett National Wire Desk in Des Moines.)

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