Eau Claire area small business owners react to Obama's 'You didn't build that' comment

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

ALTOONA, Wisc. (WEAU) - Republicans are on a statewide tour in Wisconsin, to rally small business owners and gain support against a remark President Obama made in Virginia earlier this month.

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

"It was quite a big pill that should not have been swallowed by anybody that has a business," Penny Crochiere, owner of Pilates by Penny in Eau Claire said.

Republicans gathered in Altoona Friday to voice their disgust with President Obama.

"I thought it was unconscionable," State Senator Terry Moulton said. "He obviously ... doesn't understand what small business owners go through to create and start a business venture."

The Republican Moulton, who owns tackle and archery shops says obama showed he doesn't recognize the value of small businesses.

But not all owners agreed. Chippewa Valley Cremation Services owner Matt Thompson said the quote was taken out of context, and the Republican response is a ploy.

"No matter how big or small your business is, there are always people that help you get to where you're at. I couldn't site one example where that isn't the case," Thompson, who identifies as an Independent, said.

"If you read the full context, it's even more scary to me," Moulton said.

Here's more of what Obama 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," Obama said.

"He's mocking us," Mike Conlin, part owner of Dynamic Displays of Eau Claire said. I don't deny that I got help, but I thought he was being extremely dismissive in his whole speech."

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