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Obama, Romney camps continue battle over role of government in business

Senior Political Reporter

July 24. 2012 3:47PM

MANCHESTER -- The battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney's campaigns over the role of government in private business continued Tuesday, with small business owners who support Obama calling Romney the candidate of big business and the Romney camp saying Obama is the candidate who is attacking small business owners.

Tim Stone, owner of StoneHill Environmental consulting firm, said on an Obama campaign conference call the choice in the election is 'supporting middle class folks like myself and small businesses or continuing to provide tax breaks and loopholes for the wealthiest and big businesses.'

Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said that under Obama taxes and regulations on small businesses have increased as have the federal deficit and the unemployment rate.

He accused the Obama campaign of 'attacking small business owners as part of its disgraceful strategy to convince Americans that business is dependent on government.'

His comments came after Obama campaign officials sent out on Twitter a report Monday that Hudson business owner Jack Gilchrist, who appeared in a tough Romney ad that was unveiled last week, received government-assisted bonds and loans in the 1980s and 1990s for his business.

'President Obama believes discredited liberal policies and bigger government are the solutions to our economic challenges,' Williams said. 'Mitt Romney couldn't disagree more with the President, and he believes that entrepreneurs and our free market system create jobs.'

Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said in a new Obama web ad that the Romney ad featuring Gilchrist took Obama's comments on July 13 in Roanoke, Va., out of context.

She said Obama 'has consistently fought for small businesses and entrepreneurs.'

Cutter said Obama believes that 'we build our businesses through hard work and initiative, with the public and private sector working together to create a climate that helps us grow.'

And in a new television ad airing in several swing states, although not in New Hampshire, Obama says, 'Those (Romney) ads taking my words about small business out of context -- they're flat out wrong. Of course Americans build their own businesses


'And what I said was that we need to stand behind them, as America always has,' Obama says.

But the Romney campaign is continuing the criticism.

The Romney campaign said that on Wednesday will hold what it's calling 'We Did Build This' events in Concord and Rochester 'to allow small business owners the chance to respond to President Obama's insulting claim that, 'if you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.''

Events featuring business owners and GOP activists will be held at Secure Care Products in Concord at 1 p.m. and Sausage Express in Rochester at 3 p.m.

About 30 such events will be held nationally.

The call featuring the two Portsmouth business owners was part of a week-long Obama campaign initiative, featuring phone banks, house parties and a new Obama television ad, focusing on what the campaign says is Obama's desire to build the economy 'from the middle out.'

Stone said Obama's nearly $800 billion stimulus 'helped many small businesses directly. We were able to complete the cleanup of a contaminated tanneries site we were working on in Raymond with additional monies that came out of the stimulus act. Had that money not come into the state through the Department of Environmental Services, we would not have been able to finish this clean up.'

Nancy Beach, co-owner of Atlantic Media Productions, a video production company, said her business has grown 'through the collaboration of many people.'

She credited 'decent and safe roads and bridges,' wireless networks, access to technology and workers who benefited from 'a good public education.'

'None of it I do by myself,' Beach said.

Romney 'would build an economy from the top down,' Beach said. 'They believe that if you take away regulations and protections for us, the market will solve our problems on its own.

'Romney is peddling the exact same policies that benefited a few but literally crashed our economy and hurt me, the middle class,' Beach said. 'We didn't build this country on our own. We did it together.'

Obama campaign spokesman Harrell Kirstein said Obama believes 'the drive of our entrepreneurs make small businesses successful. For two centuries we've given our entrepreneurs the foundation to start and grow their businesses.'

'Mitt Romney views our country from way up high with all his millionaire buddies,' said Beach. 'I want a President who understand my pain.'

Beach said that if she earned more than $250,000 a year, 'I think it would be an honor for me to pay my fair share to make sure everyone in this county has the same opportunities as I did and Mitt Romney did.'

Stone said Romney is 'oblivious to this huge consolidation of wealth that is starving the economy.'

But Williams of the Romney campaign said, 'President Obama has raised taxes on small business, increased crushing regulations and spent billions on failed project like the stimulus boondoggle that have failed to create jobs. Under President Obama unemployment has increased to 8.2 percent, we have had three consecutive years of trillion dollar deficits and 23 million Americas are struggling for work because his liberal policies are not working.'

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