MANCHESTER — Continuing to focus on a comment President Obama's defenders say has been taken out of context, local supporters of Republican candidate Mitt Romney spoke out against the president's attitude toward small businesses at an event in the city Thursday.
In remarks in Virginia last month, the president spoke of factors he said help businesses succeed, from teachers, to the creators of the American system, to an investment in infrastructure.
“Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business — you didn't build that,” the president said on July 13.
The Romney campaign claims the president was conveying a message that business owners are not responsible for building their businesses.
Manchester Alderman Joe Kelly Levasseur led the charge in a campaign event outside a restaurant he owns on Elm Street.
“Are you serious, Mr. Obama?” Levasseur said. “As a small business owner that works seven days a week, trying to survive in a very tough economy, the last thing I need to hear from the campaigner in chief is that I did not build my business.”
In addition to his restaurant, Levasseur operates a law practice in the city.
The Manchester event was one of a series of “Strengthening the Middle Class” activities held at small businesses across the nation Wednesday.
Obama campaign spokesman Michael Czin said the Romney campaign is off-base on its claim.
“Romney has been deliberately twisting the president's words around to falsely say the president doesn't value small business,” Czin said. “It's flat-out wrong.”
Levasseur was joined in the Manchester campaign event by other small business owners, including Republican state representatives Phil Greazzo and Will Infantine, both of whom operate small businesses.
Greazzo, a candidate for state Senate, said his business and those of other small business people in the region “succeeded without the help of government.”
Jenny Cheifetz of Bedford, who owns a mobile bakery business, said Obama's comments were “shocking and insulting.”
Cheifetz said government has slowed her ability to expand her business through permit and license fees and restrictions on her operations.
While saying that many of the fees and restrictions she faces are imposed by local and state government, Cheifetz blamed Obama for setting an attitude that doesn't foster business growth.
“I think it's about creating a general climate that embraces small businesses,” Cheifetz said. “It's being the small business grower-in-chief, fostering an environment in which small business can grow.”