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Does Obama think Steve Jobs didn't build Apple?

 

Mitt Romney said again today that President Obama didn’t believe that Steve Jobs built Apple.

To say what he said is to say that Steve Jobs didn't build Apple Computer or that Bill Gates didn't build Microsoft or that Henry Ford didn't build Ford Motor Company or that Ray Croc didn't build McDonald's or that Papa John's didn't build Papa John's Pizza,” Romney said today at a town hall in Ohio. “This is the height of foolishness. It shows how out of touch he is with the character of America. It's one more reason his policies have failed. It's one more reason why we have to replace him in November.”

Robyn Beck / AFP - Getty Images file photo

In this file photo, Steve Jobs gives the keynote address on the opening day of the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif.

It’s not a new line. Here’s what Romney said yesterday: “The idea to say that Steve Jobs didn't build Apple, that Henry Ford didn't build Ford Motor; to say something like that is not just foolishness. It's insulting to every entrepreneur, every innovator in America. And it's wrong.”

It’s part of the Romney campaign’s latest condemnation of the president, who it says is anti-business. The Jobs charge is based on the Romney campaign’s reading of President Obama’s speech on Friday in Virginia, in which he said, in part: “If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.”

But does that mean the president doesn’t believe Steve Jobs built Apple? Here’s what Obama said in his statement after Steve Jobs died:

“By building one of the planet’s most successful companies from his garage, he exemplified the spirit of American ingenuity.”

By the way, here’s the full context of the president’s speech Friday in Virginia:

“But you know what, I’m not going to see us gut the investments that grow our economy to give tax breaks to me or Mr. Romney or folks who don’t need them.  So I’m going to reduce the deficit in a balanced way.  We’ve already made a trillion dollars’ worth of cuts.  We can make another trillion or trillion-two, and what we then do is ask for the wealthy to pay a little bit more.  And, by the way, we’ve tried that before -- a guy named Bill Clinton did it.  We created 23 million new jobs, turned a deficit into a surplus, and rich people did just fine.  We created a lot of millionaires.

“There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t -- look, 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.  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.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.

NBC’s James Rankin contributed to this report.