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Obama pushes back on 'you didn't build that' attack

Susan Walsh / AP

A marquee announces a fundraiser for President Barack Obama at the Fox Theatre in Oakland, Calif., Monday, July 23. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

 

 

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- President Obama -- who had temporarily suspended his campaign in the wake of the Aurora, Colo. massacre -- came out swinging Monday night.

Speaking to a crowd of 2,000 supporters in Oakland, Calif., the president slammed his Republican challenger Mitt Romney, accusing him of “knowingly twisting my words around to suggest that I don’t value small business.”
 
“When folks just like, omit entire sentences of what you said, they start kind of slicing and dicing… he may have gone a little over the edge there,” Obama said to the crowd at the Fox Theater in Oakland.

Although the president didn't say it directly -- his comments were a clear jab at Romney who recently accused the president of denigrating business owners for saying "you didn't build that" while speaking to a crowd in Roanoke, Va. on July 13th.

Romney has been criticizing the statement for at least a week, saying the statement is an indication that the president is anti-business and out of touch.

In a roundtable with business leaders earlier today, Romney called the remark “extraordinarily revealing,” adding that “it's an ideology that somehow says it’s the collective and government that we need to celebrate.”

Underlining the Romney campaign’s commitment to this line of attack, supporters outside the Romney event Monday brandished signs reading, “we DID build it.”

The Obama campaign has accused Romney of taking the president's words out of context, running ads that show the president's remarks in their entirety. The president's original statement:

"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."

Both camps put their spin on the “you didn’t build that” remark for the first time since last week’s tragic events in Aurora – a sign that the campaigns have restarted in earnest.