Updated 5:49 p.m. - President Obama sought to directly explain to voters what he meant by a comment about small business that has reverberated through Republican attacks on his re-election.
The new ad, “Always,” which will air in in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Nevada, argues that Republicans were mischaracterizing a comment he’d made that seemed to suggest that small businesses weren’t solely responsible for their own successes.
“Those ads taking my words about small business out of context - they’re flat out wrong. Of course Americans build their own businesses,” Obama says in the ad.
"It's clear what President Obama believes because he told us: 'if you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.’ He said it, and he meant it," Ryan Williams, a Romney campaign spokesman, responded.
Obama’s initial comments earlier this month came in the context of a speech about how government, through spending and investment on projects, can help foster an environment in which businesses can better succeed.
"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 president said July 13 in Virginia.
Republicans have seized on the “you didn’t build that” portion by itself. Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s campaign sported new signage at an event on Monday, saying, “We DID Build It.”
And Romney called the initial Obama remark indicative of the president’s ideology at an event last week.
"It wasn't a gaffe. It was instead his ideology," Romney said at a stop last week in Massachusetts. "The president does, in fact, believe that people who build enterprises like this really aren't responsible for it. But in fact it's a collective success of the whole society that somehow builds enterprises like this. My view, we have to celebrate people who started enterprises and employ other people."
In the new Obama campaign ad, the president speaks directly to the camera looking to dispute the GOP-led attack.
His full quote:
Those ads taking my words about small business out of context -- they’re flat out wrong. Of course Americans build their own businesses. Every day, hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run. And what I said was that we need to stand behind them, as America always has, by investing in education and training, roads and bridges, research and technology.