State Sen. Alberta Darling didn’t hold back Wednesday afternoon as she criticized President Barack Obama for his controversial comments that “offended” business owners.
“Your comments are a real kick in the gut” to hardworking business owners and the middle class, said the GOP lawmaker for River Hills said during a rally at the GOP's Waukesha County’s headquarters.
Two weeks ago, at a campaign event in Virginia, Obama said: “If you've got a business — you didn't build that. Someone else made that happen.” Republicans are jumping on those comments in their fight to elect Mitt Romney. Romney’s campaign has been on the attack with ads that use Obama’s statements against him.
“That statements shows that our president does not know how the economy works,” Darling said. “He does not know how small business works. He does not know about the sweat equity and effort and the trials that small business people go through day in and day out.”
The rally was one of two dozen events sponsored by the Romney campaign Wednesday in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Virginia, Ohio, Iowa, Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Nevada. At each rally, small business owners respond to Obama’s statement.
Several area business owners spoke at the Waukesha rally about the hardships they faced when starting their own business in Wisconsin.
Erin Decker, owner of Double Decker Automotive in Kenosha, said her family didn’t receive government assistance when she and her husband decided in 2006 to open their own business. Decker was pregnant with their second child at the time, already a mother to a 3-year-old. Still, their family took the risk, she said.
“We decided to do it because we wanted to live the American Dream,” Decker said.
That dream required hard work and devotion every day working long hours to make their business successful, she said.
Ken Dragotta, the owner of Systems Engineering in Milwaukee, said he learned the value of hard work as the son of a Sicilian immigrant. He also took Obama to task for his comments.
“Mr. President, government is to facilitate, not impede business,” Dragotta said. “Government isn’t the answer to our success; it is the obstacle to success.”
Dragotta said he would expect the president to be “reasonably correct” in his comments about business owners.
“After all, the American people look to you for direction, not misdirection,” Dragotta said.
Democrats have accused the Romney campaign of taking Obama’s statements out of context as Obama was promoting the value of infrastructure in the country. The full quote was this:
"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."
Obama’s been fighting back against Romney’s ads. He’s released a new ad where he describes Romney as being “flat out wrong,” according to the Associated Press.