President Barack Obama (D) spoke at a campaign rally for 42 minutes in Virginia on Friday. Near the end, he was talking about not extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. He riffed on the ways that the U.S. government has helped build the American economy into the world's largest, and how that helps Americans to succeed in our private business endeavors. Here are the three key paragraphs (transcript provided by White House):
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. (Applause.)
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.
The Romney campaign (Mitt, presumptive GOP nominee) began today to focus on these two sentences: " If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen." The NRCC and numerous others took up the charge - the former even starting a clever hashtag for it ("#YouDidntBuildThat")
Unfortunately, Schweikert became the first elected official in Arizona (that we know of) to grab on to it. With an e-mail subject line ironically asking "He Said What?!", Schweikert - it is over his signature, even though he likely did not write it - edits the quote to eliminate the first four sentences of the 2nd paragraph that make Obama's meaning in the next two sentences clear. (The full text of the e-mail is below the jump.)
Schweikert then touts his commitment to help stop Obama - . (Both Schweikert and Quayle are attempting to portray themselves as fighting Obama rather than each other.)
Besides the incorrect set-up - Obama made the statement on Friday, not yesterday - the selective editing is the essence of misleading the reader and making the communication false.
Schweikert receives an "F+" for his deliberately deceptive edit. The ironic subject line "He Said What?!" is just the extra little kick that prompted us to give him a "+".
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