Mitt Romney is going berserko over President Obama’s “you didn’t build that” comment. Even sharks don’t get that excited over blood in the water.
For the third straight day Romney ignored looking for his tax returns in his sock drawer and instead harped on Obama’s recent remarks about public infrastructure and individual initiative.
The Obama camp says the president was talking about the roads, bridges and education system that businesses rely on, not the businesses themselves.
The Romney camp says the president’s words weren’t an accident but rather a reflection of his hostility toward private business.
“It wasn’t a gaffe,” Romney said today. “It was his ideology. I don’t think the president understands what makes this country great.”
In case you were tied up sitting in traffic caused by road construction and missed it, this is what Obama said:
“If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. 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.”
Republicans construed those words as pouring a cauldron of boiling oil on entrepreneurs.
Now this is where it all gets silly and slightly confusing to those of you who never finished elementary school.
The Obama campaign’s “Truth Team” argues that the that in “you didn’t build that” clearly refers to roads and bridges that we count on the government to build and maintain.
Conservatives aren’t exactly swallowing that like Scotch.
Taking grammar to the mat, The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto called the Obama campaign explanation “bunk, and not only because ‘business’ is more proximate to the pronoun ‘that’ and therefore its more likely antecedent. The Truth Team’s interpretation is ungrammatical. ‘Roads and bridges’ is plural; ‘that’ is singular. If the Team is right about Obama’s meaning, he should have said, ‘You didn’t build those.’”
On such grave matters of import a nation’s future fate hangs like a curveball thrown by the Phillies’ bullpen.