Ross Murty, deli co-owner, caters for Obama, wears "Gov't Didn't Build My Business" shirt
Ross Murty exercised his right to free speech during Obama's visit to his deli.
President Obama's campaign staff likes Ross Murty's Davenport, Iowa deli, but Murty isn't shy about not liking Obama's politics.
Yesterday, Murty catered for Obama and his entourage during a stop on the president's bus tour through our neighbor to the south, but did so while wearing a pro-Romney shirt that dings Barack for a gaffe he made last month. The shirt reads: "Government didn't build my business, I did."
During a speech in Virginia last month, Obama said the following (emphasis mine):
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.
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.
Within days, the Romney campaign released a scathing campaign ad focused on small business owners' indignation about the president's "You didn't build that" remark.
From the ad (via Fox News):
"If you've been successful, 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," the president says, as the ad shows [a small metal fabricating business owner named Jack Gilchrist] saying goodbye to his family and heading off to work. "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
The ad then cuts to an incredulous Gilchrist, who asks: "My father's hands didn't build this company? My hands didn't build this company? My son's hands aren't building this company? Did somebody else take out the loan on my father's house to finance the equipment? Did somebody else make payroll every week or figure out where it's coming from?
"President Obama, you're killing us out here. Through hard work and a little bit of luck, we built this business. Why are you demonizing us for it? We are the solution, not the problem."
Some have criticized the ad for taking Obama's comments out of context, but Romney's critique resonated with Murty, who is a registered Republican. The co-owner of the Village Corner Deli went as far as to purchase his "Government didn't build my business, I did" from Rommey's website. But his business partner is a Democrat and accepted an offer to cater for Obama while Murty was out of town.
"I would never say no to anybody for any reason," Murty told the Washington Post. "My partner and I have different views in politics, but business is business."
The Romney campaign seized on the attention Murty's t-shirt is receiving, sending out an email imploring the president to extend his Iowa visit.
"Mr. President, please stay another day!" the email says.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.
- Nicole Curtis hates 'affordable housing' that replaced south Minneapolis homes
- Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau will keep her job, but not without critics
- Minnetonka Schools remain oddly silent after teen assaults Chris Carr's daughter
- Luke McAvoy, ex-Minnesota football player, comes out in powerful essay