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Obama’s PR Nightmare?
By: Gerard E. Mayers
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On July 13 of this year, at a rally in Roanoke, Virginia, President Obama gave a speech that wound up creating a terrible PR nightmare for him and his reelection campaign. I refer to the now-infamous “you didn’t build that” comment, which supposedly blasted small businesses. Even when taken in context with the tone of his entire remarks, the video of that “you didn’t build that” crack has gone viral and the comment has, of itself, created a firestorm of criticism from Democrats, business leaders, Republicans, and Independents alike. Enough so that even The Wall Street Journal recently ran an article in its Opinion pages by Holman W. Jenkins Jr., who is a member of the editorial board of The Wall Street Journal and writes editorials and the weekly Business World column. (For the entire text of the Roanoke speech, click here.)

Point is, Mr Jenkins makes a very good point about Mr. Obama’s “you didn’t build that” blast.

He said, in his column: “'You didn't build that,’ Mr. Obama explained to the nation's entrepreneurs, and has been explaining ever since. He only meant to say we need government as well as private initiative, and who could disagree? This argument is anodyne, dispositive of nothing that is in dispute.

“Of course, it also comes as a defense of policies that all run in one direction: bigger government, higher taxes. It comes against the background of a re-election campaign whose calculated aim is to portray a respected business leader as a criminal.

“Ironically, it came in the same week his party in Congress was admitting paralysis to do anything for economic growth and demanding adventurous new actions from Ben Bernanke to reawaken the risk appetites of America's entrepreneurs and consumers.

...“With ‘you didn't build that’ going viral, Team Obama at least senses trouble and reportedly is looking for a positive message. But what message? Stay the course? What course? For and against gay marriage? For and against fossil fuels? More Solyndras? More trillion-dollar deficits? A recovery more halting and uncertain the longer Mr. Obama presides over it?”

It’s going to be a most interesting Fall indeed. Stay tuned.

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About the Author
Gerard E. "Gerry" Mayers writes about PR and other relevant topics for PR professionals. A former PR manager for Sensor Products, Inc. (currently based in Madison, NJ), he lives in Milford, NJ.
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