Mitt Romney and other Republicans have pounded President Obama for weeks for an awkwardly phrased remark that, taken out of context, made it sound as though the president believed the federal government should get all the credit for every business ever created.
The president's comment at a campaign event in Roanoke, Va., have been boiled down by his Republican opponents to the part in italics:
"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."
So on Tuesday, the Obama re-election campaign fought back with a new ad that accused Romney's campaign of being a serial twister the president's words.
Obama's ad shows the Romney campaign's edited version of the president's comment, then a narrator, who repeats some of the criticisms of Romney's ad from journalistic critics, says:
"Wait a minute. Romney deliberately altered the meaning of the president's words. Actually, he was talking about building infrastructure, education, not that individuals don't build their businesses. Romney's been caught doing this before. Another attack ad was called 'a blatant fast one' for manipulating video of the president. See the whole tape and decide for yourself."
In the seemingly endless ping pong match that is a presidential campaign, the Romney campaign had a response from spokesman Ryan Adams to Obama's response to Romney's response to Obama's Roanoke utterance:
"It's clear what President Obama believes because he told us: 'if you've got a business — you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.' He said it, and he meant it."