Anatomy of a lie
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.
He was making a fairly mundane point that individual success doesn't happen in a vacuum, but depends on the infrastructure created by government and the broader society. For the purposes of this post, the salient point is that in the sentence "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that", the word "that" refers to the infrastructure mentioned in the preceding sentences -- the "American system", the roads and bridges. There's no ambiguity about this. The point is clarified further by Obama's mention of the internet, one of the most critical parts of the infrastructure supporting the success of business in the modern age.
The Romney campaign has now produced a TV ad titled "These Hands" which quotes the sentence "If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that" in isolation, making it sound as though Obama meant that if you've got a business, you didn't build that business. Obama's words are immediately followed by a citizen (or an actor playing one) saying indignantly "My father's hands didn't build this company? My hands didn't build this company?" That is, the ad is not merely putting the edited quote out there and allowing the viewer to misinterpret it, though that would be bad enough. It's flat-out saying that by "you didn't build that" Obama meant "you didn't build your business" as opposed to "you didn't build the supporting social infrastructure", which he clearly did, in fact, mean.
Remember, this is not some individual right-wing blogger or TV viewer who heard a partial quote and misconstrued it. This is the Romney campaign, and of course the ad ends with the standard voice-over by Romney himself -- "I'm Mitt Romney and I approve this message." There's no possibility that the campaign which produced the ad did not know what the actual quote was. In other words, this is deliberate fraud.
I've over-belabored a simple point here for a reason -- to show that there's no ambiguity about what the ad is doing, no grey area. I repeat, this is deliberate fraud. Based on this, it's clear that anything coming from Mitt Romney, from his campaign, or from the Republican party should be assumed to be a deliberate, pre-meditated lie until proven otherwise.
You can see the ad here. I notice that in 11 comments by conservative readers, not one person even mentions the fact that the ad is a blatant lie.