President Barack Obama directly addressed Mitt Romney's relentless hammering of his recent "you didn't build that line" in an ad released Tuesday in six battleground states.
"Those ads taking my words about small business out of context -- they’re flat-out wrong," says the president, calmly looking into the camera. "Of course Americans build their own businesses. Every day, hard-working people sacrifice to meet a payroll, create jobs, and make our economy run.
"And what I said was that we need to stand behind them, as America always has."
The ad is running in Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Iowa, and Nevada.
Despite the lack of context to the "you didn't build that" quote -- the AP declared that the line was "not what the president said" -- it appears to have the Obama campaign on the defensive. The ad follows two web videos refuting Romney's attack in less than 24 hours.
On July 13, Obama said, "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."
Obama was referring to the "American system" and "roads and bridges," not the business.
Nevertheless, Mitt Romney and Republicans have jumped on the line to paint the president as hostile to businesses. Romney has run with the line in recent stump speeches, and his campaign has aired ads featuring business owners.
UPDATE: 5:52 p.m. -- Obama's ad did not move the Romney campaign. Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said in a statement to reporters: "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."