‘We built this’ RNC speaker complains about lack of government contracts

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, August 29, 2012 13:08 EDT
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Small business owner Phil Archuleta. Photo: Screenshot via YouTube.
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A speaker at 2012 Republican National Convention (RNC) castigated the Obama administration on Tuesday for not giving his business enough government contracts for it to grow, seemingly contradicting the Republican Party’s message that conservatives built their wealth without help from anyone else.

While that message, built off a misquote of one of the president’s speeches, was already hampered by the RNC being held in a structure built with government funds, the RNC’s selection of small business owner Phil Archuletta made their duplicity even more apparent.

“When President Obama came on board and pushed the stimulus, I believed my business was going to explode with work,” Archuletta, owner of New Mexico-based P&M Signs, said Tuesday. “Unfortunately, it never happened. The Democratic Congress and the Obama administration created a new procurement process that harmed existing small business contracts, which devastated my business.”

“President Obama talks like he supports small businesses, but his actions are destroying us,” he added. “His administration is putting us out of business. It is our turn to put them out of office!”

The problem with Archuletta’s rhetorical attack is that he’s one of the longest standing clients of the Minority Business Development Agency, part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The agency’s New Mexico Business Enterprise Center even helped his company secure a $850,000 small business loan to build an 11,700 square-foot structure.

Republicans have seized upon President Obama’s claim that wealthy Americans must remember their success came about through use of the public infrastructure and the determination of their workers, highlighting a portion of a July speech in which Obama said, “Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that: somebody else made that happen.”

In making “You didn’t build that” their de facto campaign slogan, the Republican Party and presumptive presidential nominee Mitt Romney have floated several business owners to pitch their message to voters. Unfortunately for their supporters, Archuletta isn’t the first one trotted out by conservatives ad makers who didn’t build his business on is own.

Romney put New Hampshire businessman Jack Gilchrist center stage in a campaign ad released last month, but it was revealed almost immediately that he took over $1 million in government loans to boost his steel company.

Delaware Lt. Gov. candidate Sher Valenzuela also touched on the “We built this” theme in her RNC speech, even though she gave a speech last April about how to grow small businesses with government money. As one might expect, her upholstery business, First State Manufacturing, also took more than $15 million in government backed loans.

This video was broadcast by C-SPAN on Tuesday, August 28, 2012.


(H/T: Mother Jones)

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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