By Juan Williams - 08/29/12 03:42 AM EDT
This is one dirty campaign.
My fellow Fox political analyst Karl Rove sees the proof in the Obama campaign’s claims that Mitt Romney might be a felon and an Obama super-PAC advertisement blaming Romney for shuttering a factory and leaving a dying woman without health insurance.
For weeks, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have hammered President Obama for saying, “You didn’t build that.” Obama said those words during a speech arguing that people earning more than $250,000 should pay more taxes.
The rich should be willing to pay more, the president said, because of the public school teachers and taxpayers, as well as the nation’s roads and bridges, that contribute daily to America’s incredible record of business innovation and profits.
Here is President Obama’s full quote from the speech in Roanoke, Va., on July 13:
“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 GOP willfully ignored the preceding four sentences in that quote and focused solely on “you didn’t build that.”
The Associated Press Fact Check has blasted Romney’s distortion, noting “the full quote makes clear Obama is talking about the conditions that help businesses and individuals succeed, such as teachers and infrastructure.”
Now, this is intentional distortion — dirty politics by any name. It suggests business has suffered under President Obama and that is why unemployment remains high.
The facts about how business has performed during the Obama years tell a different story.
When Obama took office in January 2009, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was hovering around 8,000. Last Friday (Aug. 24), it closed at 13,157. The Nasdaq has doubled since Obama took office.
Just four years ago, the economy was on the brink of total collapse. The Bush administration deserves credit for taking initial steps to stabilize the global panic with multibillion-dollar Wall Street bailouts. But it was Obama who inherited the aftermath — the Great Recession.
How can the Romney camp describe Obama as hostile to business when he cut taxes for small businesses 18 times in his first term? He signed the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, which contained $200 billion in tax relief for small businesses. It also provided incentives for businesses to create jobs, invest and grow.
There is no debating that, under President Obama, corporate profits are at their highest levels in decades.
In fiscal 2011, the federal taxes corporations paid within the United States fell to 12.1 percent of profits, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That is far below 25.6 percent, the average paid by corporations from 1987 to 2008, the Wall Street Journal reported.
One of the biggest expenses for businesses is the cost of providing health insurance for their employees. The Affordable Care Act, which Republicans here in Tampa have vowed to repeal, helps small businesses reduce these costs.
Under the new law, employers with fewer than 50 employees are exempt from penalties for not covering their workers.
Now, small businesses with fewer than 25 workers and average wages of less than $50,000 are given tax credits to provide coverage to their workers.
Most importantly, the law sets up state health insurance exchanges starting in 2014. They will allow small businesses to buy coverage at a lower cost by expanding the risk pool and eliminating free riders thanks to the individual mandate.
But the Romney campaign continues to attack Obama’s healthcare plan as the enemy of business. And it continues to twist the Virginia speech into an attack on small-business owners. This is politics so dirty it covers over the truth. How can any Republican complain about dirty politics when smears aimed at the president are so visible at this convention?
Juan Williams is an author and political analyst for Fox News Channel.