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The Middlesex Truck & Coach backstory

Romney stops by Middlesex Truck & Coach, which exists thanks to public aid.
Romney stops by Middlesex Truck & Coach, which exists thanks to public aid.Associated Press

Since Tuesday, Mitt Romney and his campaign team have tried to push a simple argument: businesses' success is the result of private-sector dynamism, not government. It's a campaign offensive based entirely on an out-of-context quote from President Obama, which Romney happens to agree with.

But a curious thing happened yesterday when the Republican appeared at a Massachusetts business in order to really drive the point home.

"This is not the result of government," Romney told reporters, referring to Middlesex Truck & Coach after he toured the shop. "This is the result of people who take risk, who have dreams, who build for themselves and for their families."

Company owner Brian Maloney, 69, agreed with Romney's assessment. "I take umbrage at the suggestion that people don't start and build businesses," Maloney said. "I started out with 500 bucks and worked with my hands to afford grad school at night. My wife supported me. Started a little body shop and was able to bring together people, one at a time."

Maloney added, in reference to his business, "The government didn't help -- at all."

But as it turns out, the backstory for Middlesex Truck & Coach is a little more complicated. Maloney later told the local CBS affiliate that he didn't have the capital to get his business off the ground, so he relied on an industrial-revenue bond through the government, giving the small business a low-interest loan that made the shop possible.

In other words, hoping to prove government doesn't help make small businesses possible, Mitt Romney picked a small business that wouldn't exist were it not for government. Perfect.

In fact, given all of the government assistance Romney's own businesses have received over the years, the entire line of attack appears focused on confusing uninformed voters.