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Theme for Day One of the Republican convention: 'We Built It'

The first day of the Republican National Convention leaned heavily on the party's rebuke to Obama's, "You didn't build that" line. In fact, the official theme of day one was: "We Built It." 

On Tuesday, the first official day of the convention, the Republican National Committee unveiled a series of three videos in which small business owners declared Obama's claim that business owners benefit from government help to be, in one of the businessman's words, "complete nonsense."

Metal fabricating company owner Jack Gilchrist also went after the "you didn't build that" line in a speech delivered at the convention. "This Administration is killing us out here," he said, citing the difficulty following the government's "rules and regulations."

Bev Gray, owner of a company called Exhibit Edge, delivered a speech on that theme as well. "The President said that business owners didn't get there on our own," she said. "Well, he's wrong. We risked everything and succeeded because of our hard work and commitment."

Their remarks were echoed by the speeches of major figures in the GOP, including Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell. "Big government didn't build America: You built America!" he said. "Small businesses don't come out of Washington, D.C. pre-made on flatbed trucks.
That coffee shop in Henrico; that florist in Virginia Beach, that bakery in Radford, they were all built by entrepreneurial Americans with big dreams, not a big-spending government with a wide-open wallet full of other people's money!"

In fact, Obama never said that entrepreneurs didn't build their businesses; he said that they built it while taking advantage of government infrastructure such as roads and electricity. And as Rachel Maddow pointed out, the convention itself is taking place at an arena in Tampa whose construction was subsidized in large part by government funds.

Joy Reid, MSNBC contributor and managing editor of The Grio, tweets: "The entire first night of #RNC2012 is built on a misquote. Ah, politics... #msnbc2012"