(DAVENPORT, Iowa) — Ross Murty, the co-owner of the Village Corner Deli in Davenport, is a proud small-business owner who isn’t afraid to speak his mind.
Serving up pulled pork, beans and cheesy potatoes for the press at the president’s campaign event Wednesday evening, Murty wore a T-shirt that said, “Government Didn’t Build my Business, I Did.”
The shirt is a reference to a comment Obama made last month. While discussing the importance of government investments in public services, the president said, “If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. … 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.”
Republicans pounced on the comment, claiming the president had denigrated small business owners and their pursuit of the American dream, something with which small business owners like Murty obviously agree.
Murty, a registered Republican, was out of town this past weekend at a Cubs game in Chicago when representatives from the president’s campaign came in and asked his business partner, Bret Dalton, a registered Democrat, if they would be interested in a catering job. Dalton accepted without running it by Murty.
The deli owners have been friends since high school and Dalton seems well acquainted with Murty’s antics.
Dalton didn’t know his business partner planned on wearing the shirt until Wednesday’s event. Dalton’s reaction: “Oh gosh, please don’t let this end up on national TV.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Tom LoBianco, Deirdre Walsh and Tal Kopan, CNN
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune
Heather Long, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN