Local business responds to Obama's "You didn't build that"

By: Brian Shlonsky Email
By: Brian Shlonsky Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- It's turned into a rallying cry for republicans this campaign season. During a campaign stop this summer, President Obama-- in an attempt to make a case for higher taxes on wealthy Americans-- gave what has become known as the "You didn't build that" speech.

Businesses around the nation have fired back, including one right here Grand Junction.

On the inside, it has been business as usual at Nitelife Billiards and Supply, but on the outside, something is different.

"It's very self-explanatory. I'm not happy with our president, and I'm not happy with our economy," owner Paul Liebe said.

On July 13 while campaigning in Virginia, President Obama gave a line in his speech that didn't sit well with some small business owners: "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

The line came out of this speech:

“If you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own. I’m always struck by people who think, 'Well, it must be because I was just so smart.' There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something — there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there. 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 Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.”

Liebe said he heard the speech live and couldn't believe the president's words.

"I didn't do it. Where was the government when I was building this? They weren't handing me money. It was my money building it," he said.

Liebe said it was time to speak up and speak out against the president. He put up a sign reading “I built this business, kiss my a** Obama” on the front of his business. He also printed dozens of copies to give to customers, who he said have given his message raving reviews.

"It's awesome. They drive in just to come in and tell us, 'It's awesome.' They love it," Liebe said.

Grand Junction resident J. Leigh Brady even stopped to take pictures.

"Somebody is actually bold enough to put it out there and put it out right, not just hinting about it. It's bold, I like it," Brady said.

But not everyone agrees with the sign's message.

"I think that sign is really dumb. It's just so dumb. Nobody helped him get his public education, nobody paid taxes so he could go to school? Saying you built a business by yourself is ridiculous," Miranda DePriest said.

Liebe said either way, he's proud the sign exercises his freedom of speech, and supports the business he's poured his life into.

"A lot of blood sweat tears and work. A lot of work,” he said.

Liebe said people from all over have responded to the signs, and he plans to keep them up if Obama is re- elected this November.


KKCO firmly believes in freedom of speech for all and we are happy to provide this forum for the community to share opinions and facts. We ask that commenters keep it clean, keep it truthful, stay on topic and be responsible. Comments left here do not necessarily represent the viewpoint of KKCO 11News.

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