President Barack Obama said America has “been a bit lazy” over the past few decades at attracting international business.
“But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades,” he said at CEO summit at the APEC meeting in Hawai’i. “We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America.”
Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who was participating in a CEO summit at the conference, told reporters he would not use the term lazy — but said the trend Obama was pointing to is hardly new.
The White House says Obama was not criticising the country — just isolating a problem that he intends to correct.
But Republicans are jumping on the remark — with Gail Gitcho, GOP front-runner Mitt Romney’s communications director, saying it’s the White House that’s been lazy.
“President Obama continues to blame Americans for his own mishandling of the economy. Most recently, he has called us ‘lazy,’ and has previously said ‘we lost our ambition’ and we are ‘soft.’ The American people are not lazy, Mr. President – but this White House has been lazy and soft, unable to do anything to turn the economy around.”
Watch the video below:
Here’s the transcript of Obama’s remarks in context:
I think it’s important to remember that the United States is still the largest recipient of foreign investment in the world. And there are a lot of things that make foreign investors see the U.S. as a great opportunity — our stability, our openness, our innovative free market culture.
But we’ve been a little bit lazy, I think, over the last couple of decades. We’ve kind of taken for granted — well, people will want to come here and we aren’t out there hungry, selling America and trying to attract new business into America. And so one of things that my administration has done is set up something called SelectUSA that organizes all the government agencies to work with state and local governments where they’re seeking assistance from us, to go out there and make it easier for foreign investors to build a plant in the United States and put outstanding U.S. workers back to work in the United States of America.
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