LONDONDERRY, N.H. — When President Barack Obama made an unannounced stop at a farm market here on Saturday, he likely had no idea how much some of his recent comments have caused quite a stir with its employees and management. Before a fired-up campaign speech in Windham, N.H., Obama stopped at Mack’s Apples, a farm market that specialises in sales of fresh fruit. It was a place Obama visited twice in 2008, holding two campaign rallies on the property.
But lately, the management at Mack’s has noticed some of Obama’s comments that have been seized by Republicans and caused a fury among some business owners: “If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that.”
Republicans and the Romney campaign have tried to use the quote as an example of Obama’s philosophy that business is dependent upon government. Obama and Democrats have pushed back, saying that the quote, in context, reinforces a fairly standard idea that businesses benefit from government investment in infrastructure.
Mack’s Apples management identifies more with the Republican interpretation. Evelyn Keller, the store’s manager, told Business Insider later Saturday that the comments have caused some “concern” with the market’s employees.
“Personally, I think if we give all the credit to government, we’re going to lose sight of encouragement to others who need it to start businesses,” Keller said, adding that her uneasiness with the remark stems from her family’s experience in Nazi-led Germany.
Keller said the reverberations of Obama’s statement have made their way to swing-state New Hampshire, where Obama held a double-dose of campaign events Saturday in an attempt to keep hold of the state’s four electoral votes.
Photo: Brett LoGiurato/Business Insider
So even as the staff was thrilled at Obama’s run through the store — he greeted and posed for pictures with the staff and customers and bought apples, peaches and maple syrup — Keller suggested that the comments were on the minds of the staff at Mack’s.
It underscores the challenge Obama has created with his “you didn’t build that” line. Even in pockets like Mack’s, one line has shredded so much of his credibility in a pocket where he found comfortable support in 2008.
“We’ve been talking about them a lot here. I think people have certainly taken notice,” Keller said. “I think… I think there’s just a danger when government is involved too much.”
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