Mitt Romney to Olympic Athletes: You Didn’t Win That

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Romney wears a not-at-all embarrassing jacket in 2002.Photo: NBC

In Costa Mesa, California, today, Mitt Romney continued to push President Obama's "You didn't build that" remark from earlier this month by holding a roundtable discussion with business owners while a large banner reading "We Did Build It" loomed overhead. To recap the manufactured controversy: Obama was referring to the infrastructure and support system — including roads, the Internet, education, the "American system," etc. — that helps businesses flourish, not the businesses themselves. Romney decided to ignore the context and instead pretend that Obama was giving business owners no credit for their own success. This disingenuous, out-of-context interpretation has become, at least for now, the very centerpiece of Romney's campaign.

At the same time, Romney's message was undercut in two brand-new ways today. First, the New Hampshire Union Leader reports that the indignant business-owning star of a new Romney TV ad actually received hundreds of thousands of dollars in government loans, thus lending support to Obama's point about government's role in helping business thrive.

And that's not all! NBC News discovered footage of Romney making pretty much the same point as Obama in a 2002 Olympic speech — only instead of businesses, he was referring to the world's best athletes:

"You Olympians, however, know you didn't get here solely on your own power,” said Romney, who on Friday will attend the Opening Ceremonies of this year’s Summer Olympics. “For most of you, loving parents, sisters or brothers, encouraged your hopes, coaches guided, communities built venues in order to organize competitions. All Olympians stand on the shoulders of those who lifted them. We’ve already cheered the Olympians, let’s also cheer the parents, coaches, and communities. All right! [pumps fist]."

Romney doesn't think Olympians deserve credit for the medals they win or the records they break? Why does Romney hate athletes?