New York Times reporter Michael Cooper's brief "Caucus" story for Wednesday's edition (not yet online), "'You Didn't Build That,' But He Wasn't Saying That," is yet another tiresome defense of the president from the paper's objective journalists, claiming Obama didn't really mean what came out of his mouth in a speech in Roanoke, Va.: "If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
(Cooper's cop-out follows similar strained efforts by Times reporters Trip Gabriel and Michael Shear to defend the president against an effective line of attack from the GOP.)
The Republican convention is playing a recording of President Obama saying ''You didn't build that'' -- but his words have been selectively edited in a way that changes their meaning.
The recording being played over loudspeakers in Tampa makes it sound as if the president had said: ''Let me tell you something, if you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.'' Small business owners are then quoted taking umbrage at his remarks and saying that they worked hard to build their businesses.
But the unedited quote from the president tells a somewhat different story. Mr. Obama, who was at a campaign event last month at a fire station in Roanoke, Va., actually said: ''Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.''
None of the business owners quoted at the convention seem to mention anything about paying for their own roads and bridges.
If eloquent Obama meant "roads and bridges," why did he employ the plural "those" instead of the singular "that"?