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Republicans wrong to say Obama called Americans "lazy"

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WASHINGTON--GOP White House hopefuls Rick Perry and Mitt Romney have been bashing President Obama over the use of the word "lazy" in comments he made Nov. 12 while in Honolulu talking about the economic climate.

A variety of fact-check outfits have said Romney and Perry distorted Obama's comments and I agree.

"The Week" magazine has compiled in one report several stories analying Obama's remarks. Read the "The Week" article HERE.

The Washington Post's Glenn Kessler, who runs a fact-check column, gave the claim "Four-Pinnoccios," concluding, "Perry and Romney have ripped Obama's remarks completely out of context, similar to Romney's ridiculous Four-Pinocchio claim that Obama "apologized" for America overseas. In both cases, the candidates are trying to feed into a subterranean narrative that Obama is not quite American, or certainly not proud to be an American. But, frankly, it's just lazy politicking on their part." Read Kessler's analysis HERE.

Here's what Obama said on Nov. 12 during a question and answer session at the APEC conference, in a session moderated by W. James McNerney, Jr. Chairman, President and CEO of the Chicago-based Boeing Company:

MR. McNERNEY: I think one related question, looking at the world from the Chinese side, is what they would characterize as impediments to investment in the United States. And so that discussion I'm sure will be part of whatever dialogue you have. And so how are you thinking about that?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, this is an issue, generally. 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.

And we think that we can do much better than we're doing right now. Because of our federalist system, sometimes a foreign investor comes in and they've got to navigate not only federal rules, but they've also got to navigate state and local governments that may have their own sets of interests. Being able to create if not a one-stop shop, then at least no more than a couple of stops for people to be able to come into the United States and make investments, that's something that we want to encourage.

MR. McNERNEY: And I'm old enough to remember this process around Japanese automotive companies, 20 or 30 years ago. And the process moved slowly then, it had some of the similar dynamics, but some of those companies are very, very fine "American companies," and have contributed a lot to our economy.

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on November 21, 2011 9:26 AM.

Chicago based Boeing flexing lobbying, political muscle was the previous entry in this blog.

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