'Newt U'

Newt Gingrich kicks off second day of "Newt U" with a jab at President Obama. (Dan Evans / Times Community News / August 28, 2012)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Newt Gingrich wasted no time taking a jab at President Obama Tuesday morning, accusing him of belittling the American entrepreneurial spirit with the now infamous "you didn't built it" speech.
 
Day Two of the Republican National Convention has the theme of "We Built It." The daily symposium lead by the former House Speaker and dubbed "Newt U," followed the theme, showcasing conservative business owners who spoke about the importance of the independent spirit, unencumbered by what they feel is unnecessary laws and regulation.
 
One of them was Dr. Greggory DeVore, a La Cañada physician and GOP delegate.
 
"We Built It" is a reference to a speech Obama made at a Virginia campaign stop in July. Republicans have hammered  the speech, particularly this section:
 
"They know they didn't -- look, if you've been successful, you didn't get there on your own. You didn't get there on your own. I'm always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.
 
"There are a lot of smart people out there. It must be because I worked harder than everybody else. Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.
 
"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges.
 
"If you've got a business -- you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn't get invented on its own."

A clip of the president delivering those lines was shown to a group of roughly 100 attendees - with another 1,600 watching online - of a "Newt U" session at the St. Petersburg Marriott.

Democrats and media watchers have repeatedly decried the Republican response as an unfair and out-of-context reading of the speech, pointing to the remaining relevant paragraphs of that talk delivered by the president:
 
"The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together. There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don't do on our own. I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service. That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires.
 
"So we say to ourselves, ever since the founding of this country, you know what, there are some things we do better together. That's how we funded the G.I. Bill. That's how we created the middle class. That's how we built the Golden Gate Bridge or the Hoover Dam. That's how we invented the Internet. That's how we sent a man to the moon. We rise or fall together as one nation and as one people, and that's the reason I'm running for President -- because I still believe in that idea. You're not on your own, we're in this together."

-- Dan Evans, Times Community News
E-mail: dan.evans@latimes.com
Twitter: @EditorDanEvans