Romney: Replacing Free People With Government ‘Has Not Worked, It’ll Never Work’

By Patrick Burke | August 22, 2012 | 4:22 PM EDT

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (AP Photo)

( – GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that President Obama’s approach of replacing “free people” with “government” as the primary driver of the U.S. economy, “has not worked, and it’ll never work.”

“We built the most powerful economy in the history of the Earth. It is free men and women that drive our economy. Freedom is what makes America work,” Romney said Wednesday while at a campaign stop in Bettendorf, Iowa.

“And President Obama, bless his heart, has tried to substitute government for free people and it has not worked and it’ll never work,” he said.

Romney also said that the president’s July comment -- ‘‘If you’ve got a business, you didn’t build that” -- was “not a gaffe” but reflected Obama’s philosophy.

“What he said was not a gaffe. It was not a slip of the tongue. What he said was his philosophy. He said that if you have a business, you didn’t build it someone else did that,” said Romney.

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At a July 13 campaign event in Roanoke, Va, Obama said business owners did not build their own businesses and owe their success to the ‘American system’ and government infrastructure.

"Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. You didn’t get there on your own," Obama said.

"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,” he said.

"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.”