Small business owners gathered in Ottumwa Thursday to respond to some of President Obama's recent remarks on economic recovery and, specifically, small business.
Republicans said the president is taking credit away from small business owners, saying they didn't build the business themselves, but rather, the government did. Press conferences are springing up across the swing states, where business owners are expressing their concerns.
"People are saying, 'it's me that took the risk that's associated with starting your own business'," said Tom Szold, Iowa's Communication Director for the Republican National Committee. "'I'm the one who worked till midnight until my eyes were popping out to make sure I have everything done'. Because the buck stops with the small business owner."
Keith and Trudy Caviness, co-owners of Colormaster, Jeff Messerschmitt, co-owner of Messerschmitt Ice and Kelli McDonald, co-owner of LadyFit, each spoke on how they worked long, hard hours to get their businesses started, and continue to work long, hard hours to keep them running.
"We all work hard to try and build it and we put our lives in it and work many long hours," Trudy Caviness said. "Even after a business is established, you're the one who gets to do all the extra things for the people."
On the other side, Democrats said the statements from the president were taken out of context and blown out of proportion in typical, election year fashion.
They say locally and nationally, business owners start their own business, to be sure, but they can't do it without the government's contribution to the public sector.
"The president did not say that small business people did not make their own way there, of course they did," said Steve Siegel. "But nobody makes it without public infrastructure of roads, airports, police, education - all of the things the public sector provides to business and everyone else. None of them could make it without those public sector products."
Siegel also said that Mitt Romney's pledges to balance the budget means that the revenue has to come from somewhere, and the middle class will hurt the most.
He also mentioned that these debates and back-and-forth responses are just part of the typical political process and we'll likely see a lot more of them before November arrives.