The "American dream" is at stake in the November presidential election, said in a prime-time speech at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night.
"I don't have to tell any of you: this is a tough economy. We all have friends, family and neighbors who've lost their jobs and homes," McDonnell (R) said. "Worse, they've lost their hope. And their lost hope is why we need a big change this November. This election is about restoring the American dream."
Like many of the convention speeches Tuesday, McDonnell's address criticized a remark made by President Barack Obama (D) during a July campaign stop in Roanoke that Republicans say suggested business owners did not build their success on their own.
"We need a president who will say to a small businesswoman: congratulations, we applaud your success, you did make that happen, you did build that in America," McDonnell said to the crowd in Tampa, Fla. "Small businesses don't come out of Washington, D.C. pre-made on flatbed trucks.”
Obama was speaking about the role of government investment in infrastructure and businesses when he said, "If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."
The statement, which some argue has been taken out of context in political advertisements and elsewhere, drew headlines and brought the president under fire from Republicans across the nation.
In his July speech, Obama continued: "The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet, so then all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together."
In his address at the convention, McDonnell also criticized the Obama administration's fiscal policy and inability to lower the unemployment rate.
"Republican governors lead seven of the 10 states with the lowest unemployment rates, and 12 of the 15 states ranked best for business have republican governors," he said. "While the president talks, Republican governors lead. Talk is cheap. Results matter."
McDonnell said Mitt Romney, who officially became the Republican candidate for president Tuesday, had experience managing a business and creating jobs.
"Now, just think what we can do if we had a president who would support us, and not obstruct us," McDonnell said. "We need President Mitt Romney!"
Obama's camp is already responding to McDonnell's address.
"It's hard to take Governor McDonnell's attacks on the President's policies seriously when he admitted recently that those same policies of cutting taxes for the middle class and small businesses, investing in infrastructure, and supporting education have helped strengthen Virginia's economy," said Marianne von Nordeck, Virginia press secretary at Obama for America, in a release late Tuesday night. "Under President Obama's leadership, our nation has gone from the brink of a second Great Depression to 29 consecutive months of private sector job growth, including over 120,000 jobs created right here in Virginia. The fact is that President Obama has put the middle class first, while Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would return to the same, failed, trickle-down economic policies that crashed our economy in the first place."
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