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August 28. 2012 9:57PM

In prime-time address to convention, Ayotte raps Obama for stifling small business

TAMPA, Fla. — President Barack Obama will continue to punish the successful if elected to a second term, U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire said in a speech Tuesday at the Republican National Convention.

“My concern is that President Obama is making it very difficult for small businesses to get started, to create jobs and to survive,” she said. “I hear this all the time from the small business owners I speak with. They want to focus on their business. The Obama Administration wants to bury them with rules, regulations and red tape.”

Ayotte, the junior senator from New Hampshire, found out a few weeks ago that she would be speaking at the convention. She said Obama's calls to increase taxes on wealthier Americans would amount to a “success tax,” especially for small business owners who because of tax increases and the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, would not be able to create jobs.

“But why should we be surprised? President Obama has never even run a lemonade stand, and it shows,” she said.

Ayotte's speech was shown live nationally by C-SPAN and Fox News, but other cable networks covering the convention, including MSNBC and CNN, did not televise her address live.

Ayotte said she and her husband understand the needs of small business owners, as her husband started a snowplowing business after returning home from flying combat missions in the Iraq War.

“And I'm proud of the fact that in addition to being a United States senator — I'm also pretty good with a snow plow,” she said.

“We are no different than other families who take risks starting their own business. We borrowed money to pursue our dreams. And believe me, there was no guarantee of success. We certainly were not too big to fail. We had to make it work,” she said. “Yet through all the hard work and sacrifice, we pulled together as a family. And as the business grew so did our extended family.”

From C-SPAN: Granite Staters Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Jack Gilchrist address the Republican Convention


Ayotte said Obama's opponent, Republican nominee Mitt Romney, has more leadership experience and is the person best suited to grow the economy.

“He'll get the federal government out of the business of small business,” she said. “He'll fight to lower and simplify taxes. He'll work to eliminate job-killing red tape. And he will roll back Obamacare starting on day one.”

New Hampshire state Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley criticized Ayotte as placing the interests of national GOP leaders above the state's interests.

“Kelly Ayotte is more focused on winning the favor of the national Republican Party than the priorities of New Hampshire citizens,” Buckley said in a statement. “In her short time in the Senate, Ayotte has racked up a lot of air miles for Mitt Romney — and a lot of bad votes for New Hampshire.”

Ayotte's speech was followed by an address by Jack Gilchrist, the owner of Gilchrist Metal Fabricating of Hudson. Gilchrist has appeared in a Romney advertisement accusing Obama of “demonizing” him and small business owners by saying earlier this month that “somebody along the line gave you some help,” and, “If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen.”

Gilchrist, who has acknowledged accepting government loans and tax-exempt bonds that helped his business expand, said during his speech that navigating a business through difficult economic and competitive environments is hard enough without the federal government's interference.

“I'm often reminded of what Lee Iacocca said: 'Lead, follow or get out of the way,'” Gilchrist said, referring to the former CEO of Chrysler Corporation. “Everyone who runs a business understands this. Everyone but our federal government. They won't lead. Their rules and regulations are too hard to follow. And they won't get out of our way.

“This administration is killing us out there,” he said.

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Tim Buckland may be reached at tbuckland@unionleader.com.

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