The argument can -- and will -- be made that Obama's comments were taken out of context. The speech has definitely been pared down to the juicy bits. Here's the full context of what Obama said. But that argument isn't going to help in a battle of 30-second ads.
Besides, from a political ideology point of view, the context doesn't help him any. At the time, Republicans made hay of Warren's assertion that there's not an American out there who got rich without the helping hand of government. But Warren's words took off across YouTube and Facebook and elsewhere, pushed along by regular voters on both sides of the political aisle.
Watch the video or read the words and it's not hard to see why. Here's a bit of what she said: "There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there -- good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for."
Obama's attempt, on the other hand, was neither as passionate nor as succinct.
There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me, because they want to give something back. 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.Same idea, worse execution.
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.
It's the middle of summer, and a lot of what happens now will seem like distant memory after the conventions are over. But I expect that one sentence -- "If you've got a business, you didn't built that " -- is still going to be in circulation come October.