AUSTIN --A six-second soundbite from President Obama has fueled his opposition for the last two weeks.
Somebody invested in roads and bridges, if you've got a business, that, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen, Obama said during a stump speech in Virginia.
The building the president was referring to was taxpayer-financed infrastructure, which he told his audience made it possible for businesses to rise up and thrive. The line was delivered in an off-script moment after suggesting that even the most successful entrepreneurs benefitted from assistance early on.
If you were successful, somewhere along the line, somebody gave you some help, Obama said.
Opponents have used the clip to attack Obama, often editing out the roads and bridges language altogether. The controversial attack has become a rallying cry among the president's detractors, who have transformed it into the latest election meme.
Taking the attack a step outside the traditional Internet political hubs, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) has garnered attention with an account on the uber-trendy social media site Pinterest titled I built this, Mr. President.
We've encouraged small businesses to give us their individual story, Cornyn told KVUE Friday after early voting at the Travis County Courthouse. We've got about 450 of them so far and we have more coming in every day talking about their record of building their business.
Cornyn has been one of Texas' most social media savvy politicians, one of the first to host a town hall on Facebook. He describes himself as an avid Twitter and Facebook user, adding that staffers helped turn him onto the picture and video sharing website Pinterest.
Most of the time it's edifying, constructive, Cornyn said. Occaisionally it stings a little bit, but that's what free speech provides is a forum for everybody to have their say, and I think that using the social media to communicate has been a big boon not only to communication but also to politics.
Striking back, the Obama campaign released its own ad to clarify what the president was referring to. Asked whether continuing to portray the president's comments about infrastructure as referring to business is misleading, Cornyn disagreed.
No actually I don't think it is, said Cornyn. If you look at the larger context, he still seems to suggest that the entrepreneurs and the small businesses aren't the ones responsible for their success.
While sound bites come and go with each election news cycle, keeping up with social media trends may be even more key. He who wins may be he who does it the best.