Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) addresses the Republican National Convention. (Harry Walker / McClatchy-Tribune )
TAMPA, Fla. -- Sen. Kelly Ayotte played the lemonade card.
Speaking to the Republican National Convention, Ayotte, a first-term senator from New Hampshire, contrasted the record of President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney. Obama came up short across the board, including experience running a very, very small business.
"In both the private sector and as governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney always asked, 'How can I help small businesses grow, innovate and compete?' It is the right question and it's a question that this administration never thinks to ask.
"But why should we be surprised? President Obama has never even run a lemonade stand. And you know what? It shows."
Her speech was devoted to the theme of the evening -- in fact, the theme of the Romney campaign: "We did build it!" The campaign has seized on Obama's remarks in Virginia recently that business owners rely on government help in the form of roads, bridges and schools, and if they started a business, "You didn't build that." Republicans have interpreted that as a slap at business owners, suggesting they aren't responsible for their own success.
In fact, Obama's own voice echoed through the hall more than once during the evening, repeating those words and prompting lusty boos.
Ayotte spoke about her own husband's landscaping and snow-plowing business, and complained that small-business owners have been burdened by an increase in regulation under Obama.
"You know what I hear all the time from small-business owners that I speak with? They want to focus on their business, the Obama administration wants to bury them with rules, regulations and red tape," she said. "Under this administration, the regulations are up and the job creation is down. President Obama's view is clear -- he actually believes that as a small business grows, the federal government should take a larger and larger share of its earnings. ... I call it a success tax."