During the opening night of the Republican National Convention, many speakers took to the podium and took advantage of a phrase spoken by President Obama that some are calling a grammatical error.
In a July 13 campaign appearance in Virginia, the president told an audience:
“If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
At least that's all the GOP would have you believe he said. The party has repeatedly used just those two sentences in campaign materials. In fact, the excerpt is part of a larger message:
“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. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”
In a video released in late July, the Obama campaign says that "that" refers to the compound noun "roads and bridges."
But as the sentence is constructed (is that an em or an en dash?) mustn't "that" refer to "business"?
And who put the dash in there? Is it from an official transcript provided by Obama's team or was the speech put into print by the press or the Romney campaign?