Sununu Blasts Obama for ‘Demonizing’ Rich

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney
Jewel Samad | AFP | Getty Images
President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney

Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu on Tuesday blasted President Obama for “demonizing” success in a recent speech.

“Can you imagine anybody trying to demonize the successful result of the American Dream? Or when he says ‘rich,’ he says it with a snarl,” he said on CNBC’s “The Kudlow Report.” “And so you’ve got young people out there thinking that if they succeed and they get rich, they’ve done something evil.”

The former White House chief of staff under President George H.W. Bush, Sununu ramped up the rhetoric against Obama, a former U.S. senator from Illinois.

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“Can you imagine coming out of Chicago politics, where ‘politician’ and ‘felon’ are synonymous? You’ve got two governors in prison today,” he said, alluding to Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan.

Sununu sought to link them to Obama.

“This is a guy who was raised in Chicago, where the way of doing business is to take care of your friends, and that’s what he’s been doing,” he said. “And that’s why he thinks government creates business, because he gives a federal taxpayer grant to people like Solyndra when the companies are owned by his bundlers and his backers, his financial backers.”

Solyndra, a manufacturer of solar panels, received more than $500 million in government support before filing for bankruptcy.

Sununu also called the Mitt Romney campaign’s response to Obama’s “you didn’t build it” speech a gift, one that provided ammunition to the Republican presidential hopeful’s camp.

Last week, Obama said in a speech that government investment helped spur innovation and growth, crediting it for such projects as the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge.

“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,” Obama said. “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.”

Sununu said it was a perfect opportunity for Romney, likening it to a scene in the Mel Gibson movie “Braveheart,” in which the title character commands his troops to “hold, hold, hold” before launching a counterattack on a much larger military force.

“When you get a gift like that from someone makes a gaffe that big that defines how little the president knows about the economy, even while they were hold-hold-holding, they had to come out and lay it on,” he said.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said Obama's speech was this week.