WAUKESHA -- U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson criticized President Barack Obama on a range of issues Saturday afternoon, including his "you didn't build that" comments from earlier this year.
"He simply does not understand or realize what made America great," the Oshkosh Republican said at today's "We Did Build It" event at the Waukesha Expo Center. The event -- sponsored by the CRG Network, Businesses for Wisconsin Jobs, Americans for Prosperity and the Independent Business Association of Wisconsin -- featured a keynote from Johnson as well as remarks from Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch and the Wall Street Journal's Stephen Moore.
Johnson said the president had been selling snake oil to the American people by saying he would cut the deficit, reduce health care premiums, and that unemployment wouldn't reach 8 percent. He also said that the so-called "Buffett Rule" would only cover 11 hours of government spending.
"Now folks, I don't know what you call that statement by President Obama, but whatever it was, it's a real doozy," Johnson said. "The fact of the matter is it was an outright lie. This president has been in hyperdrive misleading the American public, thinking that all you have to do, you want to solve our fiscal situation, just make the rich pay their fair share and all this goes away."
He also said House Republicans are not proposing "draconian cuts" in their budget. Johnson said that 10 years ago the government spent $2.2 trillion and this year will spend $3.8 trillion.
"The argument moving forward, the House budget would propose spending $4.9 trillion in 10 years, President Obama, it is not good enough for him, he wants to spend $6 trillion. Now you don't have to be a math major to see that I don't see cuts here," Johnson said, referring to one of many charts in his presentation.
After the event, Johnson said he has found Washington D.C. to be incredibly frustrating since he was elected.
"The failure of leadership in the United States Senate, I think is a national scandal," Johnson said.
With Obama campaigning in Milwaukee, Johnson said his message for the president was that he had his chance.
"You've had three and a half years and your record is one of failure," Johnson said.
Despite polls showing Obama gaining a bigger lead in the Badger state, Johnson said he was optimistic Republicans could turn the state red in this presidential election. He said that since the state swung to Republicans in 2010, Gov. Scott Walker showed leadership during the collective bargaining battle and won his recall election. Meanwhile, Johnson said the country has added to the debt and the health care law is closer to implementation.
"I think Wisconsinites are very fiscally conservative, think that government ought to live within its means. And they're appalled by what's happening to them," he said.
Johnson said Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been right on message recently.
"In terms of talking about the government-centered society versus a society based on the individual, individual freedom and the free enterprise system. He is pointing out, he's got a plan, he picked Paul Ryan, he has the only budget that has been passed the last two years. You've got a plan the American people can actually evaluate and make a decision on," Johnson said.
He added that Romney's statement about 47 percent of American's not paying income taxes was accurate.
"Was it the best way of stating it? Probably not," Johnson said. "What President Obama is saying is just false. People that do build businesses, that do create things, they did build it, somebody else didn't make it happen."
Successful businesses allow the government to be able to collect taxes and build roads and other infrastructure, Johnson said.
"President Obama, simply -- I don't know why -- he's hostile to free enterprise, he's hostile to businesses, he's hostile to people making profits," Johnson said.
The event began with a video that parodied the president's "you didn't build that line." It showed a young girl eagerly running up to her parents to show them a popsicle version of the Washington Monument. Her parents responded by saying she didn't build it since she didn't make the popsicles or cut down the trees to make them, among other reasons. At the end of the video the father said it was important to erode the child's sense of individualism while she was young.
Commenting on the video, conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes, the event's master of ceremonies, said the president's remarks erase the notion of individual achievement. He added that it turns John F. Kennedy's statement about asking "what you can do for your country" on its head.
The conservative crowd also heard from a series of business owners describing how they had built their businesses. The crowd was not highly energized initially. Instead, many nodded in agreement as they heard stories about how people built their businesses.
The crowd started to cheer more as higher profile speakers came to the stage. When Kleefisch came to the stage they gave her a standing ovation. She responded by saying she owed them thanks for keeping Wisconsin's economy moving everyday.
"We need to continue to embrace you and raise you up, instead of criticize you and insult you as our President Barack Obama has done," Kleefisch said of small business owners.