MRAA: Obama remark was a ‘slap in the face’

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The Marine Retailers Association of America recently sent a letter to President Barack Obama regarding comments he made during a speech in New Hampshire where he equated buying a boat with irresponsible behavior by consumers.

"MRAA noted the remarks were both unfortunate and inopportune and told the President that he should not have singled out boat buying, just as he should not deride consumers for buying a watch, a coat or a car or truck," the MRAA said in a statement. "MRAA strongly believes his remarks is a slap in the face of boat dealers and other marine retailers and come at a crucial interval in the business recovery."

In the letter signed by association president Phil Keeter and chairman Ed Lofgren, the MRAA notes that boat dealers and marine retailers provide thousands of jobs and contribute billions of dollars to the economy.

"Many are struggling in this down economy with reduced sales, problems obtaining necessary financing to operate their businesses and to retain their valued employees," the MRAA said in the letter. "There is absolutely no good reason to single them out and to discourage boat purchasing."

The association reminded Obama that by his own admission, small businesses will lead this country out of the recession.

"May we count on you to counter these disparaging remarks with some strong and positive remarks that will enhance our industry efforts?," the letter asks.

Shortly after President Obama made his remarks, the National Marine Manufacturers Association also sent a letter to the president, asking him to clarify his statement.

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