(CNN) - Mitt Romney sought on Friday to dispel any notion he is undesirably close to Wall Street, but said his business experience prepares him better than his rivals to be president.
"I'm independent of Wall Street," the former Massachusetts governor told Bloomberg Television's Peter Cook in an interview. "By the way, I haven't ever worked on Wall Street. They were service providers to the business I was in, I was not in a Wall Street firm, although I was in financial services broadly."
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Over his 15 years as CEO of the Boston-based private investment firm Bain Capital, the company profited by buying and streamlining other companies, including laying off employees. Romney has taken fire for the layoffs, which he characterized as part of the business cycle and necessary for the companies to survive.
"Taking a Wall Streeter and sending him to Washington D.C. is not going to change a thing," another presidential hopeful, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, said in December. "What this country's got to have is an outsider."
In Friday's interview, Romney said Wall Street experience would not "disqualify" an individual from serving as his Treasury Secretary.
"I would expect someone in the Treasury to have had experience dealing with financial matters and global funds flows and exchange rates and currency issues," he said. "That, by definition, is going to be a financial-related person. Whether they'd worked on Wall Street or not would probably not be the key to my decision."
Jobs numbers released Friday showed the unemployment rate dropped in December, and though Romney said "I certainly hope the economy does get better and Americans get back to work," he said the improving economy would not undercut his case against President Barack Obama.
"And the people who have been suffering over these past three years will not forget that the policies of this president kept more people out of work than needed to be in that condition," he said.
Romney also worked to downplay expectations for the Jan. 21 primary in South Carolina, which he called a "come-from-behind kind of state."
He campaigned in the state Friday morning with Gov. Nikki Haley, and gave a preview of the two weeks leading up to the primary there.
"I've got to put in some real shoe leather there and hopefully get myself up towards the top of the pack," he said in the interview.
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"I'm independent of Wall Street,"
"Corporations are people"
You can't make this stuff up.
With the clout and connections and businesse Bain Capital was in of course he had very close and strong connections with wall street, add to that a respected company bain capital meant that he had very heavy inroads into any banks top echelon mangement.
I know been there done that.
Thats how out of touch Romney is that he cant understand that when people are angry a"Wall St" they dont neccessarily mean all workers or firms on Wall St .
They are talking about the rapacious greed and lack of consideration shown to ordinary workers and small business shown by many in the banking , finance , legal and govy business world.
Even in Australia the term "Wall St": is used as an insult and derogative word for greedy business behavior here.
Mitt Romney, working hard to earn the Nobel Putz Prise for 2012! So Bain was based in Boston, not New York! Same animal. African elephant-Indian elephant-both are elephants, just from different places. I don't even think Romney is playing dumb; he is dumb. A slightly better prepared Rick Perry. Yes we've got Ricky,and Mittens, and all of their friends, at the Republican...Clown...Car...SHHOOW!
What a vacuous blowhard. Give some DETAILS, Mitt, to back up your charges. What policies "kept more people out of work", specifically? Oh yeah, I forgot: you're republican, so you can say any lie you want and if you repeat it enough hope people accept it as true. WHERE WERE ALL THE JOB THE PHONY 'JOB CREATORS" SUPPOSEDLY CREATED IN THE 8 YEARS OF THE BUSH TAX CUTS FOR THE MILLIONAIRES???
He needs to make public his tax returns!!
This man is a liar! Where is Joe Wilson now?
While most of Mittens crowds are made up of the Kochs' rent – a – voter, Rove's rent – a – bagger and Romney's own swift boat PAC supplying soft ball questions, there are a few real people who might believe him. Mittens is the reason we need strong regulations on Wall Street, big banks, big oil, foreign corporations, and big energy.
Mittens is in the upper .00001% of wealthy Americans. He owes his wealth to Wall Street, and most people know it. This man makes the shadiest of used car dealers look like saints. Take away Mittens lies, and all you have left is designer jeans and nice hair.
McCain 2012 lying again. President Obama will roll over him.
You maid a fortune laying off those employees! good for business bad for america
Does anyone seriously believe Romney is independent of Wall Street?
"Bain Capital". I can ship jobs overseas for Greed. Ha!!!!
Thanks for the morning laugh, Mitt - do you really think the American people are so stupid as to believe this? Or that you could go through a campaign OTHER THAN the GOP primaries where your record and your connections won't be obvious to the people? " not Wall St " – yeah, right.