(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."
- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
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.
Huntsman hits Romney ahead of N.H. primary
Boston Globe backs Huntsman
FIRST ON CNN: Santorum to make large ad buy in South Carolina
Santorum tangles with Gingrich, same-sex marriage supporters
McCain courting former South Carolina backers for Romney
The person who lies about his name. I do not think he believes what he is saying. Independent of wall street my ass.The pathological lier is at it again.He must believe the magic underwear is working,and we will believe his lies.
You're a petty, evil man who worked at Bain where a dear friend of mine worked for years before quitting b/c he couldn't take the environment you created. I believe my friend used to call it "an evil place run by evil people". Yes, Mitt, that was YOU running the place. EVIL.
Since wall street bought obama and has kept him under control by staffing the white house with their people I can see why Romney wants to seperate himself from wall street.
WOW – did you see that bunch of pigs flying overhead?
WOW Keep telling yourself that... Follow the yellow brick road. There's no place like home. PLEASE give us a reasonable and feasible Republican candidate. I, for one, do not want another presidential election of 'lesser of two evils'
So now that the economy is improving, they really have no argument. Romney sounds like a fool. LOL
How can someone that is funded by Wall St. be independent of them?
Even Republicans know that he is lying. Independent of Wall Street? Who is he kidding? Conservatives, you can't even stop a Massachusetts moderate masquerading as a conservative. What makes you think you have a chance in a general election?
You know, I've read a decent amount of articles about Romney but I have no clue about his plan to get americans back to work? Does anyone know the policies he would push for if he was elected president? It just seems like he "sounds" and "looks" the part but not much for substance....hell Cain at least had a spelled out plan.
Independent of Wall Street? Wow flat out lies.
What happened to "Corporations are people too!" – Romney ??
Independent of Wall Street?!?!?!?! You are Wall Street. What an idiot!
Your top 10 contributors Mitt Romney
Credit Suisse Group
Kirkland & Ellis
Bank of America
JPMorgan Chase & Co
And don't forget Wells Fargo is in there. EXPLAIN THAT AWAY MITT ROMNEY!!!
You take money from companies we used out tax dollars to bail out, it is like you took our tax dollars right out of our hands and lined your own pockets to launch your campaign. You make me sick. RON PAUL 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
HOLEY BANK ROLL !~ WALL-STREET- ROMNEY EXPOSED! MITT ROLLS AMERICA FOR MILLIONS! ~ Just To Steal America's Vote! Watch>http://youtu.be/Oz1aLR05eb8
ROMNEY'S BIG GAFFE FOR WALL STREET& TARP BAILOUTS! ~ Romney Pockets Millions From Mid-America!Gotta See > http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2011/10/13/perry_to_wall_street_if_youre_too_big_to_fail_youre_too_big.html
"I'm independent of Wall Street." Romney's top 3 political contributors: Goldman Sachs (ticker symbol: GS), Credit Suisse Group (ticker symbol CS), and Morgan Stanley (ticker symbol MS).
This weasel will send Social Security and Medicare to Wall Street in a heartbeat. Every Republican has that plan in mind.
Please stop all OWS followers before Obama let his OWS followers will destroy Wall Street and American economy.
"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," Romney said.
He says that with a straight face? First creating the mess, than creating an obstruction of “NO”, “NO”, “NO”, and then blaming the President? Independent of Wall Street? Really? What a GOP/TP circus! 2012 elections cannot come soon enough to get them out of the Congress and the Senate to stop this nonsense!
We obviously need a leader with deep economic savvy and strong private business expertise to right the course of our wobbling ship of state. Romney is the leader we need now! Without a viable economy, all else fails.
Since President Obama got elected things have gotten better. If you check the facts and not watch FOX NEWS the truth will set you free. What has happen is the Republicans have done and continue to try to slow the recovery down , If you want to point to who is killing JOBS start looking to the right. Please republicans check the facts not on FOX but the real facts. Do your homework.
Can't say you're independent of wall street when your biggest donors are the banks. You're more or less in their pocket, Romney.
What dose that mean ?
Thats like a carpenter not using tools !
What a BS,er
Romney = Wall Street. Remember: "Corporations are people!" Wow, this guy is certifiable!
►Romney: 'I'm independent of Wall Street'◄
What's with the jeans lately MITTens – trying to look like "my peeps"
It won't work because those jeans probably cost over $100
You need to take your "flip-flops" and go up on the roof and HOLLER!!!
(and the "flip-flops" would most likely cost $300!!
Obama 2012 – He campaigned in 2008 with holes in the bottom of his shoes!!!