July 26th, 2012
02:44 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney in Piers Morgan interview: Stop attacking success

(CNN) - Following weeks of questions over Mitt Romney's personal wealth, the presumptive GOP nominee said Thursday that criticism of the nation's wealthy, including his family, would lead to economic demise.

"There are people who are trying to attack success and are trying to attack our success; that's not going to be successful," Romney said in an interview to air Thursday on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." "When you attack success you have less of it, and that's what we've seen in our economy over the last few years."

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The 2012 presidential campaign has centered on debate over Romney's wealth this summer, with President Barack Obama's team raising concerns about the Republican's decision to hold offshore investments and calling on Romney to release tax documents to answer any lingering queries about his financial portfolio.

The White House hopeful has firmly stated he would not release anything further than the two years worth of tax documents that he has already released and annual financial disclosure forms separately required by federal election law.

Romney, whose wealth is worth up to $256 million, has also been railed against over his tenure at the private equity firm he co-founded, Bain Capital. Democrats argue he has been misleading about when exactly he left his position as CEO at the company, saying he stayed on three years longer than he's previously admitted-a time window, Democrats say, in which he would have overseen a period in which the company is now being criticized for encouraging the practice of outsourcing.

Along with defending his personal wealth, Romney and Republicans have strongly stood against Obama's recent proposal to raise taxes on households making more than $250,000 per year, arguing such a move would have a negative impact on the economy and discourage growth.

"Dividing America based on who has money and who hasn't – who is successful and who is less successful… That is not the American way," Romney said.

Obama, defending his tax proposal, has frequently said his policies are not aimed as an attack on the wealthy.

"This has nothing to do with me wanting to punish success. We love folks getting rich. I do want to make sure that everybody else gets that chance as well." Obama said at a campaign stop in Iowa earlier this month. "For us to give a trillion dollars worth of tax breaks to folks who don't need it and aren't even asking for it, that doesn't make sense."

Romney made his comments during a sit-down interview in London, with his wife Ann by his side. The former Massachusetts governor, who headed the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, is in town to attend Friday's opening ceremony for this year's Olympic Games. The stop in London marks the first leg of a three-country trip, which also takes him to Israel and Poland over the next week.

Romney also pointed to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who Romney has admitted his campaign was considering–among others–for his running mate, and quoted a statement the freshman senator frequently makes about class warfare rhetoric.

"I heard Marco Rubio the other day, he said, 'You know, we were poor living in Miami, we saw these big homes across town…my parents never said to us, gee why don't those people give to us some of what they have. They said instead, aren't we lucky to live in a country where with education and hard work we might be able to achieve that ourselves'."

Democrats have especially hammered Romney over his former firm, Bain Capital. Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama super PAC, has released multiple commercials this summer highlighting companies that failed–and their subsequent job losses–after being invested in by Bain. While the company has said most of its companies have succeeded, Romney gave rare insight on Thursday into some of the firm's failures.

"It killed us if something was not successful. If a business we started, for instance, couldn't make it-and there were several like that-but there were several that took off in ways that we never would have imagined. There are a number of businesses that were existing businesses we wanted to make better. Most of them we did make better. Those that we didn't, we felt terrible about," he said.

In the wide-ranging interview, Romney also discussed his position on gun rights in the wake of the Colorado movie theater massacre that left 12 dead and dozens wounded.

The former governor has said in recent days he sees no need for new gun legislation, arguing that people who want to do harm will find a way to get around any further laws.

"The real point has to relate to individuals that are deranged and distressed and to find them, to help them and to keep them from carrying out terrible acts," he said. "Timothy McVeigh, how many people did he kill? With fertilizer? With products that can be purchased legally anywhere in the world, he was able to carry out vast mayhem." '

He added: "Somehow thinking that laws against the instruments of violence will make violence go away, I think is misguided."

Obama on Wednesday made headlines by making his strongest comments yet as president about gun violence. While he called for change, he did not specifically outline any proposals for new gun legislation.

"A lot of gun owners would agree that AK-47s belong in the hands of soldiers, not in the hands of criminals," Obama said at the National Urban League convention in New Orleans. "That they belong on the battlefield of war, not on the streets of our cities."

The president emphasized a need for background checks and the prevention of "mentally unbalanced" individuals from obtaining guns. He faulted opposition in Congress for lack of progress made in reducing violence.

"These steps shouldn't controversial. They should be common sense," Obama said.

- Watch the full interview at 9 p.m. ET on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight."

Watch Piers Morgan Live weeknights 9 p.m. ET. For the latest from Piers Morgan click here.

Filed under: 2012 • Bain Capital • Mitt Romney • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (350 Responses)
  1. Obama government dependent

    doesn't romney get it? government dependence is where it is at these days. claim a disability for depression or axiety in your 20's and not have to work a day in your life. free food, free healthcare, free money, free cell phones, free housing, you name it. if i want even more i can pop out a few kids. i'm so glad all of you rich people pay so much in taxes to keep me safe, warm and fed. life is good. please work a few more hours as i am feeling like i need a vacation.

    July 26, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. Gerry Daley

    Right...success for whom...himself, mostly, while people get put out of work after he guts their companies.

    July 26, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  3. Squigman

    Same old same old. It never ceases to amaze how they can grab hold of what they consider a catch phrase, and beat it into the ground. The more astute among us are sick of hearing it. And sick of seeing it too.

    July 26, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. Laverne

    No one is attacking success or his success, but when it is dirty success on the backs of others, particularly the middle class then yes, there is a problem because it is people like Mitt Romney who care only about himself, his rich friends and more tax cuts and breaks! There is not a shortage of wealth in this country, it is a shortage of middle class opportunity starting with a republican congress who is hell bent on blocking everything that does not have to do with "tax cuts" for the wealthy. WE WILL NOT FORGET AT THE POLLING BOOTH IN NOV!!!

    July 26, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    I thought Mitt Romney said that he wasn't going to campaign while abroad. What happened? What changed? Did he drop a few gaffes and now sees a need to deflect attention away from himself?

    I think the Obama campaign should release a series of simple statements stating that they will release official responses to Mitt Romney's attacks from overseas when he returns back to mainland US soil. And keep repeating that line everytime Mitt Romney campaigns from abroad. The American people wil get the message, and it will take some of the air out of Romney's world wide cruise.

    July 26, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  6. California Gary

    Actually Mitt........making distinctions in the tax code between the haves and the have nots is absolutely the "American way"..........there have been different tax brackets based on level of income for quite some time now if you haven't noticed. What is "un-American" is to expect those with very little to be paying the same rate as those with much......that would be the "GOP" way.

    July 26, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. g

    al copone considered him self a successful business man too,but a would not vote for him to be president ,

    July 26, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  8. Lynda/Minnesota

    Love the new windswept "do" Mitt is sporting. Goes well with his "I'm just a little people, too" look.

    July 26, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. kayla

    the policy you want to bring back is bush policy, if it had worked, would we be in a recession? what an idiot. and if the so called job creators would hire people we still would be in a better position, bunch a crap

    July 26, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  10. PTNY

    Success: How to avoid paying taxes to and run for President of the same country at the same time!

    July 26, 2012 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. PTNY

    Success: Taking over companies, outsourcing the work to other countries, lay off all US employees of these companies and Blame Obama for not creating jobs for these people.

    July 26, 2012 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  12. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Just another way of Romney to not show his tax returns, nobody is attacking success, we're attacking a liar and "maybe" a thief.

    July 26, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Prosperid

    A drug lord making millions & starting his business...success?
    Driving businesses into bankruptcy & pocketing employees' pensions, & retirement funds.....success?
    Bankers gambling with billions of dollars which belong to the people who invested in them & lose it without any
    way of paying back....success?

    I'm tired of the GOP with this lame talking point. Fine, make your money. Just because you have a lot of it doesn't mean
    you did it in a moral or honorable manner. But still you GOP supporters are the same folks complaining about your millionaire boss not giving you a well-deserved raise (like he/she gives him/herself). You GOP supporters act like your CEO gets his tax refunds & any other BUSH TAX loophole money and decide in his mind to create a job with that $$$$.
    GET OUT OF HERE!!!!!!

    July 26, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  14. rs

    One should never attack success simply beause it is successful. Having said that however,simply being successful at something doesn't mean it is good. The Mexican Cartels are very successful at making money, should we laud them? Bernie Madoff was successful, do we say he wasn't worthy of some criticism (or prison time)? Mr. Romney flushed away thousands of jobs, and workers' slaries and benfits, and stuck the government with defaulted retirement benefits, while making himself a fortune- should we say job well done? Probably not.

    July 26, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. truth hurts

    if obama could, he would just take the wealth and spread it around like he said in 2008. instead he can take the future earnings of the rich people paying tax through the tax code and pass it along to the people who vote for him. its the perfect corrupt system, just like democrats and the unions. our tax money gets funneled to the unions which contribute to the democrats who keep funneling money to the unions.

    it all works until the rich smarten up and head out. and the taxpayers need to smarten up and stop voting for democrats.

    July 26, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. rs

    Obama government dependent- You describe the Congressional GOP perfectly! They haven't done a thing yet they get all those benefits.

    July 26, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. tibs

    Our government is way too small. The public sector should be ATLEAST 60% of our economy. Obama knows this and is working towards it.

    The middle class need to be taxed at 60-70% and the rich need to be taxed at 93-95% Once our elected officials decide who deserves to have money and who doesnt we will all be better off. I deserve more money from the government. So do my neighbors.

    After I heard obamas food stamp commerical I went on them and I am saving myself money. I was using my own money for food, but now with my EBT its way easier for me to spend my money on things I want.

    July 26, 2012 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  18. aalisa31

    Romney, no one is attacking success... you are running on record but hide the details of it... please find a new phrase please....

    July 26, 2012 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  19. Romney is a LIAR

    Transparency is attacking success? Piers soft balled Romney what a disappointment.

    July 26, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. truth hurts

    Success: Taking over companies like GM, outsourcing the work to other countries, lay off all US employees of these companies, violating hundreds of laws, and stealing from the bondholders so you can give the company to your union supporters. And lose billions of tax payers money in the process.

    July 26, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |

    LOL -Willard doesn't get it at all does he. It's NOT about success. It's NOT about him being the 4th richest potential member of the Federal Govt and it's NOT about him being a family man.
    It IS about his refusal to release his tax returns, it IS about his offshoring – both wealth and jobs, it IS about his campaign's lack of any concrete (or even cohesive) plan to mend what ails us, it IS about his constant attack ads, and it IS about his dirty campaign, and it IS about his constant flip-flopping.

    July 26, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  22. Jess C

    These brainless sound bytes spewed by the GOP are getting more and more looney as Mitten's gets more and more desperate. "Attacking success" are we now? Pathetic retort. The middle class would just like to see the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes. If I'm paying 28%, than why in the hell isn't Mittens? Because his GOP wealthy cronies help create the very loop holes that he clearly takes advantage of, that's why? I'm sticking with a President who better understands the lives of the average American and who also has a much more intelligent view of the world.

    July 26, 2012 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  23. Sniffit

    Nobody is attacking success. Nobody.

    We're attacking the way the GOP/Teatrolls and our society have defined "success" for the past several decades.

    Our society is FAILING because of the policies based on the GOP/Teatrolls' definition of personal success. Get THAT through your freekin skulls.

    July 26, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  24. Yonni

    Mitt, stop attacking the Brits they are our strong allies.

    July 26, 2012 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  25. mike

    Romney, stop misrepresenting your opposition.

    July 26, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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