(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.
Could Romney have really been so arrogant as to believe he wouldn't be questioned about his wealth and taxes?
Mitt saying that people are attacking his success is weak (much like when Bill Maher tells a joke that gets no laughs and he blames the crowd for not knowing current events when it just is not a funny joke). People are not attacking success, but the impression that he made his wealth in a dishonest way (why not show your taxes and clear it up?). Nice try though, Mitt.
What a dipstick. This fool is upping his foolishness with each new whinny assss statement he makes. Get a grip, wimp.
Mitty we are not attacking success for we are also successful in on our own way. What we are attacking if you will, is for somebody who is perceived to be DISHONEST because you don't want to disclose your previous years income tax returns. Show it to us and prove that you are an honest man. You have to prove to us that you are morally successful. If you attain your success to unscrupulous operations, that is not success that is DISHONESTY AND GREEDINESS!!! Get that Mitty!!!
Mit Romney says Stop attacking success...but he hides money over seas...and plays God with worker's pension funds..
Start paying your taxes and stop acting like Vulture Capitalism is an honerable profession...
Romney stop putting down the workers you destroyed by shipping their jobs overseas....
Whoa, Willard. It all depends on how you got that "success". I have the greatest respect for entrepreneurs. I have no respect for cannibals like you.
No one's attacking success! They're attacking people like you who lie, cheat and are willing to ruin people's lives to make a buck. Success is great; I'm all for it. Go seek your fortune and good for you if you find it! But you, sir, wouldn't give a drowning man a glass of water.
Yes Mitt but when your success was built on closing US factories and laying off US workers only to send them overseas they deserve to be attacked.
How about you call together the hundreds of thousands of worker that lost their jobs as a result of the actions of you and Bain Capital and ask them to stop the attacks and then the rest of us will.
You are beginning to make Bachmann look sane.
Do you want a trophy for your ego?
I see you on America’s stage standing tall, standing proud
You stick your chest out while raising your voice to move the crowd
You get audiences hyped based on empty promises and unattainable dreams
But behind our back you will do what you can to hook your rich friends up by any means
You said you will build the oil pipeline with your own two hands if you have to
I bet you promised your sponsors once elected that’s the first thing you will do
I can’t imagine how many incentives oil companies are to gain
With you in office, all the super rich will remain the same while us normal hard working people keep struggling to maintain
No matter what you say now, we all know our tax money will be used
In turn, our pockets always take a beating and our trust is abused
Not once have I heard that you are concerned about women, the elderly or our youth
You want to rid us of Planned Parenthood, Medicare, public school funding, then hide the truth
I know what’s up, I can see right through that grin
You already sold your soul to the devil hoping for the ultimate win
You believe every woman raising kids should get nannies and go to work
Funny, your own wife stays at home and has no job living off you hmm, what a perk
Her hobby is expensive – she’s an equestrian and her career is to attend social events
This fact makes you a hypocrite and nothing you say makes any sense
You believe the president should be able to start a war without congressional approval or authorization
Even worse, it is proven you fail to lead in immigration
Talking to press about the use of electric fences and self deportation
With your values and views, how can you successfully lead our diverse nation?
Reporters often ask how you plan to fulfill your promises about creating jobs at every rally
You dodge those questions like a girl who sees a man all alone in an alley
I hope everyone eventually sees the light and will vote responsibly
I just pray we won’t have to listen to any more absurd politics with Mitt Romney.
Stop attacking success. A typical "straw-man" argument. Exactly where do Democrats say success is a bad thing?
It is very sad that Romney is so corrupt and shallow that he thinks success means money.
I've just robbed a bank, successfully, tell the cops to stop attacking my success, oh wait, I just robbed 10000 people off their pension fund successfully...guess what, stop attacking my success....!!!
Brick4pres - Thank you! My sentiments exactly (see my post above).
If success is greed.....Romney has it.
The so-called "rich" are what made America the most prosperous nation on earth. They pay most of the taxes and create most of the jobs (unless you work for the government). Tearing down that base will tear down the country. No poor guy on welfare receiving food stamps ever signed my paycheck.
The rich don't give a damn about you you idiot. They are about making money, if that means shipping your job overseas to make even more of a profit margin they will. It's not about making America strong it's about their wallets and those of their investors, otherwise there would not be call centers in India and Manila for cheap labor and Ford would not be building cars in Mexico. Or you clueless or just stupid or ignorant?
Please give examples where the president has attacked Mitt on his success? Coming from where he did to where he is now I think Obama has been VERY successful, like him or not. SO why bother attacking Romney? All I hear is Obama asking for FAIRNESS, but I guess that's a bad word if you're successful.
I guess Romney believe his policy of taking from the poor and middle class and giving to the rich will eliminate poverty, will make everyone wealthy, will cause the poor and middle class to spend more thus creating demand, will magically build roads and bridges, will magically enable the poor and middle class to affod to send their kids to college in order for America to compete with the rest of the world, would magically cause the average American to invent new technologies. What an Idiot. Idiot will have to do because CNN will probably block the four letter word that I wanted to use.
All the attacks against Mitt are completely baseless. How can anyone trust the liberal media? Everything that the American people think they know about Mitt has come from the media, and with most news sites taking either a liberal or conservative side (even without declaring so), then how can you trust all the crap about Bain and the corporate raider BS. Voters who don't research candidates from factual sources and ignorance has seriously screwed us all.
Success at the expense of American people? Keep it up roomey.
Liberals always have it wrong.
Hilarious to think that the rich would keep working hard to support the dumb lazy libs who just suck the teet of anyone who offers...
Success of a country can be measured by how they treat their poorest citizens....when we have millions of homeless people and tent cities go up along highways and others hoarding trillions of dollars in tax shelters....we fail.
Yes you are very successful Mitty AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHER!!! That is what we call IMMORALY SUCCESSFUL!!!
Who are these people who claim that "the Left opposes individual success"? What a bunch bs that is. Yeah, that's why we voted for a guy who worked hard enough to get himself in to Harvard. No, what we oppose is taking money from poor people so that the federal government can give it to rich people. Let the wealthy pay a reasonable share of their income, just as us "normal" folks are required to pay their taxes. I'll bet you that the tax returns Mitt won't release show him paying ZERO taxes in those years. My own family pays little taxes, but mom has an Aston Martin in the garage. Just not right. And they won't even let me drive it since I crashed it, so mean.
I hope everyone also saw and read the article about the super rich hiding "TRILLIONS". The super rich are trying to buy this election so they can hide even more of their money and Romney is exactly their man. Sick.