(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.
"winchester74" why don' t you ask Obama where your tax dollars are he spent out of our pockets. You're worried about Romney's money but can't explain what the heck Obama did with our money. You're poor before Obama and you'll be poor after Obama... Do you think Obama should have access to all of Romney's money to waste also. Just because the president takes the poor poeples money dosen't mean Romney should be sutpid and give all of his money for them waste. Romney dosen't need to win he already done what the president which he could do. "MAKE MONEY" Romney either way will still be rich. If Obama wins he will continue to be a borke president and help keep you the same.
Don't forget....this jerk strapped his dog to the top of his car! He will throw the poor and middle class under the bus.
Look, Mitt... Maybe you're kind of new to this whole thing, but "the wealthy" can be replaced just as easily as any other worker. No one is criticizing YOUR success, unless your gains are ill-gotten. And Let's face facts, Mitt – a lot of the wealthy lately have been running amok like baboons. Stop your self-victimization and whining.
Stop attacking the number of jobs my company moved from America to overseas. Stop attacking the outsourcing Romney did for the 2002 US Olympics. Stop attacking Romney for betting on the Euro against the US dollar. Stop attacking Romney for failing to release tax records to the same level he has demanded of others.
Romney, we don't question your wealth or anyone else s, but when you make that wealth over and over at the expense of Americans, we have to wonder why you should be president.
"Stop attacking success" is the same line that Bernie Madoff used when he was indicted.
Let's all become tax cheaters like Romney and see how successful as a whole the country would be.
One thing that politicians and propagandists are very good at is redefining the meaning of words. If someone successfully steals millions of dollars, that would be considered 'success' by the current definition... it's all about how much you made, not how you made it. When the mentality is 'profits before people', there is a problem – though quite a few today don't see it. Remember – "Money is the root of all evil".
Dropping temporary tax cuts is NOT a tax increase. These temporary tax cuts have already been extended several times. Thje budget no long allows it. Obama is extending them for the middle class, but letting them expire for those most able to pay. It is disingenuous to say he is increasing taxes on the rich. But I would expect this from Romney.
I knew it. If he releases his tax returns, we're all going to die.
Didn't the North tell the South they were attacking their slavery built success?
What does the scoreboard say again?
The conservatives should just do like Texas A&M and see if they can find a new conference to hide from yearly Texas Liberals a$$ whuppins!!!
Conservative greed and lack of backbone never change.
What Rommey does not understand as being seccessfull for him and making money was taking jobs away from alot of Americans. Shipping jobs to a county that pays $3. a day or less makes money for him but it screws the people in the US that are trying to find their first job or someone that had a $15. job and now the company want to make money by shipping the job overseas like he did. He is not looking out for the people of the United States. Being a good business man does not mean you will be good at running the most powerful country in the world. As president you have to care about people and not just how much money you can make. It is not profitable to run a organization that puts out forest fires so where does the helping people come into the picture. People want to like their president and Rommey is not likable. He is not honest to even show his taxes like 99% of the other people going into this position. He is looking for a job but unwilling to show the American people what he has done and how he made his money and how he has done business.
The more I hear Romney speak, the more I feel certain I do NOT want this man as president of my country!
Romney is just a polished and better looking Donald Trump.
failures always attack successful people. it is how they distract from their failure. blame others.
wWhen your greatest accomplishment is hated and reviled by a majority of the american people, what does that say about your accomplishments? nothing good.
this election will not be close as many think. there is a huge hidden anti-obama sentiment. it came out in 2010 and will come out even stronger in 2012. the american people hate failure and they hate the blame game and fingerpointing even more.
Gov. Romney is not misrepresenting anything; if someone invested their money, took heavy risk, and put in years and years of hard work to build up a business, then they built it. That is all he is saying. Don’t go around condemning that sort of success.
Many here don't think that kind of success needs to be applauded, because President Obama doesn't think so.
Try building a business from scratch; then probably many would know. What if the whole investment goes down?
Before I hear one more Liberal blame the Republicans for outsourcing all our jobs, wasn't it Bill Clinton who signed NAFTA into Law? Not saying Republicans don't share their own share of blame but I just don't believe Democrats are the Knights in Shinning Armor coming to save the working class as they claim to be. How many of the top 25 most wealthy politicans are Democrats? Difference between Republicans and Democrats? Republicans openly admit they are pro business because they think it's best for the country. Democrats claim they are for the people yet seem to reap a lot of rewards for the way they vote from their rich supporters. Interesting.
The Republican elites were able to find someone more stupid than Bush and less electable than Palin. Who would have guessed it was possible? To top it off they exclude Ron Paul who has thousands of followers show up on college campuses and rational ideas to return the party to its roots. That the Republican leadership is out of touch is mild. Mitt and the neo-con nuts are out of this world. By the way, success used to mean self-made success, not inherited success.
so now, not only is it wrong to suggest that in the midst of this great recession rich people should help by putting their money where their mouth is. it's wrong to even criticize them. next it will be wrong to speak out of turn or interrupt a rich person. then it will be wrong to make eye contact. who's the real class warrior?
And this coming from a man who has a horse, that is worth half or more that what my house is worth... FAIL....
Mill, let me refer you to the CNN Video "Super Rich Hide Trillions"
"Us People" are not attacking success, we are attacking the un-level playing field and the perpetuation of wealth for the 1%.
It is time to stop the tax breaks that let you pay zero taxes, it is time to stop the corporate welfare that has helped you make your millions, it is time stop banks and investment companies from risking our economy and our money.
Call it what you want Mitt, but we don't like what you and the Oligarchy stand for.
Romney is so arrogant and out of touch. He should be vetted about his taxes and finances just as every other presidential candidate is.
Romney feels that doing the right thing by giving back to the nation that allowed you to become successful- to "pass it forward" to the next kid with a big idea, as the President put it, equals being attacked...? For a successful and uber-wealthy investor, Mitt sure has a thin skin. How much more is he being asked to pay forward? Is that amount really going to cramp his style? Or is it just a matter of "screw everyone else, now I've got mine"?
How's that Swiss bank account doing, Mittens? Did you set it up to avoid paying taxes, to given foreign investors in Bain a way to avoid paying taxes, or did you just forget you had it because, hey, what's another 2 or 3 million between friends? And, when are you going to talk about the bailouts - oh, I'm sorry, forgiven loans - from the government that you accepted while CEO at Bain? You know, how you and your cronies have managed to socialize risk and privatize rewards? Or, how about talking about why your proposed repeal of Obamacare will increase the deficit *and* leave millions more Americans - mostly elderly and children - excluded from of health care insurance?
Rmoney just can't stop lying.
Romney will never release his tax returns because he is disgusted and ashamed of himself and rightly so.
Americans love success, even once in a while the crooks, but not all the crooks and the successful needs to come from hard work, not loopholes, special preference and cheating......
No one is attacking success, but attacking the crooks and cheats.... oh wait, is that that Mitt means by success? Cheating and crooked dealing? His success may have been legal, or may not, but was it ethical?
That is the character issue here, Does he have any demonstrated ethnics or lapse of it?
Al Capone was successful, would Mitt celebrate and protect him from "attack"?