(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.
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...
I bet that you don't have a job.........just posting. silly you . I
If your country ends up electing this tool, you will be in soooooo much trouble.
For the last time Mitt, nobody is attacking success, yours or anybody elses. What we are attacking are lies, superficiality and cynicism. How convenient of you to create this "straw man" success nonsense but it won't do a darn thing to help your already doomed campaign! Show the tax returns or go home!
November's choice...Democracy or Plutocracy.
A Plutocracy is a form of State or Government that is run by the Wealthy class.
The GOP is committed to having the middle class carry the burden while the wealthy make profits at their expense. How naive people are when they think that Romney and his associates plan to "share the wealth" if he should become POTUS.
They didn't do it before...they won't do it now...and that's why there is no middle class only the 1% and the other 99% Frankly, I don't want a "boss" being my President.
All the attacks against Mitt are completely baseless.
His very first ad was an attack ad full of lies, and nothing has changed since.
@BobJones – "Liberals hate success, because mostly it eludes them. My five year old can understand that."
Comments like this do not help your cause especially with us Independents!
It has been a goal in this country to better yourself and those around you. Mitt is a success story that frankly should be admired. His political views are up for debate but being attacked for taking risk and being very successful should not be in the fray. If everyone was mediocre and just getting by that is what the US will become. Be careful of what you wish for.
If Romney thinks that this is about success that shows you how much he is out of touch if the real world.
Sorry Mitt – but I don't think that the greed that made them wealthy will suddenly dissapear. They'll just keep on ripping off the general public.
USA became rich because of enterprises like MacDonald, Ford, Coke, Pepsi, Boeing, Lockheed, Honeywell, Microsoft, Apple, HP, Dell, etc. These enterprises were either directly created by Rich People or funded by Rich People or Venture Capital Firms. Obama and fellow socialists have no clue about how wealth is created. They are the leaches who are misleading poor people by attacking rich people to get their votes and once they get elected to office, they suck the blood out of them.
Mr. Romney please stop attacking the workers that built your success.
No not your workers in China, the ones you left here in America unemployed!
The attacks on success have been what has turned me from an Obama voter and donor in 2008 to a Romney supporter in 2012. Obama has been none of things he talked about. He has been so divisive. He has been so negative lately, and even in a false manner (see the pinocchios all his negative ads are generating with the fact check organizations), He's just another dishonest politician. I was hoping for so much more, especially when democrats controlled congress his first two years in office. He's just nothing like he said he was.
Oh no, Mr. Romney. You've got it all wrong. We're not attacking "success" itself, we're attacking people like you who make hundreds of million dollars and hide them so they don't have to pay taxes like the rest of us poor slobs.
all so, you can't just take you money out of the country. Obama/gov. knows what you are doing. otherwise it would be called tax evasion... So Romney is not hiding anything, he just thinks you have nothing to do with his money. I agree... half of you would not have the since to understand Romney's taxes... if they were made public. It is known to the public that he's give away about 4 million to broke people every year, while your president made it up to 100k since being in office and selling his so called book. Worry about real things such as jobs, SSS, and this country security...
Hey Mitt, being born into a wealthy family isn't how most people define success. Just sayin'.
Success based on dishonesty, manipulation and exploitation of both the system and other people is not "success". Better words might be fraud, cheating or theft. This is probably why people don't get Mitt, and think he "flip flops" all the time. He's just loose with semantics.
Obama and the Democrats are not attacking the wealthy. Obama is the first to say, he IS one himself. They are simply saying the wealthy have a responsibility to give back to society according to their means, which are considerable, and to carry their "fair share" of the social burden. The debate is over what their "fair" share ought to be. But I've heard no demonization of the wealthy from the Left. It seems that Romney and the Right are the ones who are trying to stoke the "class war" they keep talking about!
""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. " ../... Good – so he wont mind paying the same percentage of taxes that I do then?
More manure from a king of it.
Willard Mitt Romney believes he can win the Presidency of the United States by spending 100's of millions of
dollars in negative, false, and malcious advertising against President Obama. Willard is tryly a egomanic whose
values are opulence, weath and greed; he cares nothing about the middle class as he rarely if ever
has had a pesonal relationship in recent years with anyone who is not a millionaire or billionaire. What does he know
about being poor or being a blue collar worker. Nothing.
Someone wrote "federal government can give it to rich people". Federal government doesn't give anything to the rich; it is the other way round. The question is about the fair share ideology? 60% is fair share? say, work three days for the government and two days for self? How about that.
How dare you serfs criticize us lords?
Sure Romney, I'll stop attacking the wealthy, when you and your rich brethren stop attacking the poor.
We are not attacking success, we are attacking excess, theft, corruption, graft and the purchase of our democracy.
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.
AND THEN WROTE THE LOSS OFF AGAINST YOUR TAXES.
This man shouldn't be allowed to take the White House tour much less occupy its Oval Office.