(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.
"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."
You can't be serious. Flip that around and you have the reality. The rich do not create jobs, the consumer does. They are not the base of an economy or the government, the other 95% is. Without the real base, the one constantly being eroded, the rich have nothing. The poor guy on welfare might not be writing your check but he might have had the opportunity at some point, and continued to contribute to the economy, if Romney hadn't made his riches by outsourcing the job and closing the company behind it.
Mitt's success came at the expense of many people and companies. That's the reason for the attacks. He hurt a lot of people in order to make that kind of money. I would like to see those tax returns.
The McCain camp saw his taxes and told him to hit the road, and then they took Palin. Can you think of anyone worst than Palin and the Party of NO want this person to be President.
There is a difference between being succesful and crushing the middle class to make a dollar. The uber-rich have created (with the collution of our politicians) the economic problems in this country now. Given the state of politics in this country, everything is fair.
The "job creators" do not create anything unless there is a dollar (or a billion) to be made for them
That is what infuriates me about the whole class war fair argument
This is unbelievable! Every time that man opens his mouth,he comes off like an idiot!
Why does the left continue to attack a man that has been an american success story? Isn't that what America is all about – going from nothing to something?
I'm not attacking success , but executive salaries have increased at a far higher rate than those of the average worker.
WHERE ARE THE TAX RETURNS, MR. MONEYBAGS????????
Where are your records from Massachusets (why did you have to destroy all those hard drives???)
Where are the records from the Olympics
Why all the lies, Etch-A-Sketch?????
Could Romney have really been so arrogant as to believe he wouldn't be questioned about his wealth and taxes?
No, it's actuallty worse than that. He knew he would be asked. He knows that he is successful because he makes his own rules. He bends to know one. It's his way or the highway. Only thing is this. He doesn't realize that he cannot fire the American people.
Using "Romney logic", I guess we need to add "negative statements about success" to shouting "fire" in a movie theater as exceptions to the First Amendment. Of course, negative statements about those who lack wealth, for whatever reason, are part of every Romney stump speech.
@VAD.....Thank you! Very very good argument!
Oh the eloquence and articularitis [sic] of this man, wow and wow.
"There are people who are trying to attack 'success' and are trying to attack 'our success'; that's not going to be successful"... me me me mine mine mine successsss
Public to Romney: stop whining. Nobody put you into the public view but yourself. Stop being a sissy.
Success at bankrupting other American companies and outsourcing the jobs to China isn't what we look for in a president, Mr. Romney.
The rich aren't succeeding on "the backs of others." What moron actually believes that, other than those that have never gone into business for themselves.
If I made 27 million dollars, but caused 20,000 people to lose their jobs, I'd have an easy time pitching that as a success to myself but a hard time pitching that as a success to the American public while running for a public office intended toward stengthening our economy.
"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." This says it all. But, what it doesn't say, the Romney's of the world, or at least of the people doing business in United States need to stop cheating when it comes to taxes, stop cheating to make that extra million or two; or change the rules so the common hardworking man and woman get the same tax breaks and loopholes. Keep fighting President Obama. Come November the GOP will still be whining while you're taking the oath for your 2nd term.
"When you attack success you have less of it."
That really says everything you need to know from Romney. Not even so much as a question over taxation can be tolerated by him. He's telling all of us to shut up and obey.
He's also entirely wrong on the facts. The country has propsered before when the middle class was thriving and taxes were higher on the wealthy than they are now.
It appears to me like Romney feels guilty about having so much money. He knows that his money was taken from failed businesses or given to him. He knows that people that see him as a fraud would be jealous of him and attack. He knows because that is what he would do if he was one of us.
Stop attacking others for saying things that they never said. The right wing is completely bankrupt of any ideas. They are sad and desperate.
Starting out as a rich kid with a CEO/Politician Dad did'nt hurt his chances of success any did it? His grandfather was a polygamist with under-aged wives too! His great grandfather was shot in the street for taking an under-aged wife that happened to be already married. Still better than the current guy though.
He' needs to know that we are not buying that success – greedy crap. He need to find a better argument. Share the wealth, thief.
This is not success. This is lie, steal, and cheat. I would feel better about the man if he were more than an opportunist to the wrost degree. Bring the jobs back to America and invest in our middle class.
That really says everything you need to know from Romney. Not even so much as a question over taxation can be tolerated by him. He's telling all of us to zip it and obey.
The American People want to see this fools tax returns for the last 20 years to see how "sucksessfullofit" he really is.
It is not success that is being attacked. It is the successful that are greedy beyond the required needs. Trickle down economics does not work when greed is added into the equation.