(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 even CRITICIZE "success" now? By success he means the rich. What are they going to do, get mad and create jobs in other countries instead of in the USA?
romney uses hair gel made from the tears of laid off workers
Romney was a success in business profitability by closing plants, firing people and shipping jobs overseas.
What does this have to do with making a country a success?
By Obama logic extension, the poor should pay higher taxes as they benefit disporportionally from the roads and bridghes and pay less in taxes...
We are not attacking success. We are attacking sucessful people not paying their fair share of taxes. Why does he not get it?
No one is criticizing success...everyone is criticizing the failure that is Mitt. Stop whining, and come clean about Bain and your tax returns!
No one is criticizing success, Mittens. We're criticizing you for dodging taxes and not paying your fair share to the country you claim to love. The truth is you love money far more than you love your country.
We're attacking you Myth, and your "Creative Destruction" path to riches, and the price working people have had to pay for it.
I can't wait until November when he can sport his magic underpants, hop on his space ship and fly back off to Mormonland.
The nation does not need your kind of "success" Flipper. Destroying jobs and businesses is not be be admired. It's hard to imagine a more horrible resume.
A thief robs a bank and gets away with it.
Stop attacking his success!
Romney dismantles companies and hides the profits offshore, like a pirate.
Romney is a liar and a thief.
There are a lot of cartel leaders that have been successful crushing the lives of those under them too. Maybe we should lay off them also!
Some people were very successful betting that the economy would collapse, but I wouldn't want them to be President of the United States.
@ TSB8C, yeah the wealthy sure did a number on American's during the Industrial Revolution. They made their wealth by paying their employees scraps, forcing them to work long wages with no benefits, they CREATED the labor unions essentially. Everyone knows it's the little man on the line (the workers) that makes the money for the company.
Now the wealthy are making stupid financial decisions that are destroying this economy, and you want to give them a pass.
Keep in mind Bush II said "Of course I love the wealthy, I am one of them." A Republican Senator once said "I listen to the wealthy becasue they are the ones that make the ." Rent the movie "Soylant Green" you will see what a Republican dream world looks like.
Don't criticize the people who are trying to buy me into office, alright?
RE: "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. Someone get him a Toastmasters International membership stat! Or a book on public speaking. Even Dubya Bush sounds smarter by comparison.
What a pathetic response.
Hire Romney to represent your multinational corporation? Sure.
Hire him to represent the citizens of the country? Don't make me laugh.
Rich Republicans. The new White Trash.
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
Very funny. Like Mitt Romney has ever worked beyond hiring other people to make the unethical investments that increase his personal wealth. Ask the people who doubled his fortune for him how many vacations they've had lately, or whether they can take time off to go to the Olympics and still expect to have a job when they get back. How about *all* Americans having a bit of comfort and security - and, yes, time for family and recreation - instead of the "winners" (who were often born with money in the bank) celebrating their excess while the "losers" are out looking for second jobs and forced overtime and the nearest emergency room in case they get sick. I mean, it's not like the rich got that way by their own hard work and perseverance; plenty of hard working poor people and owners of failed businesses could enlighten you about that. For some reason successful people never want to acknowledge that they were also very lucky, or want to pretend that luck was some kind of reward for being good, as if God had nothing better to do than to make sure they got a second boat.
Romney opens his mouth and one of two things come out. Either worthless GOP talking points, or a jumble of incoherent words that tell you nothing.
It's not being rich. It is the rigging of the system by the rich FOR the rich.
@TSB8C: Au Contraire my economic-illiterate friend, factories and wheels are churned by the masses. The rich may invest the money but the supply of wage workers come from the masses. The free market is based on the S&D curve.
Imagine one thousand rich (I mean very rich > $50 M) persons who own lots of land and factories without anyone working in them. Empty factories but lots of $$$ sitting on the tables. Who does the Labor? LABOR!