July 26th, 2012
02:44 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney in Piers Morgan interview: Stop attacking success

(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.

Filed under: 2012 • Bain Capital • Mitt Romney • TV-Piers Morgan
soundoff (350 Responses)
  1. 60minuteman

    It's doesn't matter that someone is rich. But it matters very much how that person GOT rich. Show us your tax returns Mitt. Show us how much "FREE STUFF" you have been getting from the Government.

    July 26, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  2. Mopery

    How is this any different from Mitt saying "Stop attacking larceny."?

    July 26, 2012 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  3. Germanicus

    How is asking the the richest 1% of the country to pay the same taxes the rest of us pay "attacking success"? Anyone who actually falls for this bs is a brainwashed ideologue.

    July 26, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. jdawg

    Being born into wealth does not make one 'successful,' unless you are Mittens.

    July 26, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. jhalldor

    Successful tax evasion. Successful robbery from the middle class. Successful deception of the people to send our soldiers to war to serve the selfish interests of the neo-con elites. Why criticize Mitt's success?

    July 26, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  6. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Steamrolling the middle class for profit is not success! Its called FRAUD! Ask Bernie Madeoff!

    July 26, 2012 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Mohammad A Dar

    Romney is nothing but a good gentile slave of hindu sanatan Jews, criminal self centered goons, he will bring nothing but disaster to America and the world to please his hindu criminal man god's, the Jew's, self centered to spread hinduism, racism base of hindu Judaism, filthy self centrism, secularism in defiance of truth absolute enshrined in cons–ti-tution of USA

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Kevin Barbieux

    The human ego is a funny thing. Once a person has achieved a certain success in life, he/she has a tendency to want to take all the credit for that success for themselves. What conservatives don't want to admit is that success of every kind is a team effort. And the biggest member of our success team is the US government. It is the government that builds the infrastructure on which people build their success.

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  9. tony

    Never Attack Success or my Billions in hard earned cash, due to well deserved special tax breaks. So said Julius Caesar, William the Conqueror, The Medici's, Louis the 14th, The Russian Czar, Imelda Marcos, Saddam Hussein, etc., etc.,

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  10. BJ

    Get your ears cleaned, Romney–no one is criticizing success!!

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  11. Lisa P


    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.
    July 26, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm

    And no rich guy ever paid you what you really earned for him. Don't blame the poor for your misery - you undersold yourself and your boss took that to the bank and gave himself a raise. Then he took your pension and told you to go blame the poor some more.

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  12. rzitka@hotmail.com

    Wealth is not success and success is not wealth.

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  13. FLIndependent

    Romney's words say it all here as it is apparent that he thinks if one doesn't have a lot of money then he's not successful. Success doesn't always equate to money and in his world that is exactly what it means. He proves more and more every day that he is truly a greedy, out of touch, 1%....exactly what we DO NOT need to run our country and be our Commander in Chief. The middle class will vanish under a Romney presidency because if you don't meet his definition of "success" you're just a peon.

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  14. mehh

    Success in itself isn't a bad thing. It's how you get it (by working hard, stealing to get it, stepping over people to acheive it, etc.) and what you do with it that's important.

    I'd never want my kids to look up to the people that became "successful" off the backs of others.

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  15. Creepy

    No problem with his success. Do have a problem with him bending over so far to please the far right-wing conservatives.

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. Austin

    In order to even have the chance to criticize ones wealth, won't we have to know how much one makes first? If only there was a way to figure how much money someone made in a year?

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. NN

    Success is one thing, being a low-life crooked manipulator, con artist, and thief at the expense of tens of thousands of people and their livlehood is quite another. Romney is no success. There is something deeply wrong with America that this crook can even show his face in public much less obtain the nomination of major political party.

    July 26, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. Rommy Romulan

    Typical bigoted arrogant comment from a guy that's never worked a day in his life. How anyone could support this guy to run the country is beyond me.

    July 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. $am

    Because Success can only be measured by Money, and not how many people have a good job, or healthcare, or a good eduction, or happiness...

    July 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  20. SCOTO

    The type of "success" that gets rich clowns bonuses on Wall Street paid for by the taxpayers instead throwing them in prison.

    July 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. Damian X

    Romney is a liar and a hypocrite. He was a horrid governor in MA............what's he going to do as POTUS? Outsource every job under our feet to India?

    July 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  22. Paul Boretski

    It's not Romney's "Success" that is being criticized, it's how he became successful.

    July 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  23. Libdumb

    Obama knows nothing else but to attack success. He doesn't have a clue what it is as he was handed everything in his life. Didn't earn a thing.

    July 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  24. MikeB

    Obama's way of thinking is that everyone competing in the Olympics should get a Medal. And anyone dominating should back off so that others can get one.

    July 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  25. Dennis1020

    As someone has already said, no one is attacking the successful or the wealthy, we are only asking them to not hide their wealth in off-shore accounts and to pay their fair share. Romney is also not some entrepreneur who lifted himself up by his bootstraps, started a consumer-based business and got wealthy in the process. Through an accident of birth he was born into money, had all of the privileges money could buy, and ran a business that depended on cutting costs and jobs in the buying and selling of businesses for the benefit of wealthy investors. For anyone who is in the lower or middle income strata of our society, and who supports Romney, I've got news for you–he doesn't comprehend your economic/financial pain, could care less (except in a campaign speech), and will do absolutely nothing to create opportunities for you to lift yourself up.

    July 26, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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