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. Phattee

    That's nice. Let's see those tax return so we can admire your success.

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  2. Disanitnodicos

    Barack Obama: "If you own a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. Really?

    Phony rhetoric from the empty suit. Nobody is attacking success. What they are attacking is people like you who made their millions by outsourcing other peoples jobs and robbing their pension funds. Then stuffing all of your ill gotten gains in foreign tax shelters like Swizterland, the Bahamas, and the Caymen Islands. If that is your definition of success then your more deluded then your followers.

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. John

    No one is attacking the Millionaires and Billionaires. However there must be fairness and playing by the same set of rules. Mitt pays a 15% tax rate and the average American pays at a 30% tax rate. Dividends,stocks,salaries need to be taxed at the same rate. Why should the 1% get a lower tax rate. That is unfair.....

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  5. wcb2

    TSB8C – Wrong. Any economist with a PHD will tell you that those concepts (that commonly fall under the umbrella of trickle down economics) havent done much of anything to affect the middle or lower class for decades. The rich may be trickling on the lower classes, but it sure aint money!

    My guess is that you are either rich or a social extremist who is willing to prop up the rich for the sake of hating liberal social policies.

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  6. TomCom

    First, corporate america is all about the stock holders. Creating American jobs is not #1, but making money is.

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  7. Syd

    No one's attacking success you arrogant ass! They're attacking people like you who lie, cheat and are willing to ruin people's lives to make a buck. Success is great; I'm all for it. Go seek your fortune and good for you if you find it! But you, sir, suck.

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  8. Paul

    The CEO of Goldman-Sachs testified a few months ago that about 70 cents of the price of each gallon of gasoline was due to speculators. So, if you can afford to dump beau coup bucks into oil futures, then you can sit on your butt and rake in the cash! Kids flipping hamburgers, guys digging ditches, selling cars, secretaries, retirees, they will all pay you their hard-earned money to do nothing, just because you're rich! Now that's success!

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. anotherGDlefty

    C'mon Bishop, the rich like yourself have been coddled long enough and they are not "job creators" they are wealth hoarders.

    NO ONE is attacking success regardless of what FOXPAC says...we ARE however, attacking you and your lies and changes in positions and the fact that you are hiding your taxes as well as your success with healthcare in Massachusetts. Luckily, you have given us plenty to attack you about.

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. wallster

    It's not your success that's troubling Americans Mitt, it's how you made it (some through vulture capitalism and some through birth), and also the fact that you've used the United States and all of the freedoms that come with it to make your money (ie infrastructure, Government loans, etc.) yet you don't feel obligated to keep your wealth in the United States where retired Government workers and the middle class can use your tax deductions to prosper as well. You act like a spoiled child who wants everything but won't share anything once you get it.

    July 26, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. marlene cobb

    I don't knock success–just the fact that Romney seems to want to help the "successful" people (himself included)– more than those less fortunate. People who can afford to pay more seem to spend a lot of time trying to get out of paying even their fair share.

    July 26, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Lagos

    If I had a dollar for every time someone whined about something not being fair, I'd be a 1%er.

    July 26, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. Alex Dumas

    "Criticizing" the wealthy, or making them pay more taxes, or whatever, are merely ticks on an elephant's ass. If you have $50 or $100 million or more carefully invested...and you're not some jerky, new money fool that blows it all on expensive cars and homes and yachts...you'll always have money...no matter what anybody says or does. And so will your children and grandchildren and so on. The rich don't worry about day to day living expenses, big college bills, having good health care insurance, pop-up crises like blown engines or transmissions , spending $10K or 20K on kids' orthodonis bills, or having to get a new roof or boiler or whatever. They don't even think about that stuff.

    July 26, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Yeah right

    Working has and always will be for suckers!!! Please continue to send me my welfare check right after Robme gets his

    July 26, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  15. DL

    Mitt's definition of Success = skr ew everyone else while looking out for #1
    Vote Romney 2012 – profits over people

    July 26, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  16. Nilkinggary

    Romney would be better served by shrugging these attacks off with some humor. His current response sounds like whiny special pleading. Who wants a president that whines about the rich getting dumped on?

    July 26, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  17. soul68

    Ahh yes, poor Mitt Romney, so successful and everyone's attacking him. Except no one is attacking him for being successful.

    Sorry Mitt you can be successful but it matters if you trample over good hard working Americans to get there.

    July 26, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  18. davetharave

    Nobody is attacking success !! This notion is a fabrication of the Romney campaign and along with all the out-of-context sound bites they are using represents the only basis they have for trying to attack the President. it isn't going to work because voters are not that stupid.

    July 26, 2012 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  19. BobJones

    Liberals, being totally dependent on and addicted to government handouts, and rarely paying any significant income taxes, live life as parasites on society. Success? They have no concept of what that means.

    July 26, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  20. AL in West Palm Beach

    Hey Mitt, you're a lawyer but not a bright one.

    After McVeigh killed all those people we didn't ban fertilizer altogether, but go to a farm store and try to buy a truck load and you'll find out what happens within 24 hours.

    No one is criticizing success, I am not. What I will continue to criticize is how you went and bet against the American dollar in opening accounts in switzerland, cayman islands, others. Thus dodging the IRS, how ANTI-AMERICAN IS THAT?

    Wait, then again when it comes to doging you're king. hint: vietnam war – draft.

    July 26, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  21. John Q Public

    Yeah, stop picking on the "productive class" of "job creators" who are "chosen by God" to suck all the money out of the system for their own gain while pushing down wages and making us all slaves.

    July 26, 2012 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  22. lobo joe

    Why can't Willard understand, it's not successful individuals that are being attacked, it's just him. Many people see through him just as if he were plexiglass.

    July 26, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. GJGVT

    "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. <<- Hello? the tax code has been doing this since the income tax was created... there is no FLAT tax

    July 26, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. unblvble

    obama policy, if i cannot create wealth for the poor, let me destroy the wealthy so that poor don't complain???

    July 26, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. enfilmigult

    How about this, champ: Why don't the rich stop considering every proposed raise in taxes as an "attack" and act like adults? Many are already there, I don't know what's taking people like Romney so long to grow up.

    July 26, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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