(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.
Mitt can't win for losing. Her eis a tweet from the ULTRA-CONSERVATIVE British columnist James Chappers:
"Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. 'Worse than Sarah Palin.' 'Total car crash'. Two of the kinder verdicts #romneyshambles
obama policy, if i cannot create wealth for the poor, let me destroy the wealthy so that poor don't complain?
Wealth that is inherited only encourages sloth and poor work ethic by future generations. Inheritances should be taxed into oblivion.
Lee Tutt just said MR is not the sharpest knife in the kitchen. OMG, is that all you liberals have? Calling people dumb? November is not going to be kind to you and your lack of intellect.
So the wealthy are beyond reproach by virtue of their wealth? Sounds like another case of "too big to fail."
No one is attacking success. We just don't like cheaters, and people who hide money off-shore are cheaters. Cheater.
"criticism of the nation's wealthy, including his family, would lead to economic demise."
Suck it up Mitt, if you can't handle the criticism then you don't deserve to be president. The criticism isn't unjustified either concidering the well to do can get tax rates around 14-15% while working stiffs pay a higher rate just because they got a paycheck from a 9-5 job.
Way to go Littlelilly! Couldn't have said it better! Want to give us 14% tax rates? We will all be better off!
how did Marco Rubio get into UM (private school) and play for law school?
Pay your people a fair wage that they can live on. It is said when you can't afford to buy the product you are emaking
There's a big difference between "success" and "greed". Without successful people in this country, we would be another Somalia. But how many tens of millions does one person, or one family, really need to be successful. Is it justifiable to have tax dodges so that the "successful" can avoid paying their share of taxes, while we cut back on basic services like teachers and filling pot holes in our streets. Of course taxes are only part of the overall economic mess we have mostly created for ourselves over the past several decades. There is certainly no one president or party that you could blame entirely for our current situation. Besides a complete overhaul of our tax system, we need to bring back some of the manufacturing we have "outsourced" during the last few decades. Only then, will we see the return of a real widespread prosperity in America.
The manner in which our culture has defined success and the choices made in how we've structured our society and governance in light of said definition...all of that has lead us to the brink of disaster BUT benefitted people like Mittens to an insane degree. THAT is why he doesn't want us to have the conversation and is trying to shut it down. It is an adult conversation. If you insist on childishly and superficially calling it "attacking success," then you don't belong having it with the rest of us.
Mitt, there is a difference between FREE ENTERPRISE where you build something or provide a service, then profit from it. Hopefully... to get wealthy.
What YOU do is vulture capitalism where you create NOTHING, leverage debt, then pocket the earning while destroying companies.
We're not attacking success, we're attacking people like you that helped crash the world economy through voodoo capitalism.
Can this guy make a point without lying? It is not success that is being criticized. What is at issue here is those who become wealthy and then try to game the system to run up the national debt by reducing their tax burden in an unfair manner, by supressing the minimum wage, by stripping workers rights, by removing or disabling worker protections, by diluting environmental protections, by taking timber, coal, minerals, and oil from public lands without paying a fair price, by weakinging anti-trust laws, by eliminating, reducing, or rendering useless consumer protections.
You get my point. Unfortunately, Romney's campaign seems almost totally dependent on misrepresenting the President's record, positions, and words – yet again proving Mitt Romney is simply not presidential material.
A whole lot of the white rich republican southerners today got their break by acquiring their wealth through their ancestors who got their big break through four hundred years of FREE slave labor. I'm still waiting for my big breakm, my mule and ten acres so I can start my own business!
it's not an attack against your success in business. It is an attack against your integrity (or lack of)
Romney can not divert attention from the truth. He is a pandering liar and probably paid zero in taxes at least once in the last ten years. He hides his money offshore while the middle class is struggling. This is not about his success but his character.
"If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen." – ANY first-grade student know the word "THAT" refers to the noun in the sentence to which it is used. If Obama is such a champion of teachers, maybe he should get an English teacher to give him a lesson on proper sentence construction. "Roads and Bridges" are plural the proper word to use would have been "THOSE" hence the use of the word "THAT" by definition could only mean to apply to the term "BUSINESS". Sorry Mr. President your English and your economic philosophy both suck!!!!
Romney you have 2 years into presidency to show your taxes. Obama took 2 years for his birth certificate, we need jobs now, not your tax return
It's not attacking success. It's attacking success at the expense of the struggling. We're talking about a man who bought/bankrupted companies, fired employees, sold them off, and outsourced jobs to help build his "success". It's the kind of success that is damaging to the United States and the struggling middle class.
Everyone needs to pay more taxes to pay for the two wars fought on a credit card. Those of you who voted for the idiot that wanted to go to war with Iraq, should throw in even more. Seriously, if we paid for wars as we went along those soldiers (who most of us forget are still over there) would be home where they belong. You would have been more careful about electing a man with a chip on his shoulder and a grudge to pay on behalf of his pop. We are still at war, how can taxes not go up to pay for it?
It's the GREED we are attacking!
This may be the season of The Socialist Party USA. Equality in everything for everybody.
Is that a threat? Is he really poking a stick at a wounded animal?
no one is attacking "success." what we are attacking is Romney's brand of vulture capitalism – which is not success – it is robbery. Romney plundered American companies, robbed the employees of their pensions, shipped their jobs to China, pushed the companies into bankruptcy, and took tax breaks on the profits and the cost of sending jobs overseas. That is not "success" – that's just plain old "sucks"