(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.
Mississippi is the POOREST state in the Union. It's a GOP controlled state. The other GOP controlled states are also dirt poor.
They've been that way for the DECADES AND DECADES that the GOP has controlled those states.
Is THAT the type of success that Romney is going to bring to all of AMERICA?????
Is THAT the type of success that YOU want for YOUR state?
Mitt, we're not attacking success or wealth or honest conservatism. We're just against militaristic plutocracy, vulture capitalists, draft-dodging hawks, and Prince of Peace devoted war enthusiasts.
Romney is defending against a straw man, not Obama's actual policies.
Obama is attack illegitimate wealth – wealth gained dishonestly, such as by bankers through mortgage fraud scams.
If Romney is defending all wealth regardless of its origin, then he's defending criminals.
Multiple choice: History proves the following societies were successful by attacking those who were more successful than average: (A) Soviet Union (B) Nazi Germany (C) Roman Empire (D None of the Above
i agree – we will always have poor people... I'm not going to spend my life with hate for people who are rich... If you don't like being poor get an education.... earn some money and invest.... Stop having children you can't afford... Stop buying the big houses that has you living pay check to pay check.... no one is going to pay people working for McDonalds, Wal Mart... money enough to get rich. I make pretty good money, but I don't think I should pay taxes for welfare poeple. Welfare should be if would you like to donate a dollar when you file taxes. my taxes should not be paying your rent to live in a place better than poor working people. Why don't u ask the NBA players, Operah, some singers to pay for you.... You're just worried about people who invest in a business. Grown man playing basketball making millions you think he's got talent and will buy a ticket to see him play, or pay extra cable because he's a hard working man. Get real people who looking for a free ride. Yours truly a single for 15 years welfare free... went to be hungry a few nights but maded. Get out here... All you expensive car drivers that got a car worth more than you home or you live in a run down apartment. You are funny too. Don't own on sinlge thing except that car that will be worthless in 4 or 5 years.
Funny how you all are crying about wanting Romney to disclose his tax records when President Obama supported Tim Geitner (Mr. Tax Cheat) as our United States Secretary of Treasury. Also, all the comments about him at Bain? Independent sources and even CNN have debunked that crap that Obama's campaign started. It's like you people want to believe it so bad you're putting your fingers in yours ears saying "na na na na na." People are so jealous Mitt Romney has money, well boo hoo, he's rich. So what???? Obama is rich! He hangs out with the Hollywood elite, has fundraising dinners with media royalty that will never give any of you the time of day, sends his wife on lavish vacations with tax payer money. He raised more money in campaign contributions in 2008 than any president ever! Think he got that money from $20 contributions here and there from normal people? No! He got millions of dollars donated from very rich democratic business owners! Wake up people, Obama is just another rich guy you all seem to despise so much.
This man inst smart enough he bought is way to havard
Success is more admired when it is not accompanied by excessive greed, corruption, cronyism, political paybacks, discrimination, fraud and downright injustice. Sure you can be successful if you operate in a system which favors the rich at the expense of the middle class and the poor. Ever since Ronald Reagan, the distribution of wealth in this
country has been increasingly away from the poor and the middle class. How can you operate a market economy if there are no consumers?
"Stop attacking success." Stop hiding your money in the Cayman Islands so the rest of the country, who you obviously feel superior to, don't have to pay YOUR taxes. Also, see a professional about your hoarding issues. Make it a group session with your friends.
The Republicans got the House in the mid-terms on the fib they'll produce jobs, just to get there and hold them hostage until a Republican can get in the White House.
Headline: "Criticizing the wealthy would lead to economic demise". Actual words on the video: "When you attack success you have less of it". AND FOX NEWS IS THE BIAS ONES, LAUGHABLE.
No one is attacking success we are attacking unfairness and a tax system where everyone but the rich pay their fair share. That Mittens doesn't "GET IT" is all the more reason he is not the man we need in the white house.
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.
Connecting success with money is incredibly superficial and is about what I would expect from an intellectual lightweight like Romney. Success does not always equal great fortunes. It does, perhaps, if are successful in corporate enterprises that shift money from one place to another without really creating anything new. One can imagine that a successful thief will amass great fortunes while still being a felon. On the other hand, teachers can be incredibly successful and never have much money because society does not value what they do. Scientists can be tremendously successful, publish highly influential articles and change the way people think, and they will never be vastly wealthy because society does not value what they do. Is a successful priest someone we expect to be rich as well? So, before we equate success with wealth, let's just step back and think about what success really means and think about whether Romney truly understands this and will actually support success even if he cannot place a high dollar amount on it.
The ubber rich have had a decade of tax advantage to 'create' jobs. Nada, none. Sheesh.
Sounds like you are a welcome addition to America
You represent the type of immigrant, legal or illegal, that could actually help improve the US
I can't believe there are still people here who honestly believe OBAMA wants to hurt rich people. They still believe obama wants to destroy wealth and subsidize so called lazy poor people.
Seriously, go read history.
The rich have been sticking to the poor FOREVER.
When you give the rich what they want, they keep taking and taking and taking until revolutions happen. And if not full revolutions, you get evolutions like FDR and UNIONS to counter the extremities.
Mitt's company made money destroying smaller companies. Mitt inherited his money right from the get go. Is it a surprise that he has done everything possible to pay as little in taxes as possible to include using shelter vehicles offshore that only the ultra rich can use? All this and the man says "he likes to fire people." Like his father in the past, Romney will end up a presidential loser, put this one in the mondale file.
Since when did money = success?
In my field (environmental science) most people dont make over $100-120K; and those people are the best and the brightest. We're trying to ensure a healthy planet and abundant natural resources for future generations. I intend on being very successful in my field, but I dont plan on being rich. My success is going to be measured in achievements toward advancing the overall knowledge of our natural world and how we interact in it, not by personal wealth. Live for life, not for money!
Wealth in the wrong hands is no different than a weapon in the wrong hands. How the wealth or weapon is used is what matters. Both can do great things, both can destroy. Character is what counts; being responsible, or irresponsble. The financial melt down of 2008 that's on going to this present day speaks volumes about irresponsibility!
Dont change the word Rmoney... its called Greed not success.
I'm not attacking success. I am attacking people who get it with unethical practices.
To Mitt and Marco,
Maybe not everyone measures success as big houses and lots of money. There are many who would not trash success, but greed is another matter entirely.
The problem I have with Romney is that he paid approx. 14% in taxes while we a definitely middle class family paid over 25%. This is not a fair and level paying field.
Wow, Mitt. So tactful and sensitive to our crumbling middle class. "Hi, I'm Mitt. I have so much money, so much equity. I earned it all by myself, because this is the land of opportunity." Go America!
I heard this speech on CNN this morning. Romney never explains who the people are who are "attacking success," so it must be us, the bloggers all over the world. If you are attacking Romney's success, STOP IT! He doesn't like it!