July 26th, 2012
02:44 PM ET
10 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. Frank

    A mark of delusion is mistaking failure for success. When a measure of "success" is how big a commission you can reap from the sale of a company after you outsource its call centers and lay off its employees to show a temporary false profit before it goes bankrupt and its pension funds evaporate, and you see that approach being taken over and over and over again leading to the worst economic downturn in a nation's history, the only rational thing to do is attack it. Romney has no defense and no justification for it. He cannot admit that it's nothing but simple greed and corruption driving it, so all he can do is whine and beg that it not be attacked.

    Let's see your tax returns, greedy corrupt cult member.

    July 26, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. kevin

    Mittens needs to try a new line. This attack is just plain lame. The notion that Obama is "ashamed of success" doesn't even stand the first test. Look at Obama: SUCCESSFULLY became POTUS and first black president in our history. Does Mittens have something that can trump that success?

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. MDDon

    Dropping temporary tax cuts is NOT a tax increase. These temporary tax cuts have already been extended several times. The budget no longer allows it. Obama is extending them for the middle class, but letting them expire for those most able to pay. It is disingenuous to say he is increasing taxes on the rich. But I would expect this from Romney.

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Biff

    Romney wouldn't be rich unless the society he lives in allowed him to get to that point. He owes society like everyone else owes society. So he should pay his fair share back to society, like everyone else.

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. Bob

    Does anyone really believe anything that this guy says anymore? He doesn't have a clue!

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Will

    I wonder if this SLEAZE BAG, race-baiting, southerner-pandering carnival huckster realizes that during the 40s, 50s, and early 60s - when the US's highest tax bracket was 90% - we were doing pretty well!!!

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Jim

    I don't think the administration is criticizing the wealthy –defined as those with incomes over $200,000 for an individual, and $250,000 for a couple or family–just trying to get more taxes out of them to run the government and pay down debt. I like the Rev. Sharpton's new advertisement on TV. He has a picture of the Brooklyn Bridge in back of him while he discusses the Republican trickle down pseudo economic philosophy, and says, "if you believe them, I have a bridge here I'd like to sell you!!"

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Echovolk

    Stop attacking the middle class.

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Rich

    Nobody is attacking success. This is so stupid. What reasonable people object to are laws that favor the wealthy at the expense of everyone else... corporate welfare… and loop holes that allow the super-rich to have off-shore, tax-evading bank accounts, ahem… Mr. Romney.

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Lenny Pincus

    More crybaby tantrums from Mitt. What a weakling. Maybe he should keep to his trenchant analysis of our allies, as in England the tiny island that makes things nobody wants.

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Jon

    Yes, hiding your tax returns was a success.

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  12. indie52

    The rich got the Bush tax cuts to stimulate the economy. Instead America got the greatest economic collapse since the great depression. Trickle down went straight to their off shore bank accounts.

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  13. Anne

    "What do I care about law? Ain't I got the power?"
    Cornelius Vanderbilt

    July 26, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  14. Bill

    Two of our three greatest presidents couldn't have come from more opposite conditions. Abraham Lincoln worked his way from abject poverty to become President. Franklin Roosevelt came from privilege and wealth and is also in everybody's top 3. Would FDR be electable today? It seems to me that socio-economic status doesn't affect the type of president they will become. I care more about their leadership style, how they handle difficult political problems, and their decision making process.

    July 26, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. oef

    Didn't Will Durant once say: "Wealth mounted, but did not spread" as he described the fall of the Roman Empire? Yes, we want success, but we must push for a level playing field. The rich are getting richer; the poor, poorer. I know, Mr. Romney, you and and your rich friends have a hard time with that.

    July 26, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Mike

    It really annoys me when the ultra-wealthy frame this as attacking success. It annoys me even more when they insist that education and hard work is the only difference between the guy making 8 bucks an hour and the guy making 300k/year. It annoys me even more when Republicans talk about individuals and households with 200k/250k incomes as if they grow on trees.

    Stop it. Statistically speaking we are not a country of haves and soon to haves with respect to 200/250k incomes.

    I absolutely hate it when successful people act as if they're where they are purely as a function of their own work. It's seriously childish to pretend that letting two tax brackets increase 2-3% will be a real disincentive for earning that sort of money. Nevermind the fact that something like 90%+ of Americans will NEVER reach those brackets in the first place.

    And before someone accuses me of worrying about other people's money I'm a mid 20s single guy with a six figure income. It's MY money I'm talking about and the money of my peers.

    July 26, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Blondie

    What's sad is that "success" in the USA has only to do with how much money one has. The climb up the road to success is a greedy and sleazy maenagerie of stomping out other the lights on other people in the process. It's really vile, actually. Real success must be based on the kindness one shows to others, learning and growing from past mistakes and perserving against adversity.

    July 26, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Mr. Romney, one man's success is another man's failure.

    For example, your success in unmorally but legally evading millions of dollars of taxes, means other families' failure to have food stamps to fill their stomache.

    July 26, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. cdt3

    Didn't the Slavery built South say the North was attacking their success?

    What did the scoreboard say?

    Conservatives just need to find a way to pull conservative Texas A&M and hide from the inevitable liberal whooping in every sport from Texas in another conference.

    July 26, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. Bucky B

    BamBam always attacks self made success out of jealousy because he went t school for free and was given the right grades due to affirmative action. Now the media buys the "success is bad" philosophy of the liberals. Until we make success our goal, we are doomed. And by the way folks – I'm a registered independent. I don't trust either party, but this downgrading of our society will prove lethal. NOBAMA ever again!

    July 26, 2012 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  21. Dr. D Miller

    Gov. Romney

    He is a flip flop, he liar, he a tax evader and a draft dodger how can he be trusted. His twisted way of outsourcing jobs overseas has destabilize the world economy hiding the money not to build replacement jobs in the economy that continue the same or better cash flow in the economy he actually degraded the cashflow. Bain Capital has destabilized the U.S. economy and the world economy.

    July 26, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. mrTestosteroni

    Mitticles. Please define success. Oh yeah. 'Makes more money than could ever, ever spend.' Sorry, forgot.

    July 26, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. Grrrl

    This is about greed not success....

    July 26, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. FLIndependent

    Would anyone that supports the Tea Party explain why they would support Romney?. Wasn't it the bail outs that supposedly started the Tea Party and their indignation about CEO's getting golden parachutes and salaries megatimes higher than the employees that do all the work. Why would any ORIGINAL Tea Partier (who BTW love their socialist MEDICARE) be voting for the rich CEO type that they were once against?? Could it be that the so-called Tea Party was taken over by the 1%??

    July 26, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  25. Jason D

    Romney has just done another 24 hour flip flop on the british olympics..saying it had problems but not its doing good...he cant keep a comment from changing almost as quick as it comes out of his mouth...hes editing videos of obama to attack his comments even down to trying to attack him for quoting exactly what romneys allies said.

    Mitt The Mutt...should be over and done soon then the gop can try and find another loser who they can fund with billions to try and lie their way into the whitehouse to finish the job of fleecing every american.

    July 26, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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