Romney defends being wealthy

Wednesday , July 11, 2012 - 10:58 AM

Romney NAACP 2012

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney gestures during a speech...

Maeve Reston

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Mitt Romney has taken some heat in recent days from President Barack Obama and Democrats for releasing just one year of tax returns, but some of his supporters see that criticism as an attack on his wealth.

During an interview Monday with New Hampshire’s largest television station, WMUR-9, Obama said when a candidate was running for president it was important "that the American people know who you are and what you’ve done and that you’re an open book. That’s been true of every presidential candidate dating all the way back to Mitt Romney’s father." (So far, Romney has only released his 2010 return and his estimated tax liability for 2011.)

Romney supporters have pushed back against Democrats’ calls for greater transparency - arguing that they are part of an effort to demonize Romney for earning his fortune at Bain Capital, the firm he helped create.

During a town hall session Tuesday in Grand Junction, a man asked why the Obama team "and the liberal media want us to think that we should be more angry with what you do with your money than what Obama has done with mine."

"I’m not going to apologize for success at home," Romney replied. "I went out and began a business, and the business turned out to be far more successful than I ever would have imagined. And by the way, the profits from the business overwhelmingly went to the people who invested with us - pension funds, even a church pension fund. Not my church; someone else."

Romney cited a statement from Bain saying that of the 350 companies the firm invested in, "Eighty percent of them grew, which is good news, and 5 percent went bankrupt. You can imagine - the only ones you’ll hear about from the other side are the 5 percent," the presumed Republican nominee said. "You won’t hear about the 80 percent where jobs were created."

The former Massachusetts governor pivoted to an attack on Obama’s stimulus program, accusing the president of taking Americans’ tax dollars and investing them "in the businesses of companies of his campaign contributors." He cited solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra, which is in bankruptcy, and electric-car company Tesla.

"The government can play a very important role in encouraging science and technology and research," Romney said. "I believe in encouraging those things. I do not believe in investing hundreds of millions, billions and billions of dollars in companies that have political connections. It’s wrong. It smacks of corruption. It is not the right course for this nation to take, and I will get us out of this practice in a big hurry."

Democrats have launched a coordinated push for Romney to release more details on his finances, hoping to call attention to his myriad overseas investments and stoke a debate on tax fairness.

A spokeswoman said Romney plans to release his 2011 tax return before the election.

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)2012 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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