JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Mitt Romney responded for the first time today to attacks made by Democrats this week criticizing his time at Bain Capital, dubbing the attacks "off target" while shifting the focus to the president and accusing him of losing 100,000 jobs in the auto industry.
Romney's remarks came during a radio interview with Hot Air's Ed Morrissey, in which the candidate was asked what he considers to be the latest "distraction" to his campaign.
"Well, the most recent attacks are really off-target, and I think they know that," said Romney of the Obama campaign. "They said, 'Oh, gosh, Governor Romney at Bain Capital closed down a steel factory.' But their problem, of course, is that the steel factory closed two years after I left. Bain Capital was no longer there, so that's hardly something that's on my watch."
"And of course they don't mention a couple of other things. One is, we were able to create over 100,00 jobs, and secondly, on the president's watch, about 100,000 jobs were lost in the auto industry and auto dealers and auto manufacturers. So you know, he's hardly one to point a finger, and oh, by the way, he has no problem going out and doing fundraisers with Bain Capital and private equity people."
Romney's record at the private equity firm came earlier this week in a scathing television ad released by the Obama campaign in which it dubbed Romney a "job destroyer."
That same evening, Obama attended a high-dollar fundraiser at the New York City home of Hamilton "Tony" James, the president of the Blackstone Group, the nation's largest private equity firm. Blackstone has done business with Bain in the past.
A spokeswoman for the Obama campaign called Romney's allegations during the Morrissey interview "delusional."
"Independent fact-checkers and news organizations have resoundingly rejected his claims of creating 100,000 jobs at Bain Capital and he himself has said that his focus there was creating wealth, not creating jobs," said Smith. "That's the core of Romney Economics- helping the wealthiest prosper by any means necessary, even if it means undermining workers and middle class families."
The Obama campaign maintains that 100,000 jobs have been created during this administration in the auto industry, not lost, citing Bureau of Labor statistics.
"President Obama has a different approach- he values the role of workers in the success of a business and understands the importance of the middle class in the success of the economy," she wrote. "That's why he bet on the American worker to spur the comeback of the American auto industry, helping to add more than 100,000 jobs to the over 1 million he saved with the auto rescue. If Mitt Romney had had his way and we'd 'let Detroit go bankrupt', the American auto industry and the millions of jobs it supports would be devastated."