Appearing on PBS last night with Charlie Rose, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested President Obama is risking the very prosperity of the country and the middle class when he criticizes Wall Street and insurance executives:
ROMNEY: He has been the most divisive president I’ve ever seen. He has attacked one American after another, one group after another. He creates these straw men and says that Republicans believe this terrible thing, and aren’t they awful. He went after insurance company executives, Wall Street, all these bad people he finds out there. Look, Americans are not going to be a powerful and vibrant economic engine with a powerful middle class if we attack one another.
Romney doesn’t seem to be concerned with whether there’s any merit to Obama’s criticisms or not; he objects to the mere fact that the president would criticize anyone. For instance, Romney’s defense ignores the fact that Wall Street helped cause the financial crisis and ensuring recession. Obama’s main “attack” on Wall Street was the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, which has hardly hurt the industry.
Of course, Romney himself made hundreds-of-million of dollars in a Wall Street-like investment company. Asked about that company, Bain Capital, later in the interview, Romney said that attacking Bain for laying off thousands of workers is almost tantamount to an attack on capitalism itself:
ROSE: Did you sometimes destroy jobs [at Bain]?
ROMNEY: I’m sure the administration will use every weapon they can think of, some will be accurate, some inaccurate. [But] if they attack the free-enterprise system and capitalism, I think they’ll find themselves on the short end of that argument. I am proud of the fact in the years when I was at the firm that I helped found, Bain capital, every investment we made was designed to grow the enterprise and make it more successfull.
The comments likely won’t help Romney beat the rap off being “Mr. 1 percent.”