(WASHINGTON) — President Obama defends his attacks on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, saying it is “entirely appropriate” to question his rival’s business experience.
“What he says is he understands the economy and the private sector,” the president told CBS News in an interview that aired Friday morning. “That’s his premise. I think it is entirely appropriate to look at that record and see whether in fact his focus was in creating jobs, and if he successfully did that. And when you look at the record, there are questions there that have to be asked.”
The president said he does not believe that Romney’s business experience “disqualifies him” but said it’s important to scrutinize his record, since “his basic premise is that ‘I’m Mr. Fix It on the economy, because I made a lot of money.'”
“He doesn’t talk about the fact that he was the governor of Massachusetts for four years very much. … I want us to make sure that we know what your theory is about how to grow the economy. And that is a question that I think most Americans want to know as well. This is the nature of running for president,” Obama said.
The president went on to question how Romney’s private sector experience would translate into job growth for the American people.
“If you’re head of a large equity firm or hedge fund, your job is to make money. It’s not to create jobs. It’s not even to create successful businesses. It’s to make sure you’re maximizing returns for your investor,” he said. “Now, that’s appropriate. That’s part of the American way. That’s part of the system. But that doesn’t necessarily make you qualified to think about the economy as a whole.”
The president’s comments come on the heels of new allegations that Romney was the CEO of Bain Capital for longer than he previously admitted. While the Romney campaign disputed the claims, published by the Boston Globe, the Obama camp pounced, questioning Romney’s transparency and openness with the American people.
The full CBS interview with the president and first lady, which was taped Thursday at the White House, is set to air this weekend on CBS Sunday Morning and Monday on CBS This Morning.
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Stephen Collinson and MJ Lee, CNN
Daniella Diaz, CNN
Jim Acosta and Greg Clary, CNN