Romney Moves Ahead, Rails Against 'Social Welfare State'
CNBC.com Senior Writer
With a clearer path to the Republican nomination after a resounding New Hampshire victory, Mitt Romney, in a CNBC interview, took aim at President Obama and outlined the economic issues that would define their potential November matchup.
The former Massachusetts governor said his administration would be more friendly to the middle class and would restore free-market capitalism in place of the "European social welfare state" in place now.
"The right course for America is not to divide America, to create envy to justify his redistribution policies," Romney said of the Democratic incumbent. Instead, he wants to "say how can we make America more of an opportunity nation, how can we make America a better place for entrepreneurs and business worldwide to say, 'We want to come to America, we want to invest in America, we want to manufacture in America, we want to make products of all kinds in America.
"That's the only way I know of to have good jobs for our people."
The Tuesday primary winmarked a potential watershed moment for Romney, making him the first Republican non-incumbent to take both Iowa and New Hampshire.
With the campaign now headed to the South, Romney said he is not ready to claim victory despite the potential to thin out the crowded GOP race and potentially lock up the nomination over the next month.
"We've got the resources to keep battling forward," he said. "I hope to become the nominee, but I'm taking nothing for granted."
Romney used the CNBC interview to fend off withering attacks from this Republican opponents that are likely to continue through the November election should he ultimately face Obama.
His involvement with private equity giant Bain Capital has provided opponents with fodder to say that Romney has been more involved in destroying jobs through corporate raiding than creating them at a time when the nation continues to struggle with unemployment.
"Every case that we invested, we invested to try and make the business more successful, more sustainable to try and find more growth for it," he said. "I'm happy to show my record of job creation. Actually, my record of job creation in the private sector has created more jobs than the president has created in the entire country."
Since the Bain attacks began, Romney has received support from some of the more conservative Republicans he's had trouble winning over with his more moderate record.
"I just don't think conservatives in this country are happy with Republicans attacking a form of free enterprise," he said.
Romney took a jab at Obama over the issue, saying the president became a private equity entrepreneur when the government took stakes in General Motors and Chrysler after the two auto giants teetered on the brink of failure during the financial panic.
With the economic recoverystill sluggish, Romney said his policies of tax cuts and smaller government will help growth more than what Obama has done.
"If you follow the president, we're going to be more like Europe, more like a European social welfare state. If instead we take my course, we're going to look more like America if you will, creating more opportunity for more people and helping lift people with better jobs and rising incomes," he said. "By the way, the president's policy over the last three years — it's failed us."