Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney attempted to show his personal side in an interview on Thursday, but didn't throw moderate voters any bones, taking a hard line on gun rights and his success as a businessman.
Speaking on CNN's Piers Morgan, Mitt and Ann Romney gave an uncharacteristically personal view into their battle against Ann's experience with multiple sclerosis and Mitt's views on his success as CEO of Bain Capital, the private equity firm he headed for much of the 1990s. But the presidential nominee took a hard line in defense of gun rights, arguing that people, rather than laws, were the problem -- but admitting that the gun control debate was a worthy one to have.
"I think the idea that, somehow, if you had a law saying that guns were going to be regulated in some way, that that would end gun violence, why, there might be some merit to having that discussion. But the truth is, there's no particular change in law that's going to keep people who are intend on doing harm from doing harm," he said during an interview in London that aired on Thursday night. His remarks came days after a man went on a rampage in a theater in Aurora, Colo., killing 12 and injuring at least 50 more, and reinvigorating a debate over gun rights that had largely laid dormant until recently.
Romney added that he respects "the right of people to bear arms for any legal purpose," and that the answer to America's gun problem is not to institute more laws -- he went so far as to say that he doesn't "support new gun laws in our country." Instead, Romney said, we should work to cure the individuals who carry out such acts. Gun laws, he said, wouldn't have prevented the Colorado shooter because he said “if he didn’t have a gun, he would’ve used a bomb.”
“I think that the effort to continue to look for some law, to somehow make violence go away, is missing the point. The real point has to relate to individuals that are deranged, and distressed, and to find them, to help them and to keep them from carrying out terrible acts,” he said.
The Romneys touched on a number of other topics during their hour-long interview, a rare moment of exposure for the traditionally private candidate. Romney explained his choice of Ann to carry the Olympic torch during the 2002 Olympic games, which he organized, as him choosing his hero to engage in the hallowed tradition. And both insisted, as Romney’s campaign has over the past week, that Obama has been “attacking” success.
"We are an achievement, celebrating, oriented nation. That’s what has lifted us, it will continue to do, and the attacks that come by people who are trying to knock down my business career or my Olympic experience, or our success – those attacks are not going to be successful," Romney said.
His comments were reminiscent of those he’s made on the campaign trail in an effort to brand the president as not only unfriendly towards small business owners and clueless on the economy, but also hostile towards success. Ever since Obama said during a campaign speech in Virginia almost two weeks ago that “if you own a business, you didn’t build that,” the idea that Obama is hostile to success has become a rallying cry among Republicans. And though Romney didn’t outright reference Obama’s comments, it was clear from his wording during Thursday' interview that he and his campaign won’t let this issue die.
Interestingly, too, Romney mentioned Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio when talking about a success story -- a name that has been bandied about as a potential vice presidential pick for Romney, but, until now, has seemed like a long-shot for the candidate.