By Blake Neff - 05/09/14 08:59 AM EDT
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday that he backs efforts to increase the minimum wage and thinks other Republicans should as well.
"I part company with many of the conservatives in my party on the issue of the minimum wage. I think we ought to raise it," Romney said during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program. "Because frankly, our party is all about more jobs and better pay."
Romney repeatedly expressed support for indexing the minimum wage to inflation while he was governor of Massachusetts but backed off from that position in 2012 after it drew criticism from Republicans.
In his comments Friday, Romney said that support for an increase was crucial to rolling back income inequality, which he said had risen under Obama, and would help Republicans reach out to Hispanics.
"Key to our party is to be able to convince the people who are in the working population, particularly the Hispanic community, that our party will help them get better jobs and better wages," he said.
Romney is not the first notable Republican to back an increase. Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who finished second to Romney in the 2012 Republican primaries, has also endorsed such a bump.
During Friday's interview, Romney also deflected the suggestion he might run for president again, saying "I'm not running for president in 2016." He said Republicans already had a strong field to choose from and mentioned many possible candidates by name, including his former running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (Wis.), as well as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (Wis.), and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez.
Romney also leveled criticism at potential 2016 Democratic contender Hillary Clinton, saying her tenure as secretary of State would be "an enormous liability for her."
"She worked hard and she shook a lot of hands and people said 'Boy, she's been on the airplane a lot, and that's a good thing.' But if you look around the world...this was not a good time for America," Romney said.