By Justin Sink - 05/16/12 07:22 PM EDT
But Romney battled back, calling the criticism of the steel plant closing unfair.
"Well, the most recent attacks are really off target, and I think they know that. They said, 'oh gosh, Gov. Romney at Bain Capital closed down a steel factory.' But their problem is the factory closed two years after I left Bain Capital, I was no longer there. So that's hardly that was something that was on my watch," Romney said.
The presumptive Republican nominee was in charge of Bain Capital when the steel company was purchased, but had left to lead the Salt Lake City Olympics when the closing of the factory occurred.
Romney went on to say that President Obama was being hypocritical — riffing off the fact he attended a fundraiser in New York City with Tony Jones, the head of another prominent venture capital firm, the Blackstone Group — and divisive in his campaign.
"I think the president is just misguided in his effort to try and divide Americans from one and another, to try to disparage one part of our economy from another or one person from another, that's really not what America is. If there are bad actors, why, that needs to be pointed out, but that's certainly not the case for the whole industry," Romney said.
Earlier in the day, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) attacked Bain for closing a paper plant in his home state at an event with Vice President Biden.
“They laid off workers, cut wages of those who remained, sliced the healthcare benefits and eliminated the retirement plan for the retirees,” he said.
The event also featured Randy Johnson, an employee of the steel company who said he had heard Romney speak of his dream to win the Oval Office.
“All I could think was — and it hits me — I had people who wanted to retire with dignity. That was their dream. He stole that,” Johnson said. “His philosophy and the way he does business, his economics stole that.”
Romney was also asked about the dramatic loss of some $2 billion at investment firm JPMorgan Chase. The Republican hopeful said that while the loss was unfortunate, he viewed it mostly as a learning experience for regulators and bankers and would not recommend government intervention.
"I would not rush to pass new legislation or new regulations. This is, in the course of regular business, a large loss but certainly not a crippling one," Romney said.
Romney added that the loss was the way "America works" and that others likely benifited from JPMorgan's misfortune.
“Some people experienced a loss in this case because of a bad decision. By the way, there was someone who made a gain, all right. The $2 billion JPMorgan lost someone else gained," Romney said.