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Is Romney too rich?

By Judy Martel · Bankrate.com
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Posted: 5 pm ET

Leading Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is finding himself in an awkward spot: He's defending his net worth and at the same time trying to keep it private.

Republican candidate Mitt Romney. Photo courtesy PR Photos.

In an interview Monday night on ABC's "World News," anchor Diane Sawyer directly asked Romney if he was too rich to relate to the American public. Romney responded by deflecting attention away from his net worth and toward leadership of the country in a difficult economy. "This is a time when people of different backgrounds and different experiences need to come together," he said.  "I happen to believe that I'm by far the best qualified in this race between myself and President Obama to help the American people get good jobs and rising incomes and eliminate the massive deficit that America's facing."

Romney also dismissed Obama's suggestion that he release the past 12 years of tax returns, countering that Obama is simply trying to move focus away from the failure of his economic policies. "He's going to try to make this campaign about the fact that I've been successful, that I've made a lot of money," he told Sawyer, adding that Obama released two years of tax returns. "I'm happy to release two years of records, and that's plenty for people to understand how I paid my taxes and the fact that I've been highly successful."

Romney is wealthy by anyone's standards (net worth of approximately $250 million and a multimillion-dollar home in La Jolla, Calif.), but he's certainly not the wealthiest candidate in recent decades. That honor belongs to Ross Perot, a candidate in the 1992 and 1996 elections, who has a net worth of almost $4 billion. Others, including Steve Forbes, a candidate in the 2000 presidential election who is worth $450 million, have been far wealthier than Romney.

Some people believe a candidate who has been financially successful outside of politics brings a more realistic view to the table when it comes to improving the economy. Others believe that more experience in public policy makes the better candidate.

Do you believe a candidate's personal wealth improves or impedes his prospects as a president?

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5 Comments
Omar T
April 18, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Sure. I understand your point Kevin. That is why the 1st Tuesday of November will come and we will see. Right now, looking at the doctored unemployment numbers, more like a 10.8% in real life numbers, based on the FACT that Obama stated that the deficit spending machine that was Bush in his 8 years in Office racking up 5 trillion dollars. Again in 8 yrs of Presidency. Obama has added 5 trillion in 3.5 yrs. Sure. Alot of people say it is because of Bush's mess. However, Bush didn't hire the extra 140 thousand federal employees, created whole new bureaucracies and we can fall through the cracks of politics. I won't. I like to see the bottom line. And Obama has put our country in a position were if we continue this spending insanity we will be bankrupted, no Social Security, forget Medicare. I am a democrat. And I am voting for Romney. Most of my friends tell me exactly the same thing. Is not a matter of right or left, is a matter of right or wrong.

Kevin
April 18, 2012 at 11:39 am

Omar - You ended your comment with "Will he be a good president...Who knows?" ... But that is the whole question isn't it.

Mitt Romney is a millionaire many times over and achieved complete financial independence a long time ago. He has had the freedom for most of his life to choose whatever activity that he wanted and what he has chosen to do is work for a company that buys damaged companies, extracts additional capital, and sells off the pieces.

That isn't a career path someone chooses because they have pride in producing something, it is a career they choose because they want to make more money.

As a President, you are the person most directly responsible for the collective good of the country. I would argue that if you are the type of person who wants to make more money either for money's sake or to have more power, it speaks to a quality that makes you less fit to consider the good of a Nation.

eieio
April 18, 2012 at 9:36 am

And, Mitt Romney EARNED his own money unlike John F. Kerry who married two rich babes. Nor, is Mr. Romney a trust-fund baby like all of the Kennedy's are and the Roosevelt's.

Money is not evil, the LOVE of it is. Thou shalt not covet.

Crow Hunter
April 18, 2012 at 8:14 am

Absolutely correct Omar!

Well said.

Omar T
April 18, 2012 at 8:01 am

Is kinda sad that in America we can call someone "too rich". I thought capitalism was about making money and trying your best to be wealthy. A shame. I don't remember if John Kerry got this kind of questioning since Teresa is worth north of 500 million. And Romney fits both bills. Solid free market experience and political executive experience. Will he be a good President. Who knows!