"Well, you tell me and I'll tell you," Romney joked. To which Ramos replied: "I'm not running for president."
Romney said he understood and referred Ramos to a financial disclosure statement of his assets. "I think the estimate in there was a pretty wide range, it's been widely reported and my net worth is within that number," he said. "It's between 150 and about 200-and-some-odd million dollars, I think that's what the estimates are."Continue »
MIAMI, Fla. - Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich made their pitches to two important Florida constituencies on Wednesday, with the former Massachusetts governor openly wishing for Fidel Castro's death in remarks to a crowd of Cuban Americans and the former House speaker appealing to tea party voters but getting heckled for his insider's job with Freddie Mac before running for president.
Speaking to the U.S.-Cuba Democracy Political Action Committee, Romney was so eager to share the crowd's antipathy toward Fidel Castro, he sounded like he was ready to invade Cuba before making it clear he just hoped the elderly Castro would die soon.
"If I'm fortunate to become the next president of the United States, it is my expectation that Fidel Castro will finally be taken off this planet," Romney said. "I doubt he'll take any time in the sky. He'll find a nether region to be more to his comfort."Continue »
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Mitt Romney on Wednesday said President Obama is detached from reality if he thinks -- as he said in his State of the Union address -- that he is a tax-cutter who is trying to get rid of regulations that stifle the economy.
"His words and his actions are so different, it's sometimes hard to believe," Romney said at a metal fabrication plant in a speech billed as a State of the Union rebuttal. He said Obama has raised taxes and tripled the rate of new regulations introduced. "So he says that he wants to cut regulations even though he's the guy that dramatically increased them," Romney said.
In his State of the Union Tuesday night, Mr. Obama said he has "approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor (George W. Bush) did in his. I've ordered every federal agency to eliminate rules that don't make sense."Continue »
UPDATED 12:25 p.m. ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- In his pre-emptive rebuttal to President Obama's State of the Union address, Mitt Romney on Tuesday said Obama would serve up "divisive rhetoric from a desperate campaigner-in-chief."
"President Obama will make the opening argument in his campaign against a 'do-nothing Congress,''' Romney said. "But we shouldn't forget that for two years, this president had a Congress that could do everything he wanted ... Today, President Obama has amassed an actual record of debt, decline, and disappointment."Continue »
Mitt Romney's campaign sought Tuesday to put its best face on the release of Romney's 2010 and 2011 income tax returns, citing the ex-Massachusetts' governors compliance with all tax laws while trying to pre-empt President Obama from making political hay of them.
Romney's tax forms show he made $21.7 million in 2010 and paid $3 million in federal taxes, a rate of just under 14 percent. The majority of Romney's income came from investments -- $12.6 million in capital gains, $3.3 million in interest and $4.9 million in regular dividends.
The 2011 estimated forms show Romney made a total of $20.9 million last year, including $4.1 million in taxable interest, $3.1 million in dividends and $10.7 million in capital gains. Romney will pay about $3.4 million in taxes this year.Continue »
Updated 7 p.m. ET
TAMPA, Fla. -- An aggressive Mitt Romney on Monday made it clear that he will seek to make rival Newt Gingrich's record the central issue in the days leading up to Florida's primary, launching a multipronged attack on several past controversies and calling the former House speaker "highly erratic."
"He voted in favor of establishing the Department of Education, and yet he gets in a debate and says we should get rid of the Department of Education and send all the education issues back to the states," Romney said. "He's ... opposed vehemently to the Massachusetts health care system, and yet just a couple years ago wrote about what a superb system it was.
"He's gone from pillar to post almost like a pinball machine, from item to item in a way which is highly erratic. It does not suggest a stable, thoughtful course which is normally associated with leadership."
Romney also picked up on an argument that Rick Santorum has sought to make -- that there could be a surprise with Gingrich that Republicans can ill afford.Continue »
ORMOND BEACH, Fla. - In the opening round of what promises to be a slug fest in Florida, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Sunday called rival Newt Gingrich a "failed leader" and influence-peddling lobbyist while suggesting it's now a three-way contest for the GOP nomination - a strategic assessment that favors his own chances of winning the state's Jan. 31 primary.
At a campaign rally after his disappointing loss in the South Carolina primary Saturday, Romney gave a biting assessment of Gingrich's record as House speaker and later as a business consultant to companies seeking access to Capitol Hill power brokers.Continue »
Romney's rhetoric on the stump as of late has been to draw comparisons between President Obama and Newt Gingrich, but his language tonight was much sharper than it has been until this point.
"In recent weeks, the choice within our party has also come into stark focus," he said. "President Obama has no experience running a business and running a state. Our party can't be led to victory by someone who also has ever led a business and never run a state."
Romney then touted his experience as the founder of Bain Capital. "Our campaign will be about the businesses I helped start, not the bills I tried to pass," he added.Continue »
Gingrich has come under criticism for taking taxpayer money to allegedly lobby on behalf of Freddie Mac, an institution that is unpopular with conservatives.
The former House Speaker has denied lobbying, and said his firm merely provided "historical advice."
Romney avoided a potentially uncomfortable situation with Gingrich on Saturday morning by showing up earlier than expected at Tommy's Country Ham House in Greenville. The two campaigns had accidentally booked simultaneous events there at the same time on Friday night, leading to a brief media and Twitter frenzy about whether a porky showdown was in the offing.
Romney arrived at Tommy's at 10 a.m., after stopping at his campaign headquarters. His campaign had said he would arrive either at 10:30 or 11, but an aide insisted that the decision to stop earlier had nothing to do with avoiding his bitter rival. "We see Newt all the time; we don't get to see the voters of South Carolina every day," the aide said.
GILBERT, S.C. -- After joking for weeks about winning Iowa by a "landslide" eight-vote margin, Mitt Romney on Friday continued to opt for humor in publicly acknowledging his defeat in the state for the first time.
At a rally in Gilbert, Romney spoke about his favorite line from "America the Beautiful": "'Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain.' When I was in Iowa, I joked that the corn counted as an amber wave of grain. That may account for my slim defeat there. I used to say that accounted for a ... win, but I had to change my rhetoric in the last couple of days."Continue »
UPDATED 5:00 p.m.ET
Endangered GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney on Friday launched a new attack on rival Newt Gingrich's record in Congress, with his surrogates calling Gingrich the "granddaddy of earmarks." On the campaign trail, Romney also made an issue of the House's official reprimand of the former speaker for ethics violations 14 years ago.
On a conference call with reporters, Rep. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a leader in the GOP effort to fight wasteful earmarked spending on Capitol Hill, said he was astounded by the number of earmarks Gingrich had allowed to go through on bills when he was House speaker. Borrowing a line from former candidate Rick Perry, who ended his campaign on Thursday, Flake called Gingrich the "granddaddy of earmarks," and said that earmarked spending "exploded" during Gingrich's speakership from 1995 to 1999. "Members [of Congress] considered earmarks their entitlement," he said.Continue »
UPDATED 1:32 p.m. ET
With rival Newt Gingrich nipping at his heels in South Carolina, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney launched a major offensive against the former House speaker and his tenure in Congress, floating new highly critical web ads and enlisting Gingrich's former GOP colleagues to describe his chaotic reign as speaker. Romney also took him to task for claiming to have created jobs as a junior member of Congress.
In a conference call with reporters set up by the Romney campaign, former U.S. Sen. Jim Talent of Missouri, said of serving with Gingrich in Congress, "Each one of us has stories about going home and having to apologize for our speaker."
Also on the call was former Rep. Susan Molinari of New York, whose husband, Bill Paxon, was among a band of members who tried to oust Gingrich in 1997. Gingrich's tenure from 1995 to 1998, she said, was "leadership by chaos ... The focus is always Newt and when the focus is Newt, the Republican Party loses."Continue »
UPDATED 6:55 p.m. ET
Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney acknowledged Tuesday that he pays an income tax rate close to 15 percent, the same rate that billionaire investor Warren Buffett has decried as lower than that paid by most middle-class Americans.
Asked a press conference what rate he pays, Romney responded, "What's the effective rate I've been paying? It's probably closer to the 15 percent rate than anything. Because my last 10 years, my income comes overwhelmingly from some investments made in the past, rather than ordinary income or rather than earned annual income. I got a little bit of income from my book, but I gave that all away. And then I get speakers fees from time to time, but not very much."*
Romney earned more than $300,000 in speaking fees in the twelve months through February 2011, according to financial disclosure statement filed to the government by his campaign. While that income would be taxed at a 35 percent rate, minus deductions, he suggested it is a fraction of his overall income.
Romney, who in August disclosed to the Federal Election Commission a net worth of between $190 and $250 million, in effect confirmed that, like many wealthy investors, he earns the bulk of his income from his investments. Dividends and capitol gains are taxed at a relatively low 15 percent rate. Romney said at Monday's Republican presidential debate that he would "probably" release his tax returns in April, though he would not promise to do so.
President Obama has sought to increase the tax rate for wealthy investors, and cleverly named his proposal to do so "the Buffett rule," after the famed investor from Omaha, Nebraska. Mr. Obama wants to make sure that no household making more than $1 million annually pays a lower rate than middle class Americans.Continue »