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Romney advice to students: Take a risk to start a business

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, Friday, April 27, 2012. AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

Updated 8:15 p.m. ET

WESTERVILLE, Ohio -- Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney offered a group of college students this advice on Friday: If you want to start a business, borrow money from your parents.

Romney, a wealthy former investment banker who has struggled to soften his image as a member of America's super elite, was discussing ways of achieving the American dream at Otterbein University. He said, "We've always encouraged young people: Take a shot, go for it. Take a risk. Get the education. Borrow money if you have to from your parents. Start a business."

The presumptive GOP nominee focused his remarks to students in this important swing state on trying to show a more personal side. He talked at length about his work at Bain Capital on investment projects that fostered the creation of the Staples office-supply chain and other businesses. He also mentioned political supporter Jimmy John Liautaud, founder of the pizza business that bears his name, as an example of the American dream.

"He graduated from high school and he didn't want to go to college," Romney said. "And he said to his dad, 'Can I borrow some money? I want to start a business.' His dad said, 'You know what? I just don't think you've got the discipline to start a business and make it work.' And he said, 'I'll loan you the money, but if you can't pay it back, with interest, by the end of the year, I want you to go into the military, and sign up.' And he said, 'OK, I'll do that.'"

Today, Romney said, "He's got shops all over the country and thousands of people that work with him."

This story corrects an earlier version. An aide to Romney said he was referring to business loans when he suggested students borrow money from their parents.

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