Updated 7:22 a.m. ET, Aug. 24
(CBS News) MINNETONKA, Minn. - Mitt Romney told a group of donors on Thursday night that "big business is doing fine in many places," due to its ability to better deal with regulations and because large companies can utilize "low tax havens around the world."
Romney's remarks came as he argued for the need to cut regulations for small businesses, which he says are getting crushed by the many federal rules and requirements they face. But his comment threatened to invite comparisons to President Obama's comment in June that "the private sector is doing fine," which Republicans have used to portray Obama as ignorant on economic issues.
"We've got to make it easier for small businesses," Romney said to a group of 300 at the Lafayette Club in this Minneapolis suburb. "Big business is doing fine in many places - they get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses."
Romney's comments also likely will draw attention to the fact that he has kept and invested much of his own money overseas. The Obama campaign already has released an ad hitting Romney for having held a Swiss bank account and has a website that lists the countries in which Romney and his wife have kept money or held investments.
After Romney's remark, his campaign issued a statement seeking to call attention to his past statements in support of reforming the tax code.
"Governor Romney has long said we need to simplify the tax code, close loopholes and create a more level playing field for American businesses," spokeswoman Andrea Saul said. "Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be champions for small business, encouraging investment, entrepreneurship and innovation."