Romney: "I'd like to look at Barack Obama's record"

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during his primary night party at Southern New Hampshire University on January 10, 2012 in Manchester, New Hampshire. According to early results, Romney finished first in the state's primary election. Romney has led a field of six GOP candidates in the polls by double digits going into to the primary, a second important test for presidential hopefuls.
Getty Images/Justin Sullivan

Mitt Romney, facing criticism from rivals over his business background, said Wednesday he plans to fight back by painting President Obama as someone who has infused the private sector with too much government involvement.

The former Massachusetts governor cited the administration's controversial authorization of a loan guarantee in 2009 to an energy firm that later went bankrupt. About 1,100 workers lost their job after Solyndra Inc. failed.

Romney, who grew up in Michigan as the son of an auto executive, said he would also highlight loans to niche car makers Tesla Motors Inc. and Fisker Automotive Inc. to build electric cars and the Obama administration's actions regarding General Motors and Chrysler.

Romney famously argued in a 2008 op-ed in the New York Times that Detroit should be allowed to go bankrupt and should not get the billions it asked for from the government in November 2008. President George W. Bush did give the two firms more than $17 billion before he left office.

President Obama, who took office in January 2009, allowed GM to file for bankruptcy in June 2009. Romney often says Mr. Obama was correct to do "what I suggested" to allow the auto giant undergo a "managed bankruptcy."

"I'd like to look at Barack Obama's record," Romney told reporters while flying from New Hampshire to South Carolina. "So as we talk about my experience in the private sector, I'll talk about his experience - he's now been a venture capitalist in Solyndra, Fisker, Tesla and he's been a private equity guy in General Motors and Chrysler."

Romney also shrugged off the attacks coming from Newt Gingrich and his other rivals over his record at Bain Capital, the private equity firm his critics say was more interested in reaping profits for top executives than rebuilding the firms in which it invested.

"I was surprised to see Newt Gingrich as the first witness for the prosecution, but I don't think that's going to hurt my efforts," he said. "Frankly, if I can't take a few shots coming from my colleagues on the Republican side, I'm not ready for Barack Obama."

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