Romney fires back on president's jobs remark

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty explains


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 18, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST OF "YOUR WORLD": Well, the president always tells business owners, you didn't build that, and now the battle is really building.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Would the people who began a business or are leading a business in this room please stand up? Wow.


ROMNEY: Thank you. Thank you.

Did you build your business? If you did, raise your hand?

Take that, Mr. President. This is what's happening in this country. These people are entrepreneurs.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There no one in this country who got rich on his own, nobody. You built a factory out there, good for you, but I want to be clear, you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER, R-OHIO, SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: It sure wasn't the government there to help my small business. I'm the one that had the sleepless nights. I'm the one who went out on a limb to hire people.

That's exactly what is wrong with this administration. It doesn't give a damn about middle-class Americans who are out there looking for work. What he's trying to it is distract the American people in order to win his own reelection.


CAVUTO: All right, it is hot, it's heated, and it is now.

We have got the former Minnesota governor and a guy now and then mentioned as a possible running mate for Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty.

Governor, always great have you.

What do you think of this debate about those who succeed did not do it on their own?

TIM PAWLENTY (R), FORMER MINNESOTA GOVERNOR: Well, good afternoon to you, Neil. And thanks to be -- good to be with you on the show.

The comments were really stunning, I thought, jarring to have those words come out of the president of the United States. I think it reflects a failure to understand, respect, or appreciate private enterprise, entrepreneurialism, and free enterprise in this country.

And to have him on the heels of the other comments that he's made kicking entrepreneurs and private economy in the shins, he just doesn't get it. He just doesn't get it.

I had a gentleman I met this morning who is an entrepreneur and he came up to me in a restaurant and he said I work my rear end off. And to have the president say, you didn't do that, he said, it's offensive, it's hurtful, and he was visibly shaken by it and angered by it.

And I see that response over the last few days with a lot small business owners and entrepreneurs.

CAVUTO: You know, this class warfare argument is nothing new, of course, as you know, Governor. You were citing it when you were running for president yourself.

But we have revved up the octane a little bit, but I'm wondering if its part of an elaborate trap set by Democrats. And I want you to address the fact that Mitt Romney then comes back and extols the virtues -- and is perfectly fine to do so -- of Bill Gates, of Steve Jobs, both Democrats, by the way, to say that they made it on their own.

But it puts Romney in the position of defending billionaires in this case, and maybe that was the president or his people's intent, to get Mitt Romney defending rich guys, and he fell for it. What do you think?

PAWLENTY: Yes. Well, in my view, it's pretty simple.

One of the big issues in this campaign is who can best serve and provide opportunity to the middle class? And it's pretty hard to be middle class if you don't have a job, Neil.

And so the issue is, how do – what's the best plan to get jobs growing in this country again, good-paying jobs for all Americans, including the American middle class? Barack Obama's had nearly four years. He's failed. You know the numbers, 23 million Americans unemployed, underemployed, given up looking for work, the lowest rate of business formation in 30 years, 40 months of over 8 percent unemployment, and the list goes on and on.

His presidency in terms of the economy and private enterprise and entrepreneurialism in this country is a disaster. He doesn't understand it, doesn't respect it, and doesn't get it and he's hostile towards it. On the flip side, you've got Mitt Romney, who has lived his whole life not in Washington, D.C., but immersed in free enterprise and the deployment of capital and getting companies growing and providing jobs.

And he has a great agenda to move the country forward. President Obama's had his chance. It didn't work. Now we need to get a new president.

CAVUTO: While I have you, Governor, you might have suspected that I might raise this V.P. talk that is out there, but you have been whittled down to what I'm told is a shorter list, and apparently because you're considered at least by the Romney's, we are told -- sir, this could be wrong -- safe, reliable, steady as she goes, nothing too flashy, dare I say dull.


CAVUTO: And I caution, Governor, I have no problem with dull. I've built a career on it -- but that that is a saving virtue for you.

The rap against that kind of talk are those who might see you as a good pick is that gets in the way of it, that gets in the way of it, that it's bad to go dull.


CAVUTO: What do you think of that?

PAWLENTY: Now, if you goad me into it, I'll show my tats.


CAVUTO: All right. Well, I'm going to leave that at that.


PAWLENTY: I'm teasing.

CAVUTO: But you know that -- how would you defend yourself from that criticism that maybe Mitt Romney needs a flashy running mate?



Well, I would say just this. We have a lot of people who are entertaining, who can light their hair on fire or do whatever, but the bottom line is, these are serious times. We need seasoned, experience people who get the job done.

And you look at my record in Minnesota, in terms of cutting taxes and reducing spending...


CAVUTO: No, no, who lights their hair on fire? Who are you talking about?

PAWLENTY: I'm just saying we don't need an entertainer.


CAVUTO: Chris Christie? Does Chris Christie light his hair on fire?

PAWLENTY: No, I'm talking about Barack Obama.


PAWLENTY: I mean Barack Obama gives us this soaring rhetoric last time, soaring rhetoric.


PAWLENTY: And it turned out to be a bunch of empty promises.

CAVUTO: You think people are tired of that and might go -- I understand -- go the other way. They would go the other way. They'd embrace non-flashy?

PAWLENTY: Well, I also say, relative to who, Neil?

I mean, I'm not as flashy as some, but compared to some others, I think I'm right in there. But, nonetheless, I'm not defending it one way or the other. I'm just saying people, rhetoric and teleprompter and jokes and that kind of stuff doesn't put gas in our cars. It doesn't pay our mortgage; it doesn't pay our health insurance premiums.

People are hurting. And we've got neighbors and friends and loved ones who have given up hope. The country is ailing and headed in the wrong direction. And we shouldn't be debating who will be an entertainer in chief. We should be debating who can get this country moving again on the foundations and values that made it a great success.

Mitt Romney can do that will do that. And that's why I feel so strongly about his candidacy. I don't need more teleprompter speeches about hope and change. It's a bunch of B.S., frankly.


PAWLENTY: He didn't do it. He didn't deliver.

CAVUTO: Can you sing? I'm just curious, because that seems to be something the president can do. He can sing.

PAWLENTY: No, I can't sing very well, Neil. I'm sorry. I'm sorry.


CAVUTO: Governor, you're a good sport. Thank you very, very much. Always good having you, sir.

PAWLENTY: All right. Thanks for having me.

CAVUTO: All right.

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