Hudson, N.H. — Mitt Romney defended his “I like being able to fire people” comment from earlier this morning, stressing that he had been speaking about the importance of allowing people to choose their own health care provider, and if need be, fire that provider.
He also fired back at Newt Gingrich, who has been vigorously attacking his record at Bain Capital. “Gee, I thought he apologized for going after my record at Bain,” Romney remarked dryly. “Wasn’t that just a couple of weeks ago?” He said that he had anticipated that “free enterprise will be on trial” this election, but noted that the attacks were coming from “Speaker Gingrich and apparently others” instead of the Democrats.
Speaking about how his quote would be used against him by the Democrats, Romney said, “Speech can always be taken out of context, and I understand that’s what the Obama people will do.”
Romney, who had said he feared being fired at points in his life at a rally yesterday, gave a more detailed explanation today. “I started at the bottom,” he said of his career at Bain Capital. “I came out of school and got an entry level position like the other people who were freshly minted MBAs. Like anybody who starts at the bottom of the enterprise, you wonder, when you don’t do so well, whether you’re going to be able to hang onto our job and you wonder if the enterprise gets in trouble, will you be one of those who’s laid off?”
Looking ahead to tomorrow night’s results, Romney said he was hoping for a larger margin of victory than he had received in Iowa, chuckling as he said he didn’t relish the prospect of having another night like the one of the Iowa caucuses.