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Romney: Idea That "Making A Business Profitable Is Different Than Helping People Is Really A Foreign Idea"

Piers Morgan, CNN: People try to portray you as a kind of ruthless money machine who some failed, some succeeded, you didn't care, you still got your fees or you made a ton of money. But actually quite a few of the companies failed, a lot of people lost their jobs, their livelihoods. They lost money. To me, the key question is, do you know instinctively from your recollections how many of those companies that you went into would have failed anyway if you hadn't?

Mitt Romney: Well, there's no question but that a number of places where we went in and invested we were investing in enterprise that was in trouble. That -- where the future was very much in doubt for it. We invested in one business, I think it lost 50 or 60 or more million dollars the year before we invested. And a lot of people didn't want to touch it. We were able to go in there with the current management team, help get the business back on track as an investor. The managers really ran it but they were able to turn it around and see a real success. It's still around today, doing quite well. It provides jobs for a lot of people.

The idea that somehow making a business profitable is different than helping people is really a foreign idea. Because the whole American free enterprise system is associated with creating success, making businesses profitable. That means they can hire more people and grow.

And every investment that I made while I was responsible for an investment firm, every investment was designed to try and help the business grow and to become more successful. It killed us if something was not successful. If a business we started, for instance, couldn't make it, and there were several like that, but there were several that took off in ways we never would have imagined. There were other businesses that were existing businesses we wanted to make better. Most of them we did make better. Those that we didn't, we felt terrible about.

By the way, we lost money, investors money. We became investors ultimately in our career. We lost our own money in some of these cases, but the key was we wanted all of them to be successful. That's the nature, by the way, of the free enterprise system. Not everything you invest in is success, hopefully most are. And as the people who invested with us, the pensions, the charities and college endowments that invested with us know, most of our work was successful.

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