VIRGINIA BEACH, Virginia - President Barack Obama has defended taking Mitt Romney's economic record to task, suggesting his Republican rival's success in business does not necessarily mean he would create jobs if elected, according to comments released Friday.
Obama's comments came after his campaign launched a fierce attack on Romney Thursday, accusing the former governor of Massachusetts of lying about how long he remained head of Bain Capital.
His team seized on a Boston Globe report citing government records that appear to show he stayed in control of the private equity firm for three years beyond the 1999 date during which he said he had stepped down.
What followed was a withering assault on Romney, with his campaign warning the challenger may have committed a felony if he misrepresented his position at Bain to federal regulators.
The 1999 date could be important, as Bain Capital is alleged to have invested in firms that moved workers overseas after that year and Obama supporters are attempting to paint Romney as a destroyer of jobs.
"The point I've made there in the past is, if you're head of a large private equity firm or a hedge fund, your job is to make money," Obama said in the same CBS interview, again addressing Romney's tenure at Bain Capital.
"It's not even to create a successful business. It's to make sure that you are maximizing returns for your investor."