August 15, 2011 / 10:51 PM / 6 years ago

Romney highlights business smarts with eye on Perry

PLYMOUTH, New Hampshire (Reuters) - Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney touted his record as a businessman on Monday as he sought to stem the momentum of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who entered the presidential race Saturday.

Romney also accused billionaire investor Warren Buffett, the chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., of “not being straightforward” in calling for higher taxes on the wealthy in a New York Times opinion piece.

Former Massachusetts governor Romney, who co-founded the leveraged buyout firm Bain Capital and has a net worth of about $250 million, spoke to about 100 people at an inn in the key primary state of New Hampshire, saying his businesses had helped to create thousands of jobs.

Though he did not mention Perry by name, Romney appeared eager to contrast his background, including more than two decades in the private sector, with that of the Texas governor, who has been in state politics since 1984.

“I have the credibility to talk about the economy in a way that nobody else on that stage will,” he said. “I will not need a primer on how the economy works.”

At a campaign stop earlier in the day, Romney said that “having worked in the real economy” was essential to be in the White House.

Perry came to New Hampshire on Saturday immediately after announcing his White House bid in South Carolina and vowed to run a 50-state campaign. He will visit the state again on Wednesday.

Regarding Buffett, who noted in the New York Times piece that he paid a lower income tax percentage rate than many of his employees, Romney said the famed investor failed to take into account the corporate taxes Berkshire paid.

“The problem with rich people is that many of them are smart,” Romney said. “High taxes on entrepreneurs and investors dissuade them from putting Americans to work.”

Reporting by Jason McLure. Editing by Ros Krasny and Peter Bohan

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