Mitt Romney said Saturday night that it pains him to fire workers in order to make a company more profitable, responding to criticism from Newt Gingrich, who cited a New York Times story on one of Romney's ventures.
"It always pains you if you have to be in a position of downsizing a business in order to make it more successful," Romney said. "I'm not surprised to have the New York Times try to put free enterprise on trial...It's a little surprising from my colleagues on this stage."
Former Massachusetts Gov. Romney said that the laid-off workers are victims of the free market. "Sometimes investments don't work and you're not successful," he said.
But Gingrich, the former House Speaker, questioned whether Romney's private equity ventures were aimed at creating jobs or quick profit for capitalists.
Gingrich said he's all for the free market, but "I'm not nearly enamored of a Wall Street model where you can go in and flip companies, have leveraged buyouts, basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers."
He cited 1,700 fired workers in a New York Times story on one of Romney's corporate raids.
"If it's factually accurate, it raises questions," he said.