Presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Sunday defended his time in private business and insisted he understands the country's tough economic times because he once feared losing his job.
"I know what it's like to worry about whether you're going to get fired," the former Massachusetts governor told a crowd gathered at the historic Rochester Opera House. "There were a couple of times when I was worried I was going to get pink-slipped."
Romney did not provide any details or concrete examples of when he feared he would be laid off or fired. His aides refused repeated requests for additional information.
Romney, who grew up in Michigan while his father served as the state's governor, became a multimillionaire when he was CEO of Bain Capital, a venture capital firm.
A spokeswoman said Romney feared losing his job "as a young person just out of college."
Before running Bain Capital, Romney attended Brigham Young University and Harvard, where he studied for law and business degrees. After graduating with honors, Romney was hired as a consultant by Boston Consulting Group. He then went to work at Bain & Co., the consulting firm that eventually spun off Bain Capital.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich attacked Romney this weekend for making those millions while laying off workers.
Gingrich referred to Romney's job at Bain as "a Wall Street model where you can flip companies, you can go in and have leveraged buyouts, you can basically take out all the money, leaving behind the workers."
Democrats have also repeatedly attacked Romney's tenure at Bain.
At the rally Sunday, Romney told the crowd that Bain created more jobs in the long run.
He said he once stocked shelves at Staples, the successful office supply company.
"I'm not perfect, but I do get it, and I will use what I know to get America working," Romney said.