Speaking to reporters at Cherokee Trikes & More in Greer, South Carolina Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney dismissed criticism over his lack of transparency about the number of jobs that were created while he worked at Bain Capital.

"Staples, Bright Horizons Children's Centers, the Sports Authority, Steel Dynamics -- those four alone added well over 100,000 jobs," he explained. "And then the press has also reported on businesses that have lost employment, and that was a few thousand jobs that were lost."

"I think anytime a job is lost, it's a tragedy," the candidate admitted. "For the family, for the individual that loses the job, it's just devastating. And every time we invested in a business, it was to try to encourage that business to have ongoing life. The idea of making a short-term profit doesn't really exist in business."

Romney's most recent remarks are in conflict with the perception he created at an event in New Hampshire on Monday, when he said that he "liked being able to fire people."

During a Chamber of Commerce breakfast, the former Massachusetts governor touted the idea of Americans buying their own insurance instead of it being provided by employers.

“I want people to be able to own their own insurance,” he explained. “That means the insurance company will have an incentive to keep you healthy. It also means that if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them.”

“I like being able to fire people that provide services to me,” the candidate added.

In recent days, a super PAC supporting former House Speaker Newt Gingrich released a film attacking Romney’s record at Bain, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry has called the venture capital firm “vutures.”

Failed Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin on Wednesday urged Romney to release his tax records and prove that he had created more than 100,000 jobs as the head of Bain Capital.

“I think what Gov. Perry is getting at is that Gov. Romney has claimed to have created 100,000 jobs at Bain and people are wanting to know, is there proof of that claim?” Palin told Fox News host Sean Hannity Wednesday. “And was it U.S. jobs created for United States citizens?”

In an interview on Fox & Friends earlier this month, Romney said that he had “helped create over 100,000 new jobs” during his time as a business consultant.

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom later told The Washington Post that those figures included all the jobs created by companies that Bain had helped to grow, not necessarily during the period Romney worked at Bain.

Watch this video from CNN, broadcast Jan. 12, 2012.