Republican presidential nomination seeker Mitt Romney says his recent comment in Iowa that "corporations are people" was not a mistake.

Speaking to reporters after a reception in New Hampshire Friday night, the former Massachusetts governor said it was astonishing that U.S. President Barack Obama doesn't feel the same way.

Romney repeated several times that "businesses are people," and asked whether Democrats believed they were perhaps little men from Mars.

The comments came at Romney's first public appearance since Thursday's Iowa debate. Earlier that day, he first made the comment about corporations to a heckler at a state fair.

Romney, a wealthy businessman who has struggled with an aloof and elitist image as he tries for the presidential nomination a second time, made the remark while outlining options for reducing the federal deficit and overhauling entitlement programs.

Despite Tea Party outrage that sometimes focuses on banks and auto companies, Romney has said to applause from Republican audiences that the rights of business are being trampled under Obama, to the detriment of the struggling economy.

Asked about Texas Gov. Rick Perry's expected entrance into the race Saturday, Romney said Friday that he could make it a more interesting contest. He vowed to work for Perry, or any other Republican, should he not win the nomination himself.