Nearly four months after losing the general election, former Massachusetts governor and Republican presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, finally broke his silence on Fox News Sunday. Romney and his wife Ann talked about life after the campaign, and reflected on some of the missteps that cost them the keys to the Oval Office.
Here’s a rundown of some of the key take aways from their interview.
1. Mitt really believes he could’ve been a better President
With the backdrop of the sequester, which went into effect late Friday night, Romney lamented his loss to President Obama as a missed opportunity to be the one to fix the nation’s woes. Himself a polarizing figure within the GOP, he lambasted both Republicans and Democrats—especially the president—for not working together on a deal that would’ve averted the fiscal mess.
“It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done. The president is the leader of the nation; the president brings people together, does the deals, does the trades, knocks the heads together”, said Romney. Ann Romney more bluntly said, “If Mitt were there, in the office, we would not be facing sequestration right now.”
2. Ann cries… a lot
The self-described “she lion”, who we were used to seeing throughout the campaign as her husband’s fiercest defender, spoke of the “crushing disappointment” of losing, in terms that felt like someone died. It’s very clear that the loss was an emotional blow to Mrs. Romney—and she’s not over it. “I’m mostly over it. But not completely,” she said. “And you have moments where you, you know, go back and feel the sorrow of the loss.” But there was also a sense of lingering bitterness as well, as Romney, with obvious snark, commented on the success of the president’s “winning campaign.” A campaign she thought was unfairly negative toward her husband.
3. Mitt is still tortured by his 47% comments
Following the game-changing release of the infamous “47% tape”, Mitt Romney initially tried to temper his remark that “no matter what” 47% of the population would vote for the president because they were “dependent upon government.” He never wholly retracted his statements, but did eventually admit that his words were not “eloquently stated.” And now, it seems he’s jumped the fence he struggled to straddle. Responding to Fox’s Chris Wallace’s question of another secretly recorded tape in which Romney seemed to suggest that voters who were looking for some form of handout were responsible for the president’s victory, Romney doubled down. “Obamacare was very attractive, particularly [for] those without health insurance. And they came out in large numbers to vote. And that was part of a successful campaign,” he said.
4. The media is to blame…except Fox News
While Romney acknowledged his own personal faults, gaffes, and missteps, Ann Romney spread the blame between an overconfident campaign and “the media.”
A gleeful Ann Romney said, “I’m happy to blame the media.” She explained that the American people never really got to meet the real Mitt because of media bias that cost her husband “a fair shake.” Mind you, this is the same media that the campaign denied interviews up to two weeks before the election.
In fairness, the Romney’s did give a few television interviews throughout the campaign, but viewers who watched our show during the election cycle know how much more friendly the Romneys were with another network.
5. Mitt is trying to adjust to life after the campaign trail
“We were on a rollercoaster. Exciting and thrilling. Ups and downs. But the ride ends, and then you get off. And it’s not like, “oh, can we be on a roller coaster the rest of our life?’ it’s like no. the ride’s over.”
In the many snap shots we saw of Mitt Romney after the November elections, some included pictures of his extended family enjoying rollercoaster rides and bumper cars at a Disney theme park. It looked like the happiest he’d been since the end of the presidential run which we described as rollercoaster. And while Romney expressed a desire to have an influence in solving some of the problems in the Republican party, we also see a man who seems content with splitting time between advancing party agenda and spending time with family.
“… you look back at the campaign and say, OK, what did the president do well and you acknowledge that his campaign did a number of things very effectively. Of course, you rehearse all the mistakes that you made. And I went through a number of my mistakes, I’m sure. And then you think about the things that were out of our control. But you move on. I mean, I don’t spend my life looking back. It’s like, OK, what are we going to do next?”