In his first interview since deciding not to run for president again, former Gov. Mitt Romney said he had the donors and the support to mount a third presidential campaign but decided against it because “it just didn’t feel right.”
“Somehow, it just didn’t feel like this was the right time for us to step forward,” he told Yahoo’s Katie Couric in an exclusive interview. “I would love to be president. I just concluded I was not the best person to carry forward the Republican torch.”
But that doesn’t mean Romney’s out of the ring completely – the former nominee had lots to stay about the upcoming GOP primary, Hillary Clinton, and his upcoming charity boxing match against an unlikely foe.
Romney weighed in on a number of candidates he’s got his eye on for 2016, like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush.
“He’s a terrific guy,” Romney said. “He did a great job on education, really a sound, effective governor, and by the way—I think he’s run really a very good campaign so far, keeping sort of below the radar from a PR standpoint but building a strong campaign team, a strong finance team. He’s a very formidable and capable candidate and I think he’d be a very good president.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also earned praise from Romney.
“I think Scott Walker is a pretty well defined governor – this is guy who’s run three times in about a year or two,” he said with a laugh. “A guy like that has really stood the test of a very close inspection and he’s a man of integrity and character who’s done a good job as governor.”
And don’t forget Marco Rubio.
“Marco has really distinguished himself in the Senate as someone who has a real understanding of forieng policy and there’s some that believe foreign policy will be a number one issue in campaign,” he said. “That would play to Marco’s strengths.”
Still, Romney’s not handing out an endorsement just yet.
“I haven’t chosen a person and I don’t expect to endorse anybody in this race – maybe way down the road,” he said. “At least at this stage where there’s five or six or seven mainstream republicans … Whether it’s Jeb [Bush] or Marco [Rubio] or Chris [Christie] or Carly Fiorina or Lindsey Graham, or Scott Walker.”
As for presumed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Romney called the former Secretary of State’s email controversy “a mess.”
“It’s always something with the Clintons. They have rules which they describe before they get into something and then they decide they don’t have to follow their own rules and that, I think is gonna be a real problem for her,” Romney said.
And while Romney said there’s no way, no how he’ll be getting into the 2016 race as a candidate, he will be stepping into a boxing ring this May, against former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield in a charity match to benefit CharityVision, a group that helps the blind.
While it’s not politics per say, Romney joked that, “I think there’ll be a lot of Democrats there paying good money to see me get beaten up.”
Romney’s wife, Ann, is preparing for the worst: she’s “already made the physical therapy appointments after the bout.”