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article imageMitt Romney: 'It kills me not to be there in the White House'

By JohnThomas Didymus     Mar 4, 2013 in Politics
Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in his first television interview since he lost the election to President Obama, said that until the evening of Election Day 2012, he thought he was going to win the presidential election.
Romney, joined by his wife Ann, spoke in his first television interview since his lost the general election to President Obama in 2012. He told Christ Wallace on "Fox News Sunday": "Yeah, I think we were convinced that we would win... It was a slow recognition until ultimately when the Ohio numbers began coming in and they were disappointing. I said, look, this looks like we've lost — wasn't certain. Some people said, 'Oh, look, if this number here comes in, why, you could win.' But you know, by 8 or 9 o’clock, it was pretty clear that we were not going to win."
Politico reports his wife Ann also said she had no doubt: "I for sure did. I think Mitt intellectually was thinking that it was possible we couldn't; he knew how close it was."
In response to a question about the "47 percent" video that is widely believed to have impacted significantly on the outcome of the general election, Romney insisted that he was misunderstood. He said: "It was a very unfortunate statement that I made. It's not what I meant... What I said is not what I believe."
Romney acknowledged that the misstatement affected his candidacy. He said: "That hurt, there is no question that hurt and did some real damage to my campaign."
Politico reported he said: “You know, when you speak in private, uh, you don’t spend as much time thinking about how something could be twisted and distorted and — and it could come out wrong and be used. But, you know, I did. And it was very harmful. What I said is not what I believe. Obviously, my whole campaign — my whole life has been devoted to helping people, all of the people. I care about all the people of the country. But, uh, but that hurt. There’s no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign."
Romney insisted on his opposition to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. He said he does not support the proposal by the "Gang of Eight" senators to allow provisional status. He said: "People who have come here illegally should not be given a path to permanent citizenship just because they have come here illegally."
The Huffington Post reports that when he was asked about the future of the GOP, he said Republicans need to do more to win minority voters. He acknowledged that his campaign was damaged by his failure to attract black and Hispanic voters.
He described the inability of his campaign to win black and Hispanic votes as "a real weakness" and said future GOP candidates must do better.
He said: "The weakness that our campaign had and that I had is we weren't effective in — in taking my message primarily to minority voters, to Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, other minorities. That was a real weakness. Uh, we did very well with the majority population, but not with minority populations. And — and that was a — that was a failing. That was a real mistake."
Romney also said the GOP presidential primary season, in which he came under sharp criticism and attack from Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, hurt his chances. However, he rejected accusations that he changed his position to win the nomination. He said: "The idea that somehow... the primary made me become more conservative than I was just isn't, isn't accurate. On the other hand, a long and blistering primary, where people are attacking one another and where the attacks sometimes are not on the mark but are creating an un — you know, unfavorable impression — those things are not helpful."
On Hurricane Sandy and allegations that the New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's snub affected his chances, Romney said: "I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did. I see my mistakes and I see my flaws, and I did better this time than I did the time before."
He criticized Obama over the sequester, saying he would have accepted a "10-1 spending-cuts-to-tax-hikes deal." He said: "I’ll look at what’s happening right now, I wish I were there. 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; the president leads. And — and I don’t see that kind of — of leadership happening right now... The hardest thing about losing is watching this critical moment, this golden moment slip away with politics."
He compared Obama to the legend of the Roman emperor who played the fiddle while Rome burned, saying: "Nero is fiddling."
He continued: "Well, no one can think that that’s been a success for the president. He didn't think the sequester would happen. It is happening. To date, what we've seen is a — the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing. Now, what does that do? That causes the Republicans to — to retrench and to put up a wall and to fight back. It’s a very natural human emotion."
Ann blamed the media for portraying her husband in an "unfairly skewed" manner.
She said: "It was not just the campaign’s fault. I believe it was the media’s fault as well, in that he was not giving — being given a fair shake, that people weren't allowed to really see him for who he was."
She concluded that she was "happy to blame the media" for her husband's loss.
She said she was sure that had her husband won, he would have handled the sequester better. She said: "I totally believe at this moment, if Mitt were there in the office, that we would not be facing sequestration right now."
Ann also confirmed during the interview that she was asked to appear on ABC's "Dancing With the Stars." She said she turned down the invitation because she did not think she was in good shape for dancing.
She said: "I did consider it. I love the show. I would've loved to have done it, and I am turning 64, and I started thinking about it, I’m not really as flexible as I should be. And now I know, I understand, Dorothy Hamill is been picked, and I thought, oh my gosh, am I glad I didn't do that! I wouldn't want to compete against Dorothy!"
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