Romney slams Obama, reflects on election loss

9:15 AM, Mar 3, 2013   |    comments
(Photo: Emmanuel Dunand, AFP/Getty Images)
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Catalina Camia, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON -- Four months after losing the White House, Mitt Romney is dusting himself off and starting to speak out about politics and policy again.

In a wide-ranging interview that aired Sunday on Fox News, Romney chided President Obama for his dealings with congressional Republicans and for "playing politics" with the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.

"I see this as a huge opportunity and it's being squandered by politics," the 2012 presidential nominee said. "The hardest thing is watching this golden moment slip away."

It was the first TV interview for Romney and his wife, Ann, since losing to Obama. In mid-March, Romney will come to the Washington suburbs for an address the Conservative Political Action Conference -- his first big post-election speech.

Romney garnered about 47% of the vote to Obama's 51% -- an irony considering the flap over the Republican's secretly taped remarks during the campaign in which he said 47% of Americans were dependent on government assistance and would not vote for him in any case.

Romney repeated Sunday that he misspoke and made an "unfortunate" statement. "No question it hurt," he said. "It did damage to my campaign."

In the Fox News interview, Romney said he still wants to help the GOP find ways to reach out to minorities who voted in droves for Obama and to fix vexing problems with the economy. But he conceded that he lacks "credibility" because he lost a presidential race that many Republicans believed was winnable.

"I'm not going to be telling the Republican Party, 'come listen to me.' I lost," Romney aid. "Clearly we have to do a better job in bringing minority voters to vote for Republicans ... and help them understand that are the party with the ideas to make their lives better."

Unsuccessful presidential candidates usually take some time trying to find their footing after the election. Republican John McCain and Democrat John Kerry, for example, threw themselves back into their work in the Senate after their White House defeats following a period of lying low.

But Romney is a former Massachusetts governor, now seven years out of office, and appears relishing his role as a doting grandfather who takes his some of his 20 grandchildren to Disneyland or skiing or tossing a ball on the beach. Romney said his family foundation will be retooled and refocused on all children, helping them overcome diseases and other issues.

Ann Romney conceded she is having a tougher time recovering from the election loss, and admitted that she has found herself crying at times because she believes her husband would be doing a better job than Obama.

"I'm mostly over it ... but not completely," she said. "You have moments where you go back and feel the loss."

She and her husband conceded Obama had a better campaign, especially mobilizing voters to go to the polls. They said they knew their supporters were passionate, but that they under-estimated the same fervor Obama had on his side.

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