Romney: “It Kills Me” Not to Be in White House

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
March 3 2013 11:53 AM

Mitt Romney: “It Kills Me … Not to Be in the White House Doing What Needs To Be Done”

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Mitt Romney and his wife Ann Romney sat down with Fox News host Chris Wallace Sunday

Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

In his first television interview since he lost the presidential election, Mitt Romney said he wishes he could be in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue solving the country’s problems. “It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done,” Romney told Fox News Sunday. “It’s hard.” (Watch video of the interview after the jump.)

Romney told Chris Wallace President Obama seems more interested in “campaigning” and “berating Republicans” rather than try to solve the sequester, which should be seen as an "opportunity" to fix America's fiscal problems. Ann Romney also took part in the interview and said that if her husband had won, the nation wouldn’t be facing the drastic budget cuts that are part of the sequester.

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“I totally believe at this moment, if Mitt were there in the office, that we would not be facing sequestration right now,” she said.

Romney also looked back on the campaign, saying he believed he would win the presidency but knew shortly after polls closed on Election Day that his dreams would be dashed. Romney said he knew he was in trouble when exit polls showed a close race in Florida, and then realized it was all over when Obama won Ohio.

“It was a slow recognition until ultimately when the Ohio numbers began coming in and they were disappointing,” he said, according to Politico. “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.”

Ann Romney harshly criticized the media for what she described as skewed coverage of the campaign, saying that “people weren’t allowed to really see [Romney] for who he was.”

Romney did take responsibility for some of his campaign's failings and spoke extensively about his now-infamous “47 percent” comment, calling it a “very unfortunate statement” that ended up hurting his campaign. He also said his campaign failed at reaching out to minorities, calling it “a real mistake.”

Romney said that while he has no plans to run for elected office again, he will try to continue being an influential voice in the Republican Party. “I’m not going to disappear,” he said.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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