Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, gave an unflinching review Sunday of his unsuccessful campaign, admitting his shortcomings and disappointments but vowing to remain a force in American politics.
“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” in his first interview with wife Ann after the election. “It’s hard.”
In the wide-ranging interview, Romney and his wife also talked about everything from campaign missteps to heartbreaking Election night results to how President Obama has led the country so far in his second term.
“The president is out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing,” Romney said. “That causes the Republicans to retrench and to put up a wall and to fight back.”
Romney told Fox that Obama appears to be failing in his handling of the $85 billion in spending cuts this year that automatically kicked in this weekend, in part because he failed to broker a less drastic option between Democrats and Republicans.
“No one can think that that's been a success for the president,” he said.
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, spoke in detail about remarks he made during a private event, regarding not being able to reach 47 percent of voters, which critics exploited late in the campaign.
“It was a very unfortunate statement,” Romney told Fox. “It's not what I meant. I didn't express myself as I wished I would have. 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 it could come out wrong. … There's no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign.
He also acknowledges he and his campaign failed to reach out to minorities as well as the Obama campaign.
“We weren't effective in my message primarily to minority voters, to Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans, other minorities,” Romney said. “That was a real mistake.”
In the interview, which was taped Thursday and aired Sunday, Romney also said he and his campaign underestimated the appeal of Obama's new health care law to low-income voters.
Romney said he is finished will elected office, but will continue to try to help the Republican Party, despite having a less powerful voice.
“I lost and so I'm not going to be telling the Republican Party, ‘Come listen to me, the guy who lost,’ ” Romney said. “I'm not going to disappear. … I care about America. I care about the people that can't find jobs. I care about the fact that we're racking up larger deficits and putting the peril of the future generation very much in play.”