Explaining the defeat, Romney and his wife spread around the blame — Mitt to Obama winning over so many blacks and Hispanics by enacting universal health care, Ann to a news media she believed unfairly caricatured her husband. Yet although Romney said “you rehearse all the mistakes that you made,” Romney mostly did not dwell on his own failings as a candidate.
Romney insisted he is getting on with his life — Fox showed him pushing some grandkids on a swing set and cradling his youngest in his arms (“No. 19 and No. 20,” he called the newborn twins) — but he revealed flashes of pain. For him, the White House forever will remain an unfulfilled destiny.
“I look at what’s happening right now, I wish I were there,” Romney said. “It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done.”
Up until Election Day, both Mitt and Ann said, they thought they would win. “We were a little blindsided,” Ann told Fox anchor Chris Wallace. She seemed more heartbroken than her husband, saying she has cried since he lost on Nov. 6.
“You know the great ‘Princess Bride’ line, ‘Mostly dead’?” she said. “I’m mostly over it. But not completely. And you have moments where you, you know, go back and feel the sorrow of the loss. And so, yes, I think we’re not mostly dead yet.”
She added, “I know he would have been a fabulous president, and I mourn the fact that he’s not there.”
The transition from presidential nominee — life in the intoxicating and never fading spotlight, with a minute-by-minute schedule and bevies of aides, press and Secret Service agents surrounding you — to campaign has-been is always difficult. Just ask John McCain and John Kerry.
But unlike McCain and Kerry, who continued distinguished Senate careers after their failed White House bids in 2008 and 2004 respectively, Romney had no job to return to. The former Massachusetts governor tended his wounds at his San Diego beach house, largely in seclusion, making up for lost time with his family and friends.
Photographs of Romney surfaced online, including one of him pumping his own gas with his hair messed up. “None of those were done by professional photographers — or I might have, you know, combed my hair,” Romney joked to Wallace.
Romney began easing back onto the public stage with Sunday’s interview. He is scheduled to give his first speech since the election at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week.
In the Fox interview, Romney was not shy about critiquing Obama’s handling of the nation’s fiscal crises — continuing the fights that shaped the 2012 campaign.
The hardest part about losing, Romney said, has been watching “this golden moment just slip away with politics.” He accused Obama of using automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequester to score political points.