(CNN) – Speculation has swirled over whether Republican former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will run for president in 2012, and in a late night television appearance Wednesday he said it will be clear when and if he's throwing his hat in the ring.
"If you ever see me sign up for a gig on Fox News, it'll be a clear indication that I've decided to run for president," Romney joked on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," a reference to the five potential 2012 candidates that appear on the network. "That's not in the cards anytime soon, thanks."
Romney made a bid for the last GOP presidential nomination, and when asked what he would do differently this time around he said, "I'd get more votes than the other guy."
While he praised 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin as a "remarkable, energetic, powerful figure in my party, attractive too," he also issued veiled criticism of the former Alaska governor who stepped down from her post half way through her first term.
"It's hard to imagine a circumstance where I would quit, great job. I loved it, but she had her reasons," Romney said before saying he wasn't going to speak negatively about her.
He also called former President George H.W. Bush and former first lady Barbara Bush "remarkable people," in reference to a recent interview on CNN's "Larry King Live" where they spoke well of Romney. During the same interview Mrs. Bush said she thought Palin should "stay in Alaska."
"(We're) blessed with great first ladies, that Barbara Bush, she is one of a long line of terrific first ladies and Michelle Obama also," Romney said. "Both of them could beat you arm wrestling, Barbara Bush, you don't want to mess with her."
Leno asked him a litany of policy questions including his opinion on tax cuts, the WikiLeaks controversy and President Obama.
"He got his grade in November when people went to the polls and his agenda was not their agenda, so they voted no," Romney said. "I think it was a failing couple of years. I hope to see him move to the middle and do what's necessary to get America back."
Romney was very visible on the campaign trail in the three months leading up to the midterm elections, helping campaign for fellow Republicans, but he's been mostly out of the spotlight in the four weeks since the elections.
– CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report
IN my opinion, he is the strongest Republican candidate because he is a true fiscal conservative and knows business. This country NEEDS to be run like a business. With the defict and economy and national debt, Romney should stand a good chance.
His biggest drawback is the Mass health care overhaul. Some say it is working, others say it is failing... who knows at this point. What we do know is people do not want the government to be their health care provider and he has heard that message.
Palin-Romney in 2012 !!!
In my opinion, he is the strongest Republican candidate because he is a true fiscal conservative and knows business. This country NEEDS to be run like a business.
With the defict and economy and national debt, Romney should stand a good chance.
Palin who? About time that we start talking to real GOP candidates.
Romney is by far the best GOP candidate. He is intelligent, experienced, articulate and has a record of success in the public and private arenas.
Palin is not running.... She has the money now and she's enjoying her fame of being a celebrity. Palin knows that she will have to do interviews and the FB posting from her writers will no longer work.
She's not going to run....but hey the con artist has gotten rich... NOW CAN I BE CHOSEN AS A CANDIDATE BECAUSE OF MY GREAT LOOKS... but HAVE NO INTEREST IN POLITICS... It worked for the bimbo...so I know the MEDIA will give another GAL a break who has great looks and plays the victim!
One Republican said about Palin, "you don't jump from doing a reality show to running for president" and "you'd think she would have learned something after going to 5 colleges"; then comparing yourself to Reagan, that's an insult. In fact when Palin spoke at a college in California about Reagan she referenced a college Reagan attended and there is no such college. Palin is increasingly becoming an embarrassment to the Republican party and to the world of presidential contenders.
Romney is a class act. He is the best choice and if the GOP had chosen him last election we might not have been through two years of on the job training with the current President.
Mitt Romney AKA The Fish. He flip flops so much that I can't help but see a fish pulled onto the ice and depeartely trying to get back into the water.
Romney – along with the OTHER RepubliCAN'Ts DO NOT want to BITE the HAND that feeds them – SARAH PALIN!!!! They are being fed with her $$$$$$$$$$$$$ – What's going to happen when they go into DEBATES if she decides to RUN???? What would they say about her then??
MESSY and the RepubliCAN'T men are WEAK!!!
Romney, most voters this time around voted out of FEAR...and the BIMBO helped....but her divisiveness will not work any longer....The FAKE POLITICIAN MUST GO.....So I agree, she signed up for FOX for a reason...IS SHE or IS SHE NOT. SP ego is huge and she will go for it but she doesn't want it because she is in love with $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Please, it is so sexist to have to always include comments about a female politician's "attractiveness" along with other actually relevant comments about her. Seriously Romney, rise above this!
"I hope to see him move to the middle and do what's necessary to get America back."
and will you be meeting him in the middle?
or will you not budge an inch and expect him to move all the way to the RIGHT?
I suspect you are not going to meet him in the middle, where we all need to be right now.
Pretty funny Mitt. As far as moving to the middle, he's already there. He needs to move to the left and stay there.
Mitt Romney in a Mormon. Sarah Palin is a moron.
A failed two years. Romney anyone who believes that GOD appeared to two of your elders about another 5 commandments is a little off! A church that did not accept minorites REALLY, that and your logic is why you will never be President. Two years to clean up the financial mess, look at the facts. Obama's fault is that he was not tough enough with WALL STREET! Romney go back to the great salt lake!
As a Massachusetts resident, I would be very interested to see a race between Obama and Romney. I'm not sure how many people know this, but the "Obamacare" that conservatives are constantly assailing was modeled after the state healthcare legislation that Mitt Romney helped bring to Massachusetts while he was governor. There are many critics on both sides as to whether the state program has worked, but it would be difficult for Romney to argue this point against Obama, so maybe a race between the two would actually get them talking about ways to improve both pieces of legislation, rather than trying to dump reform all together. I'd rather a serious candidate with good ideas run for president than a radical lunatic screaming from a podium, trying to drown out all reasonable discourse. I'm hoping there are some rational conservatives out there willing to take back their party and make this a respectable political process again. I don't always agree with Romney, but at least he's a voice of reason for a party that has seemingly lost its way. I want to respect my president, regardless of political party.
A Romney, please explained how you are so much better. You also bankrupted the state Mass
I'm not wild about Mitt Romney, and I'll be honest–I won't be voting for him if he runs. But, at the very least, I can respect the fact that he can speak intelligently and fairly about policies and public figures, rather than turning to inflammatory vitriol. We need civil discourse in this country, not angry and hyperbolized reactions.
I thought this guy was slightly better than most republicans but I guess I was wrong. He still tried to spin the midterms as a Republican mandate (They were not) and he tried to paint Obama as left of center. Obama is centrist, the GOP is just trying to move the line. They are over reaching and it will bite them in the end.
The GOP will soon start to stand for "Gagging On Palin". We're already suffering from Palin fatigue. She is way too overexposed to successfully run for president.
WOW CNN. Can you get a little more shadier on your headlines???? "Romney takes swing at Palin"??????????? Really??? Please tell me where this "swing" came from? It looked as if you referred to Romeny saying the HE would never quit because he loved being governor? WOW....Really stretching these days...
Sarah Palin has never puiblicly given her real reasons for stepping aside as Governor, although we all know it was so she could exploit her "fame" to make $$$, something she wouldn't have been able to do as Governor.
There was also an FBI probe at the time into her office, which seems to have conveniently gone away.
Palin did say that she would tell everyone "at a later time" why she quit, but never has. It's time someone in the MSM did a little bit of digging.
At last Republicans admitting what a whack job Palin is
After two years of cat and mouse games of which GOPer is running, or not ... suspense ... I suspect that most Americans will yawn their indifferent boredom when fools such as Romney finally admit that, yes, he is running after all.