Washington (CNN) – In his first appearance on a Sunday political news show since March 2010, Mitt Romney sought to portray himself as a responsible, sober and even occasionally emotional candidate who could go toe-to-toe with President Barack Obama.
The former Massachusetts governor continued his recent trend of opening up about his personal history, speaking about his wife, Ann, and her struggles with multiple sclerosis.
"I'm happy in life as long as I've got my soul mate with me," Romney said, calling his wife's diagnosis a "really difficult" time.
Romney said the family looked into installing an elevator in their house and purchasing a wheelchair for Mrs. Romney, whose disease is now in remission.
"I like cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches," he recounted telling his wife, who struggled to continue household tasks she had previously enjoyed. "We can do fine with that as long as we have each other."
The highly-anticipated sit-down interview on "Fox News Sunday" had been taped Saturday in South Carolina and sparked few fireworks.
Romney acknowledged he had done quite well for himself financially while working for private equity firm Bain Capital, and said he expected Democrats to use a photograph from the 1980s of him and his colleagues with money spilling out of their pockets.
"We posed for a picture just celebrating the fact that we'd raised a lot of money, and then we hoped to be able to return it with a good return," he said. "But I know they'll use it. I know that. It'll be fun."
He pointed to Obama's personal wealth and said he would defend himself against Democrats by citing his successes in and knowledge of the private sector.
Romney said Obama's policies had hurt the country economically and said the president was not a leader.
"Leaders actually spend time meeting with people on the other side of the aisle, understand their needs, understand their concerns, get their input and look for some way to find common ground," Romney said. "And this president, instead, has gone to the people and attacked. It's been a constant attack either against Republicans or against people in the business world or whatever group he somehow feels is opposed to his agenda."
The candidate kept up his attacks on his chief Republican opponent, twice calling Newt Gingrich an "unreliable" conservative and doubling down on his characterization of the former House speaker as "zany."
"I don't think you would call mirrors in space to light highways at night particularly practical, or a lunar colony a practical idea, not at a stage like this," Romney said.
Romney also said he was glad to see U.S. troops come home from Iraq, but disagreed with Obama for drawing down forces in the country "in a precipitous way."
He would not say whether he would consider sending troops back into the country, but cited a "high threshold" he said was necessary before deploying the country's military.