Romney: 'My heart said we were going to win'
March 3rd, 2013
01:22 PM ET
5 years ago

Romney: 'My heart said we were going to win'

(CNN) – Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney looked back to the moment on election night that he knew he had lost.

"It was a slow recognition, until ultimately when the Ohio numbers began coming in and they were disappointing, I said, 'Look, this looks like we lost.' Wasn't certain. Some people said 'Oh, look, if this number comes in you could win,' but by 8 or 9 o'clock it was pretty clear that we were not going to win."

In his first interview since the 2012 election, Romney reflected on his second bid for the presidency and what happened on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

"I think we were convinced we would win. We saw that the polls were very close, but we knew that the energy and passion was with our voters. My heart said we were going to win," Romney said Thursday in an interview that aired on "Fox News Sunday."

He pointed to the exit poll data from Florida as his first sign that it would become a long night. The data suggested a closer race than expected in a state that he thought would go solidly red.

President Barack Obama ended up winning the state by just under 75,000 votes, a victory that was called four days after the election.

Romney said he doesn't look back at the campaign with anger or regret.

"You look back at the campaign and say, 'OK, what did the president do well?' And you acknowledge that his campaign did a number of things very effectively. Of course you rehearse all the mistakes that you made, and I went through a number of my mistakes, I'm sure. Then you think about the things that were out of your control. But you move on. I don't spend my life looking back," said Romney.

The former Massachusetts governor did mention that there were a number of factors that made a victory on election night more of a challenge, including a long primary season plagued by numerous attacks from fellow GOP candidates that Romney said were "not on the mark;" the infamous 47% comment taped at a private function in Florida; and the loss of momentum when Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast a week before the election.

Describing how he would rate himself as a presidential candidate, he said with a smile, "I did better this time than I did the time before, and I won't get a third chance. I'm not doing it again."

Also see:

Back on the attack: Romney hits Obama for spending cuts

Romney: Campaign was a 'roller coaster'

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. Morecattlethanhat

    Your heart told you one thing, and your a– still got defeated. Seems to be a personal problem.

    March 3, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. Mike Conley

    Horsefeathers. He was shocked that he lost. And the reason why is because he and his team relied on Fox News. And Fox invented a parallel universe in which Romney was a slam dunk. That's also why Fox was shocked – they believed their own propaganda.

    March 3, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  3. FrankinSD

    Oh, don't give up yet MIttens. You know what they say. Dope springs eternal.

    March 3, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  4. dave

    Listening to your heart rather than your head is exactly why swing voters ran away. As for Florida, you really should have had your brother rig the vote for you in that state, would have made all the difference for you.

    March 3, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  5. John De Salvio

    He claims his 47% statement was misinterpreted, because when you are in a private group you don't have a carefully written speech meant for the general public. No, you actually tend to speak what you mean; the truth about how you feel. Mitt, you lost because we, the "little people" who sponge off the government,can't relate to you, either.

    March 3, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  6. Domenic

    And you didn't so get over it!

    March 3, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. ML Clark

    I don't care what his "heart" says - his heart also said that 47% of Americans don't count. He's a rich kid who never had to work a genuine job in his life, which is why he calls the rest of us moochers - he's seeing himself and repeating what his father said to him. I will NEVER vote for a Republican - of any kind - I don't care how they dress them up. And I was a real admirer of John McCain, back when he had a spine and stood up against the GOP Bush league.

    March 3, 2013 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. sifto

    I was very sad watching what could have been..a Pres who actually cares about America.....

    March 3, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  9. Brian

    Well, the good news here: "CNN reports Romney will never run for President again."

    I wish him well, and no one should cry for him, but doubling down on George W. Bush economics was not what America needs right now. Now if we can just show those pesky House members the door we might actually get back to a balanced budget.

    Effect meaningful entitlement reform, and plug the tax loopholes. Invest in R&D and infrastructure.

    March 3, 2013 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. RG

    Nonsense. It was pretty clear in the final week he was going to lose. When compared to all of the other polls, Rasmussen and Gallop consistently delivered outlying results. Why Romney's people (or Fox News, for that matter) never realized this is beyond all reasonable understanding. With willful blindness on that scale, Romney's presidency would have been led to ruin.

    March 3, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  11. RomneyWho

    Romney underestimated the wisdom and the intelligence of the people who will's the real power and that's the united moral minority who collectively out numbered the blind extreme and radical white majority who, to be honest, really didn't like Romney . . . 😦

    March 3, 2013 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Tony

    Republican believe what they want to believe. That is why they did not know that they were losing until Election Day, when even Fox News had to report facts.

    March 3, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. ST

    Thanks god that people were wise enough and understood this man was not for the job. Romney, you do not win by not winning first the trust of people. They requested your Tax Returns and you refused. You don't see the crowd which come to rallies and think now I am the winner. Some do come to hear and not necessarily to vote for the candidate. You could have asked John Kerry, McCain, Sarah they thought the same. Now its time to disappear. Your time came and went.

    March 3, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. rs

    Sorry, Mr. Romney, THAT wasn't your heart you were hearing, it was the paranoid Republican pollsters who thought you would win. The rest of us (you know, the 47%), not so much.

    March 3, 2013 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. rparker2757

    ...please Mitt you're embarrassing yourself– you lost because your party is run by 'lunatics' and is a repository for the dregs of society, fundamentally paranoid and mentally unhealthy– and you bought right in, unable to transcend it by reaching 'paranoia escape velocity' ... alienating the many, in favor of the few.

    March 3, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. vic , nashville ,tn

    Did American's hearts say that? NO

    March 3, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Ancient Texan

    $200 million spent on untrue negative ads, early in the primaries by the Obama administration, and Romney's not slapping down those ads was the deciding factor in his defeat.

    March 3, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  18. Catmandew

    Mitt you should have won but telling the truth to the people while your opponent is busy lieing to everyone promising the moon to them. Being honest doesn't always work Obama is a master campaigner and a poor poor leader as we now know!

    March 3, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  19. Jamie L.T.

    That's weird... I thought Tea-Republicans don't have hearts.

    March 3, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  20. Woman In California

    How about voter suppression?
    Most people didn't like the "little" fact you and your party tried despearately to take away their votes.

    How about suggesting employers fire their employees if they vote for the president?
    Most people (including myself), didn't like that "much" either.

    How about the fact you said we were envious of your wealth?
    Again, not very smart since most people want to prosper in this country and had you not gotten your money through unethical means, would have looked to you as a role model.

    How about your angry wife suggesting we should be glad/honored you were willing to run for president (to "save" us)?
    Nothing could be further from the truth. Only a foolish woman would say something that stupid.

    There were many reasons you lost and thank God for that, but the biggest reason you lost was because of you. You're a selfish, greedy, lying user whose never done anything for this country except take from it. Just look in the mirror Willard and quit making excuses.

    Now please leave us alone.
    Thank you.

    March 3, 2013 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. poopmeister

    His heart told him he was going to win....he should have listened to his brain telling him he had no chance, along with all the credible polls. He should have ran more moderate from the start but that's the Republican have to cater to the base during the primaries and the base consists of selfish non-Americans.

    March 3, 2013 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  22. GOP = Greed Over People

    The only polls that were "close" were the incompetent ones that over sampled us white folks, i.e. Gallup.

    Here were your top 3 mistakes:

    1. Refusing to show tax returns and admitting that there were facts in them that would be used against you. It came across as being the deceiving cretin that you really are. That condescending skirt you are married to, little Ann "Marie" did not help your case, with her arrogant "you people have seen enough" comment. ALWAYS, bad form to talk down to folks, when you need those same people's votes to achieve the office you seek.

    2. Pegging 47% of America as slackers, just solidified the picture team Obama was painting of the baggers and the GOP and how the GOP only favors the rich or as we outside the "Fox bubble" like to refer to it as - REALITY! Also, see item 1 above about arrogance and condescension when asking folks for their vote.

    3. "Retroactively retiring" form Bain, the vulture capitalist firm. This is my personal favorite, I still giggle when I think how ludicrous such a statement sounded to those of us grounded in REALITY, and how really stupid the Robme team sounded when trying to get the general population to bite on the same the bait as the bagger base. Also, thinking the general population is as ignorant and racist as the knuckle dragging Southern segment of the GOP, is insulting to those you are wooing to vote for you. Again, I must refer you to item 1.

    Of course, Lyin' Ryan was not a stellar pick for many reasons and that whole "trust us, we will explain the details when elected" sort of rang a bit hollow, especially, coming from a man hiding his tax returns.

    So, you see, I could go on, but not until I am a paid advisor, after all, I have told you more truth than Rove and he got paid 500 million bucks!

    March 3, 2013 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Yanni

    Thank God it didn't happen because he was a nightmare we wake up from. Thinking the fact that he could have been is very scary.

    March 3, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. A woman from New York

    And we are happy your not running either. We have had enough of you from the last election. Don't know why you are even news. Go away.......for good

    March 3, 2013 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. never to vote republican again

    The Repubs live in their own make believe world.

    March 3, 2013 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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