Romney weighs in on Washington controversies
May 18th, 2013
11:36 AM ET
1 year ago

Romney weighs in on Washington controversies

(CNN) – Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on Friday and weighed in on the barrage of controversies plaguing the White House in recent weeks.

The former Massachusetts governor said he's “over” the election but is "not a fan of the president." He said a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the Obama administration and the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

"There are really two concerns with regards to the IRS story. One is they have admitted now that they did target conservative groups for extra scrutiny as those groups were looking to find a tax-except status,” Romney said. “That obviously is a violation of the very fundamental trust that we have that the IRS does not pursue a political agenda.

“The buck stops at the president's desk," he said, and he questioned whether individuals who donated to Republicans or his campaign during the election were targeted specifically by the IRS.

Regarding the Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records, Romney said it was premature to draw conclusions.

"I think a lot of people are concerned that the First Amendment is being challenged in some way when the Justice Department subpoenas phone records of some 20 different reporters over some period of time. And they're looking for leaks of classified information. And clearly that's something which is alarming to some folks."

Romney repeated attack lines he used on the campaign trail last year over the administration's handling of the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"American people were misled as to what happened," Romney said, referring to discredited talking points UN Ambassador Susan Rice conveyed on television news programs saying that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam film rather than a premeditated assault.

"That's a real concern,” Romney said, “and the fact is that it's been very difficult to pull out over the ensuing months."

Romney said another concern was that no effort was made to rescue the Americans caught in the attack last year.

Asked if this would hurt a hypothetical presidential campaign in 2016 for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Romney said there would be "careful" scrutiny into her record working for the Obama administration.

Pivoting to the White House, Romney said Obama's "largest legacy of concern or failure" is the ongoing issues in places like North Korea and Iran.

Losing the election was tough, Romney said, but it’s nothing compared to other challenges in life. He pointed to the benefits of spending time with his sons, 22 grandchildren, and his wife Ann, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"This is something you get over pretty quickly," he said of losing the election.

As far as advice for future Republican presidential candidates, Romney said "get used to eating Iowa corndogs" and later added, "sell the horse."


Filed under: 2013 • IRS • Jay Leno • Libya • Mitt Romney • Obama administration • Washington D.C.
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Catmandew

    Mitt it is too bad you lost. I think all these scandals are indictive of major power abuse by the current President. If you had won the buck would have stopped with you, but current president is magically excluded from that rule. Now we will have another 6 or 8 months of waste by the administration whining about we didn't do that DOJ did or IRS did or DOS did. And the president will lie and say he didn't know about it and laugh all the way to the bank!

    May 18, 2013 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    He needs to go on SNL!!!

    May 18, 2013 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  3. Pk duster

    Both mittens and his wife are so phony go on dave lettermans show if they have the guts

    May 18, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. don in albuquerque

    Does anybody really care what this Moron thinks. Oh thats right. He doesn't.

    May 18, 2013 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  5. Zach

    No one cares about Mitt Romney opinion on things in Washington. He lost the 2012 election. Give it up already. He old news.

    May 18, 2013 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. Tampa Tim

    Did anyone point out that 52% of America was not a fan of Mittens.

    May 18, 2013 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Woman In California

    Listen LOSER no one cares (outside of the Mormons on your welfare roll), what you think about anything. Why don't you let us see into those IRS tax records you so carefully TRIED to conceal from the American people? Besides, you certainly weren't complaining about the IRS when they offered you an amnesty were you?

    This guy is so worthless in his opinions, thoughts and lies its not even a story. Go away Willard, far away and take that $ ush you married with you.

    May 18, 2013 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. MB

    Romney... you lost. Please go back under your rock...

    May 18, 2013 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  9. roro

    Go home, Romney, to one of your many houses. You lost.

    May 18, 2013 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. John the Historian

    This Republican flip flip should forget these fishing expeditions of his party. One will never forget his 47 percent comment, his "I don't worry about the poor", his corporations are people, why don't they have open windows on planes, and his foreign bank accounts. This mormon cult follower with his fictious gold tablet, planet-heaven kolob, archangel moroni, polygamy, rapist con man Joseph Smith and murderer Brigham Young. So glad this outsourcer is not President.

    May 18, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Name Uche Agonsi

    Romney political faith stinks.....he is simply a looser.... & when once a looser, you are always a looser.

    May 18, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  12. ED FL

    Is it time again for the GOP clown to be on stage again.Romney is the GOP clown because they are the only REAL dummies that understand his mumbo jumbo.This is the reason America would never vote for him . The term TURKEY for Americas dummies is a Romney trademark.

    May 18, 2013 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. sweetwilli

    Mitt again shows a total lack of grace. If he is not running, he should be able to show a hint of objectivity. Barack has so much more class. Money can not buy the most important things in life.

    May 18, 2013 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. Big Boid

    Sell the horse, but keep the private jet and car elevator. Good advice, Willard.

    May 18, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Pablo695

    Thank goodness the American public said NO to Mittens. He would have given tax-exempt status to all millionaires!!!

    May 18, 2013 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  16. Brad Olsen

    A special counsel should be appointed to investigate his tax rates . He's a rich right wing jerk who thinks the government should operate for the rich , by the rich.

    May 18, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  17. bkgrandma

    He is the typical "Good Republican". Take any oppetunity you ger to bash President Obama because he has proven he cares more about the middle class in this country than all the Republicans put together do. Romney is a loser and hopefully come November 2014 many more Republican politicians will join him in retirement.

    May 18, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  18. d

    Down with the IRSS.

    May 18, 2013 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. criskat

    It's too bad this guy didn't win. He would have been leaps and bounds better than the Obamanation we have in the White House today.

    May 18, 2013 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. criskat

    It's too bad we have to deal with bumbling Obama for another 4 years. What a pathetic excuse of a president.

    May 18, 2013 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. itengineer

    The Press is circling the wagons around Obama and his administration. You just have to look here about the scandals. Nothing of course. They hope all the scandals will just go away and blame whatever happens on republicans. The Press is in the bag for Obama.

    May 18, 2013 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  22. Gina

    Let's have two white candidates again in the 2016 election so the blacks can go back to having nothing to do on election day.

    May 18, 2013 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. Larry L

    @Catmandew

    Mitt it is too bad you lost. I think all these scandals are indictive of major power abuse by the current President. If you had won the buck would have stopped with you, but current president is magically excluded from that rule.
    ========================
    These scandals are indictive of a vindictive and obstructive Republican Party dedicated to attacking the President throughout his 8 years. Do you honestly believe the President should accept responsibility for every level of activity at every one of the Federal Agencies? Really? Every leader in every major organization would resign every day if that ridiculous concept was reality. You know the guy in charge at the time was appointed by Republicans?

    What would YOU do if you were President and the Senate opposition filibustered everything – even things they propose themselves. What if the House only sent bills to the Congress filled with toxic political rhetoric loyal only to right-wing PACs – yet took no actions to create jobs, to help the middle-class, or the help the poor? What if the opposition used every committee to expand operational crisis scenarios into political events – using inflamatory languge, gross distortions, and carefully-worded lies? Would you just sit and wait for your term to expire – rolling over to right-wing radicals and the hate media?

    A President has five tools – the Congress, Executive Agencies, responsibilities as Commander-In-Chief, the Supreme Court and "bully pulpit". The obstructive Congress is useless. The Court is controlled by right-wingers who define the law as "they wish it could be". President Obama is solving problems with the other three tools.

    May 18, 2013 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain

    It's wrong to target these groups, but you have to admit, profiling them made sense. So many of these groups – including big names, like Karl Rove's American Crossroads – classify themselves as 501(c)4 organizations, which are tax-exempt and are defined as "Civic Leagues, Social Welfare Organizations and Local Associations of Employees."

    In reality, they are super PACs, designed to funnel tax-exempt money to candidates and campaigns. For example, in the 2012 election cycle (through November 26, 2013), here are the biggest donors to American Crossroads:

    Harold Simmons, Contran Corp. ($20.5 million)
    Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corp. ($11.5 million)
    Miriam Adelson, Adelson Drug Clinic ($11.5 million)
    Bob Perry, Perry Homes ($8.5 million)
    Robert Rowling, TRT Holdings, Inc. ($3.5 million)
    Weaver Holdings, Inc. ($3.4 million)

    Where's all the outrage from Mittens about THIS?

    My bad: These are the folks who wasted their money on his campaign ...

    May 18, 2013 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    @Tampa Tim: "Did anyone point out that 52% of America was not a fan of Mittens."

    Well, as the GOP has recently proven yet again by not allowing gun legislation that 90% of Americans favor to even come up for a vote, it wouldn't matter to point out to Mittens that a majority of America are not his fans.

    Like all GOPers, he only cares about the NRA, the evangelicals and their Dark Ages social policies and the 1% who fund them.

    May 18, 2013 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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