Romney weighs in on Washington controversies
May 18th, 2013
11:36 AM ET
2 years 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. Monomachos

    Watching him on Leno it was clear that he would have been a MUCH better president than Obama is. Obama's second term is starting out with one disaster after another. Even Chris Mathews is stating what many already knew – Obama loves to campaign and loves the limelight, but does not like the negotiating and meetings that make up so much of the job. For all you haters – Leno asked Mitt to be on the show. If you didn't want to watch – change the channel. A very successful leader who knows how to get things done is what we needed and did not elect and your antagonism stems in part from the fact that you know it's true.

    May 19, 2013 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  2. RandyKC

    Is Mitt still relevant?
    I'm not a fan of a poor loser continually taking pot shots at the POTUS. It makes him sound like a Republican.

    May 19, 2013 01:38 am at 1:38 am |
  3. Gary

    Mitt, come save us!!
    (eye roll)

    May 19, 2013 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
  4. Summer

    Clearly he is not over it – and never will be. Loser!

    May 19, 2013 02:32 am at 2:32 am |
  5. helenecha

    When all the members working with Obama are the supporters of the president, Hillary Clinton is an exception. Well, let me call her a fan of the President.

    May 19, 2013 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  6. J.V.Hodgson

    If Mitt Romney had " got over his loss to Obama as he says" he would not be making these comments now.
    A&P this is a national security matter and praise to him he ineffect says he cannot comment.
    IRS/Benghazi then similar issues arise Like it or not re IRS would republicans be saying the " bucks stop here = president of course not the losers problem right or wrong.
    Benghazi he has no access to the Classified information here either... his views and comments are useless.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    May 19, 2013 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  7. Peter

    Hey Mitt, we the American people "didn't care for you" so not sure why you're sharing your oh-so-wise opinion on Obama's culpability (before saying, correctly, that it's too early to draw conclusions) ... he should just count himself lucky that he wasn't audited, tax dodger.

    May 19, 2013 04:06 am at 4:06 am |
  8. Rebelkay

    THERE are NO MORMONS on welfare EVER... The church takes care of its own people in need with food, housing, clothes, etc. Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, something Obama will NEVER be. Too bad all you OBAMA lovers who enjoy the tax payer FREEBIES can't see the hand in front of your face because it's full of phones, food and taxpayer goodies!

    May 19, 2013 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  9. shawn l

    Glad Mitt is a has been. Can;t even imagine how terrible of shape we would be in if the republicans controlled things for the last 5 years.

    May 19, 2013 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  10. Jed

    Wow... Look at all you Romney haters! Obama and his administration are full of scandals and all you can do is attack Romney. While your President continues down his corrupt and destructive path, you continue to bag on Romney... Real smart idiots!

    May 19, 2013 05:30 am at 5:30 am |
  11. Michael S.

    What a crock. North Korea did not become a problem under Obama, Iran did not become a problem under Obama. Did attacks on embassies start under Obama? No. Did the various parts and departments of the government always work so very well before now? This is all a part of a grand scheme of lies and distortions designed to keep the American people distracted from the fact that the GOP has stopped doing the work of the People. They take contributions and swim in bribes but they do NOTHING in the way of real public interest efforts.

    May 19, 2013 05:45 am at 5:45 am |
  12. shu

    Give me a break. What Romney thinks is a news? Let's proper channel conduct the investigation and even it was found
    that Obama administration was wrong here I am not ready to hand the Republic party gold medal. The truth is both parties
    are equally corrupt.

    May 19, 2013 06:38 am at 6:38 am |
  13. Jacee

    Now that we see the liar that Obama has turned out to be, I wish Mit would have one.

    May 19, 2013 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  14. babooph

    What are the thoughts of the other guys wearing magic undies who think they are becomming Gods...?And the guys in the tin foil hats...

    May 19, 2013 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  15. babooph

    Should we also get input from others wearing magic undies & becomming Gods & the guys in the tin foil hats....?

    May 19, 2013 07:35 am at 7:35 am |
  16. michael wrightson

    I voted for the mormon not the kenyan muslim, watch the video America and wake up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 19, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  17. Hanksalot1

    This from the guy who wouldn't release his tax records when he ran against Onama. Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?

    May 19, 2013 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  18. jim atmad

    Yeah, because America is clamoring for words of wisdom from a tax-dodging job outsourcer.

    C'mon, GOP, can't you keep this guy under a rock somewhere?

    Do you HAVE to keep reminding us who it is that the Republican Party exists to serve?

    May 19, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  19. jim atmad

    “The buck stops at the president's desk" Romney said. Boy, thats a good one coming from a Republican.

    Has our most recent president ever taken responsibility for lying us into a war that cost thousands of American lives, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, and trillions of dollars? Has he taken responsibility for the economic disaster that was a result of his deliberate neglect and malfeasance?

    Even if every Republican lie about Barack Obama was true, it wouldn't amount to a pimple on the butt of the misdeeds of his predecessor.

    I always said that we could solve our energy problems if we could find out what kind of friction-proofer they made GW Bush's desk out of.

    Because you couldn't get a buck to stop on GW Bush's desk with a pound of nails and a bucket of super glue.

    May 19, 2013 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  20. So sick of it

    Mittens....mittens. You lost...now get lost.

    May 19, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  21. askdavey

    in 2014 and 2016 america should just remember the 47% comment,this was not just mitt saying this, the gop believes this lie to be truth, the people that heard this comment did not flinch an eye,the poem on the the base of the statue of liberty will be removed if we ever let the gop have thier say again, personly i believe the bush years will be the last years the gop will hold the potus job. thier red country disticts will hold , but not for long as they outsource american jobs, and minoritys move in these districts and bring the american democrcy to these districts, mitts 47% comment was nothing realy,it was truth how the gop realy feels about nearly half this country, and now here comes an immagrant from fla. who is going to tell all the fellow latinos that we the gop now love you, even though your part of the countrys 47%,after the election we'll deport you and your faamily, but we rather have you self deport yourselves,1 more thing.......are you for real RAND......realy are you ?

    May 19, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  22. dzze

    lol, "sell the horse". A hard learned lesson!

    May 19, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  23. Moochie

    So after reading this and not seeing the interview- it is comments made by a guy who lost an election. Nothing more. But his questions are fair- Sweetwilli- Ed Fl, Name Uche Agonsi- it's okay to mislead the American public about the murder of an Ambassador? It's okay to not send in help when it was close? It was okay to target certain groups of tax payers? I didn't vote for Mitt- but I have lost faith and hope with the man I did elect and am very concerned about how things transpired and what appears to be cover ups by the administration.

    May 19, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  24. ryan

    The Obama administration is more corrupt and more of a danger to the American public than Hitler was to all of Europe.

    May 19, 2013 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
  25. Marie MD

    @catmandew – you realize that your repugs are the ones obstructing justice and getting absolutely nothing done in congress, right? I guess not.
    Just to point something out to you . . . . Benghazi. It's been eight months and there is NOTHING to be learned or anything new to investigate but your tea trolls continue the investigation with the car thief/illegal gun owner at the helm.
    Your house repugs have voted against the law of the land, Obamacare, 37 times!!! Who do you think is paying for their waste of time? Aliens from outer space? No, we, the tax payers. Maybe the tea trolls and their flake leader don't see that as money down the drain.

    May 19, 2013 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
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