June 6th, 2013
05:00 AM ET
10 months ago

Mitt Romney to CNN: Rice appointment ‘disappointing’

Park City, Utah (CNN) – As Mitt Romney begins to re-emerge into the public spotlight with a Utah conference, the former Republican presidential nominee told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger he was disappointed with President Obama's pick of UN Ambassador Susan Rice to be his next national security adviser.

"I find that a disappointing appointment on the part of the president. I think what she did was to very seriously mislead the American people about what happened in Benghazi. My greatest concern about the Benghazi events was the fact there was not a rescue effort attempted and that is very troubling to me," Romney said.

You can watch extended excerpts of CNN's interviews with Mitt and Ann Romney on “The Lead” at 4 p.m. ET and “The Situation Room” at 5 p.m. ET and 6 p.m. ET.

He was speaking about Rice, who days after the U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya were attacked on September 11 of last year went on the five Sunday talk shows and blamed the incident on protests in the region instead of calling it a terrorist attack.

In the interview, Romney opened up about what it was like for him and his wife Ann to live in a security bubble during the campaign and the transition to private life which he said he mostly welcomed. Instead of living with around the clock security, he does grocery shopping and pumps his own gas.

"We lived our entire life, if you will, in privacy like most people do. And then there was this extraordinary period of a year or so when we were highly visible and the Secret Service was around you and people are getting everything you want - you’re in your hotel room, you can’t even leave your hotel room. They put exercise equipment in my hotel room so I could exercise because I couldn’t go down to the regular exercise room without being photographed," Romney told Borger. "So you are in that kind of very public bubble for a while and then when it disappears - and it disappears overnight - when you lose the election. It is just gone. Snap it is gone. It is back to where you were before. And that feels right.”

With a full day of activities beginning Thursday, Romney is hosting a multi-day conference in Park City, Utah featuring several prospective 2016 GOP contenders as well as other national leaders with some of the party's major donors also in attendance. Romney hopes this meeting, called "Experts and Enthusiasts," will allow the approximately 200 attendees to discuss the nation's problems and possible solutions in a different forum.

Among those Republicans expected to participate are Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Budget Committee and Romney's running mate last year; Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has made no secret of his interest in a 2016 presidential bid; and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. During the event, Ryan is scheduled to take some participants on a skeet-shooting outing while Paul will play golf with some and Christie will have breakfast with others.

Because Romney hopes to broaden the dialogue, some prominent Democrats also have been invited to participate, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod, who was one of the men instrumental in Romney's defeat last year. Axelrod is expected to discuss his daughter's fight against epilepsy and his family's prominent efforts to combat it.

"What I want to do is bring together people, Republicans and Democrats, businesspeople, philanthropy-oriented people, political folks, and talk about where the country is and say what should we, as a nation, be talking about and working on," Romney told CNN.


Filed under: 2016 • Ann Romney • Chris Christie • David Axelrod • John Hickenlooper • Mitt Romney • Paul Ryan • Rand Paul
soundoff (199 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Didn't Mr. R-money lose the last election? Give me a break CNN. You give these clowns press long, long after they are relevant – that's if they ever were to begin with.

    June 6, 2013 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. courtesy is dead

    What does it hurt that Romney brings people together? What are you afraid of. . . that republicans and democrats would have a civil conversation about the problems in the country? People in America are entitled to their opinions, not everyone voted for the current President (and the election was close). Its time to stop demeaning people personally because you disagree with them. You behave like bullies. . .your courage comes from your anonymity. You should be ashamed.

    June 6, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    while Romney said he find it troubling that no rescue mission was carried out, there was in fact a joint U.S./Libyan military instillation approximately 1 hour away from the consulate and a rescue mission was attempted but it failed to avert the attacks because it took time for the batallian to ready equipment and personnel for the mission.

    During the recent congressional hearings on the Benghazi attacks, Mr. Hicks argued that the U.S. could have blunted the attacks by scrambling military aircrafts from Italy's Aviano Air Base. But while Joint Chiefs Chairman Martin Dempsey testified that such a mission was possible because it would have taken up to 20 hours to scramble aircrafts to benghazi, Mr. Hicks disagreed, said that he believed it would have taken just two to three hours to get there. Well, I remember standing on the banks of the Hudson on 9/11/01 in horror and disbelief when the first jetliner struck the South Tower of the WTC. And though we had military air bases just a stone throw in NY, NJ and VA, our air force was unable to get there on time to intercept the other airliners enroute to their targets.

    June 6, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. GQ

    Romney!, Really?: I think the last person that should use the word "disappointing" is be Romney.

    June 6, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Brandon

    "During the event, Ryan is scheduled to take some participants on a skeet-shooting outing while Paul will play golf with some and Christie will have breakfast with others"
    ..........
    I'm sorry, but that little jab at Christie eating was good, even if unintentional, good.

    June 6, 2013 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. beevee

    Mr. Ropmney is again trying to rip of the rich donors. What does he have up his sleeve? Another try at getting into the WH. Fat chance. Why don't these losers become elderly statesmen and work for both parties in a constructive way instead of behaving like the crooks they are. Godd bye Romney.

    June 6, 2013 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. WIMPY38

    Sour grapes, Mitt, sour grapes!

    June 6, 2013 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Mona

    Fact of the matter is, he ISN'T THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA! Furthermore, who gives a
    rats bottom what he thinks anyway....he has done the American people a great disservice to begin with, so now, he just
    wants to push the knife a little further, a little further, a little further! Go back to Utah or wherever hole you climbed out of
    and let the President do his job, his job, his job!

    June 6, 2013 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  9. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Correction: Chairman Dempsey testified that such a mission was "impossible" because it would have taken up to 20 hours to scramble aircrafts to Benghazi.

    June 6, 2013 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Lisa P.

    courtesy is dead

    What does it hurt that Romney brings people together? What are you afraid of. . . that republicans and democrats would have a civil conversation about the problems in the country? People in America are entitled to their opinions, not everyone voted for the current President (and the election was close). Its time to stop demeaning people personally because you disagree with them. You behave like bullies. . .your courage comes from your anonymity. You should be ashamed.
    June 6, 2013 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    You are very naive. Someone who is really trying to bring people together doesn't start by re-litigating his ill-considered remarks from his last election campaign. Which, fortunately, he lost. Romney is a plutocrat in moderates' clothing. The voters figured that out in November; this is just more of the same.

    When Romney hosts a conference that includes *no* big money Republican donors, features more than a few token "safe" Democrats, includes a healthy number of "the 47%" that he caricatured and mocked, and does not include any ignorant partisan sour grapes and second-guessing of the man who beat him for the Presidency, then I might be willing to believe Romney has good motives at heart. Until then the leopard is still wearing his spots as far as I'm concerned and I will freely say so.

    June 6, 2013 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. ART

    Funny they all have so much to say about Rice, but when we were all misled by Bush and Condalisa no one uttered a word

    June 6, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. Peoples State of Illinois

    @Joey

    Facepalm, people don't listen to Romney because he doesn't know what he is talking about and he's only concerned with 53% of the people in this country
    --------–
    Because the other 47% will vote democrat no matter what. I love the way the left takes statements out of context. Leaving out the part if the 47% voting democrat regardless.

    June 6, 2013 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  13. Woman In California

    I agree with DM and Lynda/Minnesota that Ann Romney's hairdo was hilarious during the concession speech ,but I'll go further with the laughter because it appeared she was also either drunk (and please don't tell me Mormons don't drink), or heavily sedated on drugs. It was the talk and laughter of my office the next day. Truly hysterical.

    June 6, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. poltimum

    "My greatest concern about the Benghazi events was the fact there was not a rescue effort attempted and that is very troubling to me," Romney said. Mr, Romney, read what happened, read the timeline, read the house report, the testimony – read anything abut Benghazi from the over 20 hearings (all available on line) and you will understand what took place. Only 4 died. Everyone else was evacuated and saved within 24 hrs. Rescued in fact.

    June 6, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Nothing like a Party trying to repair their image by trotting out their loser from the last election to once again disparage the twice elected President. So tired of all these Monday morning quarterback Repub critics who don't have any facts to base their nonsensical blather on. Let the President do his job and stop trying to impede him at every turn!! Rice may or may not end up being a great pick but it is the President's choice so deal with it!

    June 6, 2013 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  16. PRussell

    Proceed governor!

    June 6, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  17. poltimum

    By the way – when you have your get together with your buddies, I suggest you talk about ways to bring investment money back to this country, make off shore accounts taxable and share your expertise in tax avoidance with legislators to lose loopholes.

    June 6, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    @j0hx – "Mitt, you had your chance to make a big deal out of Benghazi and other criminal aspects of this administration at the debates and at numerous other times during your campaign. You chose not to for whatever reasons that remain unclear to your conservative supporters. Scurry off to your wealthy irrelevance now please thanks"
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    You must have missed the 2nd debate where Mitt was made out to be a fool by the President over the Benghazi thing. Got news for you, even if Rice & others in the Administration told us right off it was Al Queda that did the attacks, President Obama still would have won. He was the better candidate hands down – remember the 47% speach???

    June 6, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. Wake up People!

    Anybody want to wager with me that once all of these "scandals" blow over and the American people realize the true motives behind them, and finally call them out for holding the country hostage, who will be the first among them to blame Obama and his corrupt Chicago thugs for the ratings dropping even lower?
    Forget that they have basically given the country the finger because they are mad that we reelected President Obama. They have done absolutely nothing to move us forward, just turning over rocks looking for treasure. Pathetic.

    June 6, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    @TJW – One thing Mr.Romney would of had a focus on if elected, would of been JOBS and the economy, a lost opportunity, a Good Man.
    __________________________________
    Yeah, you're probably right in that the Repub House would push a jobs bill through under a Repub President, but they refuse to do so under this President since all they want to do is make him fail. President Obama has had a jobs bill out for years now and the House refuses to vote on it. Get real – Congress is the problem here, not the President.

    June 6, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. Boo

    CNN – why are you constantly reporting on this guy? HE LOST THE ELECTION. Noone cares!!! STOP TRYING TO CREATE NEWS!!!!!!

    June 6, 2013 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Woman In California

    Seriously, when Willard and Ann speak they remind me of the Shirley Temple Fan Club . Neither is relevant anymore and both were short lived.

    June 6, 2013 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. Betty

    I agree with the person that said that he would sound genuine if he actually did something to help the poor. Mitt thinks he's entitled to the millions that he writes off of his taxes each year. Mitt needs to disappear. He needs to take his millions and buy some happiness for himself. Go somewhere and built habitat homes or work in a soup kitchen please. Stop crying because your money could not buy you the election. You only make yourself look worse. You beginning to act like Sarah Palin. He actually is pretending that he didn't mean the 47% remark. He knew exactly what he was talking about. He would be more of a man if he admitted that although initially he felt that way about poor people, his eyes have been opened. It's pathetic to keep lying about it. You said it. You meant it. Now own it. This is going to go down with you in history. As a matter of fact, it will be the legacy for your children and grandchildren.

    June 6, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Wake up People!

    Actually Boo, they care. They're still crying in their Cheerios.........

    June 6, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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