June 6th, 2013
05:00 AM ET
2 years 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. Colorado

    Well, those remarks are not very presidential.

    June 6, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  2. Connie Lingus

    Who cares what Mitt Romney says or does, he is perhaps the most irrelevant ez-contender in history!! In fact if he disapproves of Susan Rice then I am pretty sure Obama made a great choice!

    June 6, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  3. Ribidit

    Your run for POTUS was "very troubling to me." ...and based on the outcome, I would have to say the majority of Americans found it equally troubling....now, go back in your bubble and while shaving in the morning you can sing "Hail to the Chief" in your mirror while Tagg accompanies you on the piano....

    June 6, 2013 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  4. YL

    I believe Mitt Romney is a good guy but he is just not that sharp and clever to me. There are things that he just doesn't get it when everyone else sees clearly. He believes so much in himself that even when we tell him what his problem is, he continues say his own things. I feel sorry for hm. I mean he looks kind but just not very sharp.

    June 6, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  5. U.S. Citizen

    We need someone that will be with us for the long haul in restoring our Individual Liberty, Republic, and not just show up because they want to be President.

    June 6, 2013 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  6. ARMYCSM

    I thought you and mihell backman road out together on the same rail...

    June 6, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  7. matthewsolan

    Let me get this straight. Condi Rice goes on the talk shows and says Iraq has WMDs (false) and then gets named Secretary of State and the GOP says NOTHING about that. In their minds that is okay. But this Rice appointment is an outrage? Please explain.

    June 6, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  8. marcohern

    Reporter: "Mr. President! Do you have any response to Mitt's comments?"

    Obama: "You askin' me about Romney? I feel bad for you, son! I got 99 problems but Mitt ain't one!"

    June 6, 2013 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  9. Pat jones

    The comments are here are so funny, acting like you won something. What did you win exactly? Cost of living is still going up and up while wages decrease, no full time work just part time. They now expect health insurance premiums to increase by 40-60% for the average healthy adult in January 2014 when Obamacare goes into full effect. They still expect social security and medicare to run out in 20 years. We are still giving money away to foreign countries left and right while the IRS spends 60 million on unnecessary conferences staying in luxury hotels while a large percentage of the national is still struggling on food stamps. Not to mention all the stimulus money we dumped into green companies that are now filing for bankruptcy.

    All this administration has proved so far is that large government does not work. In large government the budgets and inter-workings of all the agencies are so broad that the president and his right hand men/women can't possibly keep up with knowing anything that goes on in their agencies. So their answer to everything has been "we didn't know' my bad.

    But yes, congrats you win!!! Go BIG GOVERNMENT it just makes sense.

    June 6, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    @Dominican mama: One of my most cherished moments in politics was the vivid image of an Ann Romney being dragged onto the stage by her husband, looking disheveled, hair in disarray, Bachman-like eyes glassy and teary whilst he delivered the concession speech that he never wrote.
    -------------

    It was mine as well. Her hair? It was a fabulous sight to behold. I never laughed so hard in my life. I also remember a comment you made a long while back where you stated that Ann Romney ruled the roost, including forcing Mitt to run for President. It seems as if this little media blitz is her doing as well. Apparently she is having a really hard time accepting that all the money and all the lies didn't amount to squat to the millions of us who actually do work outside the home, raise our children, and know a bs story when we see it.

    But, hey. Women of America: hear ye, hear ye ... Mr. Mittens (and Ann) love you. Really LOVE you.

    June 6, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  11. j0nx

    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.

    June 6, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  12. Michael

    Has Mittens considered the possibility that Rice was speaking from talking points she was provided? I doubt seriously that Rice EVER intended to mislead anybody. More information became available AFTER Rice spoke with Congress. Those that insist on a Witch Hunt are barking up the wrong tree.

    June 6, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  13. judith

    Oh God, will Mitt please get over himself? The pubic couldn't stand him and Queen Ann and weren't going to fork over the keys to the White House just because they thought it was "their turn." I have never seen a political candidates as totally tone deaf and clueless as Romney.

    June 6, 2013 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. jamin0

    who cares what this guy thinks...

    June 6, 2013 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  15. dw

    Romney was not shellacked or beat in a landslide. It was a very close election in popular vote. A landslide is normally claimed with a margin of 10% of more and it was less than 2%). Republicans are not dead. They still control the house and many states. What party is Obama in? I know it can't be Democrats as tehy lost three straight presidential in 80, 84 and 88 (and actually had lost 5 of 6 elections), so teh Democrat party had to have fully died.

    June 6, 2013 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. tstorm92

    Aw, Mitens, we're sorry you don't approve! Are the trees still "just the right hieght"?

    June 6, 2013 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  17. Kay Es.

    Before making these comments, he must show his tax returns.

    June 6, 2013 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  18. Skeptic

    Mitt Romney? People still care what he has to say?

    June 6, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. pbtad

    It pains me to say this, but can't he be more like George W. Bush? Just fade away into the sunset.

    Bush has the decency to keep his opinions to himself and, since he was actually the President, they is a chance those opinions might actually be based on experience. Mitt never made it that far, so his opinion counts even less.

    Just go away already. You lost.

    June 6, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. kevin

    Thank God this guy is not our President! How would he have handled..Boston? War with Russia probably.

    June 6, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. rs

    No, Mr. Romney, not caving in to a Republican witch hunt is not "disappointing", but I'll tell you what is:

    That a party to which I used to count myself as amember selects a vacuous plutocratic candidate like yourself. One that hates the poor, and criticises anyone taking government money-except of course big business. Your party has no plan, no platform, just zenophobia, and hatred for the rights of minorities and women, and really only wants to help and rule for the 1%. The rest of us it seems are only here to work as cheaply for business as possible or be fodder for you next ill-advised foreign adventure.

    No sir, you are not a Republican, and today's party is not the party of Republicans I belonged to in the 1970s.Your party today is fueled by a headly blend of paranoia, fear and lies- why you yourself lied about the Jeep company during the election- and many other things including you many positions on social issues. You fell victim to the Right-wing echo chamber, and apparently still believe you won the election (or should have), and that Benghazi actually still contains thet "smoking gun" with which your party can try to take down another sitting President- just for your gamesmanship.
    No, sir-YOU and YOUR PARTY- that's disappointment!

    June 6, 2013 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. Michele

    Hey CNN...........nobody cares what this LOSER has to say. He does not even represent a true American.......he is a 1% taker.

    June 6, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  23. LouAZ

    What I said is not what I believe. – Mitt Romney FOX News interview 3-3-13.

    June 6, 2013 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. Rudy NYC

    Hey, Governer. America noticed that your youngest son is a birther when he cracked a bad joke on the campaign trail. Like father, like son. America noticed your comment in the video that should any terrorist incident occur that Republicans should make a political issue of it, which is exaclty what was done with Benghazi.

    America noticed that you initially declined to reveal ANY tax returns, but only did so when your own colleagues hammered you on your hypocrisy. America noticed the undeclared deductions on your returns, just so that you could re-file them this year and reduce your already low tax rate by a few more percentage points. America noticed that you made a fool of yourself on your trip to England last summer.

    America noticed that you are a salesman, not a statesman, Mitt.

    June 6, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  25. abby1

    If Mitt misses the "security bubble", he has enough money to hire 24 hour guards and servants.

    June 6, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8