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. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    How many times did Mitt Romney run for President and lose? Remember, when Ann Romney said something similar to Mitt never fails?

    June 6, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. Kenneth the VI of Minneapolis

    Once a flip flipper always a flip flopper. Remember Election 2012 when Romney was hell bent on dividing the nation? Now, all of a sudden, he wants to bring people together. Can't make this stuff up.

    June 6, 2013 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. asm_ith

    It's pretty silly to say that she "very seriously mislead the American people about what happened in Benghazi" when all she was doing was conveying talking points given to her by the CIA. Moreover, what were the results of her talking points? Nothing, unlike all the statements that came out of numerous Bush administration officials, including the President, VP, National Security Adviser, Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State. Their led us into a war, costing 4000 American lives, tens of thousands of American wounded, tens to hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives, trillions of dollars, strengthening Iran, etc. There is no comparison in the consequences. Yet the Republicans have no interest in looking at that.

    June 6, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. bill.x

    This guy is like a roach – not even 51 million votes can keep him away.

    June 6, 2013 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Seyedibar

    Hey, Mitt, I hear Jesus was just spotted in Missouri!

    June 6, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. tstorm92

    Who cares about this guy? Conservatives just don't get how "sick" America is of their partisan politics, hate for the middle class, narrow-minded and bigoted values, how resentful we are of the GOP throwing our country into "The Great Recession" while saving their billionaire Wall Street friends, standing behind the cowardly NRA instead in defense and safety of children,... GO AWAY MITT AND THE GOP! FAR AWAY

    June 6, 2013 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  7. Rudy NYC

    Netmonger

    Troubling there wasnt a rescue attempt?!? Its troubling that Romney doesnt fathom how far away the nearest support was??!
    ------------
    No. What's troubling is the fact that the right wing wants you to ignore the obvious. That guy came to capitol hill and testified tha he had reported Amb. Stevens as missing, and presumed dead. He was last scene inside of a building totally engulfed in flames and was not observed leaving the building. He also testified that there were at least 30 attackers inside of the compound. He then testified that the order was given to evacuate the compound. He testified that he felt a rescue mission should have been mounted, which has been the supposed point of the entire right wing argument. Right?

    Reality check. It was a hot, fluid and volatile situation in Benghazi. Amb. Stevens was presumed dead, as well as another individual. A rescue mission by the FOUR special ops forces would have taken at least TWO HOURS to arrive at a compound overrun by at least THIRTY attackers and growing. What were the remaining survivors of the attack supposed to do while they waited for rescue? Play hide and go seek within the compound with the attackers? No, they were ordered to evacuate.

    June 6, 2013 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  8. YUCK

    The citizens are forgetting that we were mislead by bush about Iraq having weapons of mass destruction,and at the end thousands of American troops lost their lives all because of this former idiot president that doesn't deserve a library,he should be lock up along with the rest of the GOP and republican gang of haters.

    June 6, 2013 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  9. Mitt Who?

    The big GOP donors ripped this poor guy in so many directions, its a wonder he still knows his own name.

    June 6, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I have no respect for a tax evading right wing flip flopping lying racist who claimed that President Obama gave voters gifts to get their votes. Gee, I'm still waiting for my gift.

    June 6, 2013 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  11. YUCK

    Don't get fooled by smiling faces that lie.

    June 6, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  12. ladeeda

    Since nothing he just said is true or accurate – I'd say were sure dodged a bullet when he did not get elected.

    June 6, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  13. wm Scot

    Those women , young voters and the 45% that took away your dream think you were wrong and your ideas were wrong so you really have nothing to say but it is your opinion like any other citizen !
    You are not the leader of this country no matter what your handlers would like to think !

    June 6, 2013 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  14. corpsman

    Every time I've heard this guy talk since the election I thank God we dodged the bullet.

    June 6, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  15. Jonathan

    "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"

    Why are these falsehoods still floating around? Susan Rice read from talking points she was given by State, and testimony from those on the ground during the attack reveal that a "rescue effort" would have been futile. The boots on the ground all agree that there was nothing more to do than what was done, so why is this blowhard still promoting a false and misleading position?

    June 6, 2013 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  16. Bill

    @Kilroy... Wow, what a load of kool aid! Hope you like the bitter taste of defeat!
    And Mitt; who cares what he thinks? Or anyone in the crazy, dysfunctional, and lost GOP.

    June 6, 2013 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. M.A.P.

    Let's all joyously watch the Rebulicans fade into oblivion! It's fun!

    June 6, 2013 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. RCM

    Why do we care what he says?

    June 6, 2013 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. MAngeline

    Poor Mittens wants to be relevant so badly. Mu guess is he just wants to keep the Romney name and some connections open until it's time for Taggard to run. He never had any influence in the GOP to start, so it'll be a tough row to hoe to become "relevant."

    June 6, 2013 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  20. Joe Blow

    No rescue attempt? So our people our still stuck over there outside the consulate? How have they survived for so long? This is a travesty, an absolute scandal I say!

    June 6, 2013 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  21. Ace

    Please just leave, would you?

    June 6, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  22. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    @Kilroy

    You forgot to add the sky is blue and water is wet.

    Or better yet, you forgot to add that no sky scrapers collapsed during the Obama tenure, the Pentagon wasn't attacked and our planes weren't used as WMDs under the Obama administration. You can also add that under the Obama administration, we did not invade any foreign country and commit American troops to two decade long wars costing over $5.5 trillion or created the worst economic crisis in America since the Great Depression or a housing crisis. Or caused the deaths of thousands of U.S. troops or the deaths of over 1 million Iraq civilians.

    Shall I go on?

    June 6, 2013 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  23. chris

    you lost, badly! you'd think you could open with what have you done to help things in this country but as usual you got to bash the winner... romney = lonely.

    June 6, 2013 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. BestYearsAwaitRomney

    It saddens me to see that Romney has anyone's ear at all. He really should just shut up and pray, and then very quietly help those around him to a better life without seeking any service awards. His happiness would be assured and his legacy would be worthwhile. He has generated enough hate for more than one person. He should try to generate some love during his remaining time on Earth.

    June 6, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  25. johnnie2655

    hey, Romney, i don't know if you know this, but you lost the election. Enough said.

    June 6, 2013 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8