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. ... facepalm

    Say what you will about Romney, but if he were in the White House, this whole IRS/AP Records/EPA/DOJ Scandals would've never happend. Its actually a little distrubing to see how most of the people here can be so juvenile and expect that to be a perfect reason to oppose and ignore this man's ideas. Yeah he lost, but you know that the country is in serious trouble when the guy who lost has to attempt to bring people together to fix what the guy who won should be doing! ... Enough said.

    June 6, 2013 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  2. Paul Valenti

    I agree with RCM – why does anyonecare what he says?

    June 6, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. lucky18

    Romney forgot to mention that Rice was given talking points. The ones who didn't and couldn't get to Benghazi, was the CIA!
    Also a General said they couldn't get there in time.
    Romney is irrelevant. He wants to be relevant... but...

    June 6, 2013 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  4. JayJ7

    How about asking Mitt point blank if he took advantage of amnesty to repatriate illegal overseas accounts, and if that is the reason he would not release past tax information.

    June 6, 2013 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Bill

    @Bill Davis. Just saying stupid stuff doesn't make it fact!
    Home prices going down? Do you live under a rock?
    Get your facts straight.
    And any American who wants to work can get a job...
    Lazy whiners say they don't want big government,
    then complain that the government isn't providing enough jobs for under educated losers.

    June 6, 2013 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. Tony

    Rice misled Republicans into thinking that there was a cover-up, when there was no cover-up. All she did was reading talking points issued by the CIA. If Obama wanted the public to believe that terrorism was not involved in the Benghazi attack, he would not have mentioned the words "act of terror" THREE times in the two days following the attack. Republicans may not understand this, but if you want the public to think terrorism was not involved, the last thing you should do is to keep bringing up the subject of terrorism.

    June 6, 2013 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  7. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Conservatives like Romney and the GOPT act as though Ms. Rice's assessment of what may have triggered the attacks were the actual reasons why the attacks were triggeres. Duhhhhh! What the President, Mrs Clinton and Ms. Rice said about the attacks did NOT cause the attacks. However, what GWB said about false WMDs in Iraq has led to the deaths of not four, but rather thousands of our troops, hundreds of NATO troops, dozens of logistic workers and over 1 million Iraqi civilians in an ongoing widespread civil war with no foreseable end in sight. Furthermore, GWB's blatant and outrageous lies have also led to the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians in a war that was deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged for the invasion of Iraq.

    Lets'a face it, more than 70 years later, Nazi war criminals are still being brought to justice for their war crimes and its not too late for GWB and his republican accomplices to be brought to justice for their treason and war crimes. Shameless deceitful right wing pot calling the kettle black!

    June 6, 2013 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  8. 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.

    June 6, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Fladabosco

    It's pretty clear Romney is once again just being a mouthpiece for the GOP and not saying anything really intelligent. He is beginning to sound like a Republican candidate.

    If he didn't like the scrutiny or security he wouldn't being president.

    The Benghazi thing is a non-starter for anyone with a brain, especially if you have read about what happened anywhere other than Fox.

    June 6, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. scott

    susan rice a disappointing pick for the nsa??? even though she is qualified and the igs report cleared her of any wrong doing. I guess mittens binder of women was just to look at the pictures...what an asshat....hey mittens why don't u take your severly conservative buddies, especially your 2 fellow Vietnam war draft dodgers, nugent and dick cheyney, and get a bike built for 3 and ride through paris..........

    June 6, 2013 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. BillC

    Who cares what troubles Mr. Romney? Oh, anything the pesident does will trouble him. Remember he lost to President Obama! He is still licking his wounds inflicted by the last presidential election! As long sa there is a President Obama, Mr. Romney will be troubled! lol

    June 6, 2013 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Lynda/Minnesota
    It seems as if this little media blitz is her doing as well
    -------------------------------------------------
    I wouldn't be surprised my friend. Why won't CNN let "these people" fade into the oblivion from whence they came? It is as if 'the news" were up for sale to the biggest self-created drama queens.
    Go back to your kitchen Ann and let us eat cake.

    June 6, 2013 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Peoples State of Illinois

    And flyspecks ignoring the facts continues.
    --------------–
    So what are the facts? Oops, that's right. You're investigating to find out the facts.

    June 6, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. bczu

    You mean the guy that said he didnt want to be President anyway?

    June 6, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  15. alpg49

    It wasn't just that Romney lost – he lost to an incredibly vulnerable incumbent.

    June 6, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  16. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer wrote:
    What the President, Mrs Clinton and Ms. Rice said about the attacks did NOT cause the attacks. However, what GWB said about false WMDs in Iraq has led to the deaths of not four, but rather thousands of our troops, hundreds of NATO troops, dozens of logistic workers and over 1 million Iraqi civilians in an ongoing widespread civil war with no foreseable end in sight. Furthermore, GWB's blatant and outrageous lies have also led to the deaths of thousands of Afghan civilians in a war that was deliberately and recklessly abandoned and prolonged for the invasion of Iraq.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Tell 'em Blah blah!!!
    Well freakin' said!!!
    Thank you.

    June 6, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  17. Nick

    Considering Mitts choice of a running mate, I'm sure many people would have considered his appointments 'dissapointing'...

    June 6, 2013 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  18. Wake up People!

    @TJW.
    Really, Willard would be focusing on jobs? Where China or India???

    The GOP could care less about jobs, all they have been doing since election night 2008 is looking for a way to get rid of the duly elected and then reelected POTUS.

    June 6, 2013 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Peoples State of Illinois

    So many poor blind people. If the consequences to this country were not so tragic, it would be funny. Of course the republicans wanted to make Obama a one term president. They were listening to what he said during the primaries and the election, and they knew the damage he would do to this country. This country can survive an obama presidency, but I fear the obamavoter will be this country's undoing.

    June 6, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. ritmocojo

    Any man that hides his wealth in foriegn bank accounts does not have the best interests of his country as priority number one, and therefore has no business even as a mouthpiece for his party.

    June 6, 2013 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. dsangiovanni

    Who cares what this guy think ?

    June 6, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. dsangiovanni

    Who really cares about what this guy think ?

    June 6, 2013 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. dsangiovanni

    Hey Romney , are you going to show us now your income tax returns ?

    June 6, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. damn John

    Mitt ...say, "Goodnight Gracie"

    June 6, 2013 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Ferathka

    Does this guy really think anyone cares what he thinks? He was a horrid candidate. He needs to go play in his vault of cash in the Cayman Islands and keep his mouth shut.

    June 6, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8