Romney shows softer side but keeps up attacks on Obama, Gingrich
December 18th, 2011
12:42 PM ET
8 years ago

Romney shows softer side but keeps up attacks on Obama, Gingrich

Washington (CNN) - In his first appearance on a Sunday political news show since March 2010, Mitt Romney sought to portray himself as a responsible, sober and even occasionally emotional candidate who could go toe-to-toe with President Barack Obama.

The former Massachusetts governor continued his recent trend of opening up about his personal history, speaking about his wife, Ann, and her struggles with multiple sclerosis.

"I'm happy in life as long as I've got my soul mate with me," Romney said, calling his wife's diagnosis a "really difficult" time.

Romney said the family looked into installing an elevator in their house and purchasing a wheelchair for Mrs. Romney, whose disease is now in remission.

"I like cold cereal and peanut butter sandwiches," he recounted telling his wife, who struggled to continue household tasks she had previously enjoyed. "We can do fine with that as long as we have each other."

The highly-anticipated sit-down interview on "Fox News Sunday" had been taped Saturday in South Carolina and sparked few fireworks.

Romney acknowledged he had done quite well for himself financially while working for private equity firm Bain Capital, and said he expected Democrats to use a photograph from the 1980s of him and his colleagues with money spilling out of their pockets.

"We posed for a picture just celebrating the fact that we'd raised a lot of money, and then we hoped to be able to return it with a good return," he said. "But I know they'll use it. I know that. It'll be fun."

He pointed to Obama's personal wealth and said he would defend himself against Democrats by citing his successes in and knowledge of the private sector.

Romney said Obama's policies had hurt the country economically and said the president was not a leader.

"Leaders actually spend time meeting with people on the other side of the aisle, understand their needs, understand their concerns, get their input and look for some way to find common ground," Romney said. "And this president, instead, has gone to the people and attacked. It's been a constant attack either against Republicans or against people in the business world or whatever group he somehow feels is opposed to his agenda."

The candidate kept up his attacks on his chief Republican opponent, twice calling Newt Gingrich an "unreliable" conservative and doubling down on his characterization of the former House speaker as "zany."

"I don't think you would call mirrors in space to light highways at night particularly practical, or a lunar colony a practical idea, not at a stage like this," Romney said.

Romney also said he was glad to see U.S. troops come home from Iraq, but disagreed with Obama for drawing down forces in the country "in a precipitous way."

He would not say whether he would consider sending troops back into the country, but cited a "high threshold" he said was necessary before deploying the country's military.

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Newt Gingrich • President Obama
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    When he isn't lying, I suppose Mittens shows another soft side, much like his being spineless is a soft side. Soft on foreign policy, soft on job creation, soft on conservative values, soft on support of 99.8% of Americans, and of course, soft on having a long term vision.

    December 18, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Robots don't have softer sides. CNN is really kissing up to Mitt lately.

    December 18, 2011 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Why does Mittens constantly refer to being sober? He has to be in the sauce to want to keep troops in Iraq. It has been almost 10 years in an unnecessary war. I agree with 77% of Americans who want our troops home, and employed in good jobs.

    December 18, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  4. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I wonder if the Kochs and Rove have promised big advertising dollars to CNN to keep their anointed one in the fore front.

    December 18, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  5. Thomas

    He's such a kind man .

    Why din't any of Mitts five sons volunteer for military service in times of war ?

    December 18, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Debbie

    Soft side? As in so soft of core or convictions that will bend, sway, flip, flop, sell his soul to Cheney, Rove, etc? The love of money is the root of all evil and Romney, Rove, and Cheney all love money...hence they are evil,

    December 18, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. vic , nashville ,tn

    I agree with most comments including CNN favor Romney

    Romney has big problem as a former republican I have seen
    Rick Perry has strong supporters
    Ron Paul has strong supporters
    Herman Cain had strong supporters
    I didn’t see any Romney strong supporters
    Republican establishment forcing their base to accept Romney it will back fire any time

    December 18, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Gov. Romney used the phrase "free enterprise" a lot today. While he spoke about wanting to focus support on the middle class, all of his ideas are aimed to benefit venture capitalists. He hit all of the usual talking points like deregulation. Every time I heard him say "free enterprise", it came out meaning "free for all" enterprise.

    December 18, 2011 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  9. REG in AZ

    The reality is that “conservative values” are fine ... as long as they are not just being used to con the people and manipulate public opinion aimed to disguise a concentration on furthering the interests of “the few” (1%) while continuing to neglect the majority (99%). No matter how loud the likes of Limbaugh, Beck, Norquist, Boehner, McConnell, Cantor, Ryan and others cry, trying to excite emotions, our problems really are not the result of the deficit, or of taxes, or government spending or because of Obama, who actually inherited the problems, ... plus the Republican arrogant faulting and stubborn blocking of all efforts, as well as their flagrant refusal to offer anything constructive, always putting their politics above all else, really identifies the problems’ continuation. Should the voters fail to recognize and understand, then we are apt to be returned to “more of the same”, Bush-Cheney style, which again would be continuing the problems for the majority. Returning to a permissive, co-responsible government that concentrates only on the interests of “the few”, their strong overt and covert supporters, and again gives the majority only apathy, the costs and an abundance of subterfuge to rationalize and deceive, would be returning to the actual source of the problems. Yes, we need to address the growing deficit, to reform taxes, control government spending and resolve several issues but definitely not by just favoring “the few” ... and the immediate real need is the economy and jobs. Remember that Bush-Cheney proved beyond any doubt that the “trickle down” theory is a total fraud that just makes the wealthy wealthier and solicits political support (without creating jobs or benefit to the economy) ... to now once again concentrate on the interests of “the few”, rationalized as being “conservative”, would be just “more of the same” and that would be completely ludicrous, irresponsible and just more exploitation of the majority.

    December 18, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. Peace

    Why didn't Romney answer when he was asked whether he will send the troops back to Iraq if elected President? He is another typical politician.

    December 18, 2011 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    "Leaders actually spend time meeting with people on the other side of the aisle, understand their needs, understand their concerns, get their input and look for some way to find common ground," Romney said.
    That works both ways, Governer. Recall how Boehner would not return phone calls last spring during the government shutdown continuing resolution crisis. Recall how Spkr. Boehner walked out of the debt ceiling negotiations with the President. Recall how the President sat down with Boehner last winter during the lame duck session, and Boehner walked away with "98% of what I wanted." Recall how Sen. McConnell and Boehner stood in front of microphones in the spring of 2009 and took terms denouncing health care reform and that they would not participate in "the destruction of America."

    Recall that Republicans can lie to you by speaking truthfully. Romney's words are correct, but he's suggesting that it has been Obama at fault when it has been the Republican leadership that has failed.

    December 18, 2011 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    There are no done deals, as yet. There are at least 3 potentially good candidates.

    December 18, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Dan J

    I'm calling it now: Romney/Rice 2012

    December 18, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. Anthony


    It is not dividing Americans to tell them that Republicans are doing nothing for the middle class, the working class, and the poor. It is just the truth. All Republican candidates have the same economic plan: give tax cuts to the rich and hope that other people do not notice that Republicans have no plan for them.

    December 18, 2011 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |