Romney weighs in on Washington controversies
May 18th, 2013
11:36 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney weighs in on Washington controversies

(CNN) – Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney appeared on "The Tonight Show" with Jay Leno on Friday and weighed in on the barrage of controversies plaguing the White House in recent weeks.

The former Massachusetts governor said he's “over” the election but is "not a fan of the president." He said a special counsel should be appointed to investigate the Obama administration and the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status.

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"There are really two concerns with regards to the IRS story. One is they have admitted now that they did target conservative groups for extra scrutiny as those groups were looking to find a tax-except status,” Romney said. “That obviously is a violation of the very fundamental trust that we have that the IRS does not pursue a political agenda.

“The buck stops at the president's desk," he said, and he questioned whether individuals who donated to Republicans or his campaign during the election were targeted specifically by the IRS.

Regarding the Justice Department's subpoena of Associated Press phone records, Romney said it was premature to draw conclusions.

"I think a lot of people are concerned that the First Amendment is being challenged in some way when the Justice Department subpoenas phone records of some 20 different reporters over some period of time. And they're looking for leaks of classified information. And clearly that's something which is alarming to some folks."

Romney repeated attack lines he used on the campaign trail last year over the administration's handling of the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"American people were misled as to what happened," Romney said, referring to discredited talking points UN Ambassador Susan Rice conveyed on television news programs saying that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam film rather than a premeditated assault.

"That's a real concern,” Romney said, “and the fact is that it's been very difficult to pull out over the ensuing months."

Romney said another concern was that no effort was made to rescue the Americans caught in the attack last year.

Asked if this would hurt a hypothetical presidential campaign in 2016 for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Romney said there would be "careful" scrutiny into her record working for the Obama administration.

Pivoting to the White House, Romney said Obama's "largest legacy of concern or failure" is the ongoing issues in places like North Korea and Iran.

Losing the election was tough, Romney said, but it’s nothing compared to other challenges in life. He pointed to the benefits of spending time with his sons, 22 grandchildren, and his wife Ann, who has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"This is something you get over pretty quickly," he said of losing the election.

As far as advice for future Republican presidential candidates, Romney said "get used to eating Iowa corndogs" and later added, "sell the horse."

Filed under: 2013 • IRS • Jay Leno • Libya • Mitt Romney • Obama administration • Washington D.C.
soundoff (191 Responses)
  1. Just

    He is a sharp stand up guy. Probably was not the right guy for that job to endure the corrupt culture in DC.

    May 18, 2013 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. DonnieH

    We had 13 Benghazi's under Bush, Republicans passed the Patriot Act allowed the AP surveillance, which by the way was to determine the source of leaks that could jeopardize national security. Which by the way it was only a short while ago that Republicans were criticizing the administration for not going after the source of leaks in the administration. As far as the IRS giving more scrutiny to an organization that promotes the elimination of the IRS and not paying taxes doesn't seem so outlandish. Under the Bush administration the IRS gave extra scrutiny to black churches and left meaning groups. It was legal when Bush did it and its legal now. Besides political groups aren't suppose to be tax exempt anyway. These Tea Party and Conservative super pacs were masquerading as Social Welfare groups while fundraising for Republicans and funding political attack adds.

    May 18, 2013 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. Remember the Alamo

    2016 – Any White man for President.... or... SECEDE

    May 18, 2013 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. Matt_b_218

    Interesting enough not ONE polictical appointee to the IRS came from the Obama administration and the last 3 were from good old George. In fact, if not mistaken, all or most of the political appointees are Republicans. How is it them that Obama would be able to influence them to single out Republican groups? Doesn't make sense. Give it up Repubs

    May 18, 2013 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Jo black

    If you'd like to make a call, please hang up and...don't bother.

    May 18, 2013 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  6. Remember the Alamo

    There is still a place where freedom is alive and well and that place is called T E X A S !

    Everything else is an OBAMINATION !

    May 18, 2013 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. Peter

    Mitt Romney, the November 6, 2012 election was stolen from you on account of voter fraud and the current administration holding off bad news until after the election. When Barack Obama and many in his administration are impeached, are you willing to be inaugurated and serve as U.S. President? Hopefully, this can all be worked out, so you get the position of U.S. President which should have been granted to you earlier. Joe Biden is among those who will be impeached, so I hope that Paul Ryan is willing to serve as U.S. Vice-President. Peter Guild, Quincy, MA.

    May 18, 2013 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  8. Stephan

    Ahhhhhh yes, 'Ol Mitt the snit, the best presidential candidate money can buy! Truly the moral compass for all to follow. Keep in mind he could care less about you..........(47% his own words). He is a sore loser who cares about nothing but money and "image". You cannot take it with you former Mr. candidate and loser.

    May 18, 2013 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  9. macrasta

    Mitt should have been questioned on did he know there was an attack on the embassy,,,Before there was an attack on the embassy,,,ummm?

    May 18, 2013 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  10. Odo

    I don't see anyone spewing hate at the last President who did the exact same thing..... If something is wrong then it is wrong for BOTH the GOP and why only hone in on Obama when the GOP conducted themselves the exact same way?

    May 18, 2013 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  11. concerned conservative

    Many conservatives like myself could not bring ourselves to vote for this Mormon Magical Underwear cultist........Romney is a joke,I blame the gop for pushing Romney on us....Hopefully they have learned not to have a flip flopper and a mormon who thinks his underwear has magical powers as our candidate......Mormons are not christians they are weirdo cultists and many would not support him...........

    May 18, 2013 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  12. Mormon Magical Underwear

    On election night Romney was trying to activate his Mormon Magical Underwear by jumping in the air and clicking his heels together twice...........But to no avail , seems his magic Underwear had other plans for Romney and the cult underwear put a stop to his presidential bid.............Many after the election saw Romney on his knees praying to his underwear, crying asking " why magic underwear why did you not help me"......................Many say Romney cuddled his underwear as he wept for days.............................

    May 18, 2013 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  13. wonderabout

    Seriously Mittens? Still parroting the same tired lies and grandstanding.... The Republican "problem" is that more of us know they are all shallow, greedy, and wholly owned by corporate creeps who want to strip the Earth of all it has to give, run roughshod over the majority of citizens in order to make outrageous profits and enslave the rest! And a majority of them hate the idea a "black" man is the leader of the most powerful country in the free world.

    May 18, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  14. Steve

    You can tell who the low IQ folks are, the Tonight Show invited him not the other way around. If hes asked a question at least HE answers it. Your numwitted Obama refuses to answer reporter questions...hes a coward. Obama has no class. Curses the rich for tax breaks then donates 70k to his daughters as a tax break. Does absolutly nothing when an Ambassador is killed. Draws a red line for the syrian government, they cross it he does nothing. Hes a hack job raised by RICH WHITE FOLKS in Hawaii!

    May 18, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  15. pep

    It's all sour grapes.

    May 18, 2013 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  16. SecrtSqurll

    The GOP still has not gotten over losing the election. They are still out of touch with reality, and continue to try to destroy America from within. They try to do far more damage to America than ay terrorist ever could.

    May 18, 2013 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. marc

    What a loser. He's still crying and only a simpleton like Leno would have such a loser on his show to whine about it .

    May 18, 2013 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. laragabriella

    Do we really need Romney to tell us BO is a useless, incompetent liar?

    May 18, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. dontbow

    well spoken Mitt, something the current president cant produce...honesty and truth.

    May 18, 2013 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  20. Mark

    The only reason Romney lost is the fact that the folks freeloading on the government were afraid he would stop giving them free money, welfare, food stamps, and all the other goodies that Obama hands out to the lazy nonworkers ???? Romney is ten times a better man than our current "non leader" in Washington, but people want free stuff so vote for the liberals ???

    May 18, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. p

    Once again, we're reminded on why this guy was never meant to be POTUS...

    May 18, 2013 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Like Romney would have done a better job as President – I don't think so.

    May 18, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  23. Michael Hobart

    And we should care about Mitt Romney for what reason?

    May 18, 2013 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  24. Big Bird Johnson

    Controversies? These are not controversies. These are scandals and lies. These are illegal attempts to confuse the voting public.

    May 18, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. observer

    foolish and the dead alone never change their opinion about Mitt. Mr. Romney has an ideal family values that he inherited from his ancestor and passed it on to his children's children. Come to think of it, if all families are just like what Mitt has....then america would be living in peace and happiness both spiritually and temporally.

    May 18, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
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