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. Mac

    Someone tell this Mormon clown his 15 minutes are up. What a POS he is.

    May 18, 2013 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  2. Devin

    History will show that the 2012 election was a pivotal moment in in which the American people had the potential, in Mitt Romney, to turn around our obvious decline. We screwed it up.

    May 18, 2013 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  3. Telimbo

    Whenever I see Mitt it reminds me of the Tin Man who didn't have a bran.

    Money could not buy it Mitt.

    May 18, 2013 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  4. Sn0wjob

    Mittens... so wrong. So delusional. So filthy rich. So empty. Your magic-underwear has gotten you nowhere. Please go away, and stay. Away.

    May 18, 2013 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  5. retief1954

    Romney's free to make any comments he wants, however, as the vanquished candidate last Nov in a contest with Obama, it shows zero class on his part to be publicly Monday Morning QB'ing when Obama, facing challenges and opposition-party obstruction every day, is beset with domestic "scandals". I'm glad Romney's not POTUS. He's not up to the job of representing the best America has to offer.

    May 18, 2013 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  6. waitaminute

    You LIbs go ahead and make your jokes while we block Obama's agenda. After he is gone we are take a wrecking bar to every Idiot liberal piece of legislation. We are going to bone the FED.

    May 18, 2013 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. Gadgtfreak

    A tempest in a TeaPot (no pun intended). So he went on TV and repeated his talking points. The only folks who cares about Benghazi are republican hacks (like him). Susan Rice said "it appears to be" , so what if she got it wrong. It would have had no impact on the election becuse people rally around the President during an attack. Mitt would have still lost. All the back and forth over the talking oints is typical beaurecratic work. it happens in every company and government. No story here. The real IRS scandal is the fact that purely political organizations are claiming tax exempt status. Do you really believe karl Rove's group gives a damn about social welfare. They are purely political.. The AP issue. What;\'s the big deal. They got a supoena attempting to uncover a leak of a highly classified operation o reporter. That action could get folks killed. Whoever leaked the story should go to jail. The FBI and the Justice Dept should investigate . You folks wanted the Patriot act, this is what you get. Why would you tell the AP so they could cover thier asses. Please. Can congress quit all the committee hearings and get some real work done.

    May 18, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. Po Boy

    It really is too bad that Mittens lost, for one reason only. He would have experienced the same scandals that President Obama is experiencing. He also would have realized rather quickly, that the politicos do not run Washington, it's the lifelong civil servants. He also would have realized, that try as you might to yield control over Washington, it is an exercise in futility. Presidents only control there immediate spheres of influence which is the NSC and OMB. After that they just hope that folks will do the right think! Welcome to world of bloated bereauracracy!

    May 18, 2013 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. TKO

    Even now, Mitt can't get the story straight–he really needs to read news sources that aren't FOX.

    May 18, 2013 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  10. Ex-Republican

    What a sore loser and bitter person Romney is. Still upset because he promised Ann Romney The White House as a Christmas present. Our vote was not for sale.

    May 18, 2013 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. hypatia


    May 18, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. mom

    Actually, our nation would have been recovering rapidly economically if Romney had won. If someone with his talent had won in 2008 we would have rebounded far more quickly. Many people still cannot see this because of the ridiculous hatchet job done on him while Obama was still being treated to a pathetic messiah-fest image which he never deserved in any way. Romney has far more talent than BO, as do most people who have been in high elected office in the US. The media's double standard of destroying conservatives while ignoring the same or worse problems in liberals just keeps rolling along. Miraculously, many people finally seem to be seeing that BO is not in any way what he was portrayed to be. It has taken herculean effort by many people who love the US to sound the alarm. If it were not for our original freedoms framed and defended all these years, someone like Obama could have taken over far sooner and done much more damage. We have many challenges but we must never again elect someone like Obama. That is, IF we even have much time left as a sovereign nation. If we do not stop destroying the talented people with experience and understanding who really do love the US, we will get more wicked leaders like BO until there is nothing left of the US.

    May 18, 2013 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. Steven Harnack

    Why hasn't anyone been mentioning during this coverage of this hyped non-scandal that NOT ONE of those conservative groups were denied tax-exempt status even though not one of them has ever contributed one iota towards actual charity? It's just another phony non issue to get the low IQ crowd's panties in a bind and distract peoples attention from real problems.

    May 18, 2013 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  14. John

    The IRS looking at conservative group applications for tax-exempt status was a reasonable thing. It LOOKS political but that was not necessarily causal. The philosophy of these groups includes non-payment of taxes, so that any loophole is not only exploited but if possible is stretched-thus presumably legal but at the very edge of legal, and thus bearing scrutiny.

    This is not to say ALL applications for tax-exempt status are not exactly the same thing, but if I had limited staff and all these applications, my prioritization would probably start with the same groups, on the grounds they are more likely to cheat because they are avowed enemies of what they dismiss as 'big government.' They would rather have NO government-or maybe just a bedroom police force.

    May 18, 2013 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  15. splassher6

    Romney offered jobs to a country that doesn't want to work... hand outs win

    May 18, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  16. mike

    I am reposting this comment because it hits the nail directly on the head!

    This Republican flip flip should forget these fishing expeditions of his party. One will never forget his 47 percent comment, his "I don't worry about the poor", his corporations are people, why don't they have open windows on planes, and his foreign bank accounts. This mormon cult follower with his fictious gold tablet, planet-heaven kolob, archangel moroni, polygamy, rapist con man Joseph Smith and murderer Brigham Young. So glad this outsourcer is not President.

    May 18, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  17. tara

    Says the man who never takes responsibility for anything.

    May 18, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  18. frank

    You're a fool if you don't think money wins elections in this country. The democrats out spent the republicans 1,1 billion to .928 billion and won by a proportionate amount. This country is doomed if we continue to let people with the IQ of a rock decide who our leaders will be!!!!

    May 18, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. Mark

    "Name willard

    I am belived that roomney are great than presdient obama cause obama is liar talk story his word so obama should be impeach"

    These are the type of people that take Benghazi seriously.

    May 18, 2013 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  20. Detrich

    He needs to go home, and shut his mouth. He is not now, nor will he ever be the Prez.

    May 18, 2013 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. CC

    Go away Romney, forever.

    May 18, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  22. Evergreen

    I guess in GOP land only fools or the middle class should pay taxes. Yet they claim they are the real americans. I have given up on the Republican party.

    May 18, 2013 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  23. 6797777

    Mitt Romney has the values of a snake in the grass.

    May 18, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  24. Doc1

    Every time he opens his mouth he reassures me of my decision not to vote for him. Totally classless.

    May 18, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  25. David

    Mr. Flip flop is back to tell us about his 5 step plan! (aka refer you to a website)

    May 18, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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