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. Ben

    With his comments, Mitt is revealing to the world that he is a sore loser. He is also full of ENVY !

    May 18, 2013 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  2. Johnny DC

    So incredibly blinded are the sheep on these message boards. The current events beg for at least the slightest bit of introspective scrutiny into your own party and their totalitarian methods, but you still can't find the smallest ounce of integrity to acknowledge it.

    Rather, you'll spend your breath belittling a defeated candidate with ironically intolerant jokes about his religion and those who support his positions. The next week or two will be dedicated to recycled Romney jokes and criticisms, not unlike the past several years of the same against Governor Palin.

    Meanwhile, we will continue borrowing and printing, propping up our economy on the weakest of stilts in order to make it appear like we're gaining ground fiscally. Our strongest enemies will continue getting stronger, while we and our allies get weaker. Corruption will spread throughout the executive branch like wildfire.

    And you will still make your Mormon/Moron jokes, because that's what is most important to you.


    May 18, 2013 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  3. Joe Blow

    Personally, I'd much prefer the IRS to investigate dickwads that hide their money overseas than local groups that lean one way or the other.

    BTW, Mitt, where ARE you 10-year tax returns.

    May 18, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  4. geggyg

    Yes obviously Pres Obamas has totally failed on North Korea and Iran , because until Jan 2009 both those countries were exemplary world citizens and no country had issues with them . Oh wait Nth Korea is still officially at war with Sth Korea , and have had a ballistic missile and nuclear program since the 1970"s , Iran took US hostages during the Carter admin , Reagon sold chemical weapons to Iraq to use against Iran , and have been at loggerheads with Iran since them. So Presidents Carter , Reagon, GHW Bush , Clinton and GW Bush haven't been able to sort things out with these 2 counties , but some how Pres Obama is solely to blame for not getting Nth Korea and Iran to behave reasonably , Romney please read some history books before you open your mouth

    May 18, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Mitt said he would fight tooth and nail to take away medical marijuana from aids and cancer patients. May he get cancer and burn in hell.

    May 18, 2013 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  6. Me

    Mitt Romney vowed to fight tooth and nail to take away medical marijuana from aids and cancer patients. One can only hope he is stricken with cancer and die a painful death.

    May 18, 2013 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. Martha in CF

    Why is Romney of any significance here???????? The redumblicans are making a big stink out of nothing-Obama is being blamed for all of this because the redumblicans can't face the truth on anything. Get some work done congress-2014 will be here before ya know it......All you redumblicans do is spew venom and hatred....stop it.......America does not need this
    And please send Romney back to one of his dozen homes............

    May 18, 2013 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. Joe Smith

    Well, Mr. Romney has pointed out the obvious concerns that every American should have, regardless of party. For me, the most outrageous of the controversies is that we did not save our Ambassador when we had the capability. If this is true, then I think that Mrs. Clinton's statesmanship is in question. She might otherwise make a good presidential candidate. But I would want to know why she did not act when her agency had the chance.

    May 18, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  9. Ancient Texan

    Zach- NOPE! America lost the 2012 election and the results are showing up in rapid fashion. Abuse of power from practically every branch of government and the cover-ups WILL be uncovered.

    May 18, 2013 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  10. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Was he ever relevant? Who cares about his sour grapes?

    May 18, 2013 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  11. JLS1950

    Mitt Robmoney lost the election. Too bad. Now go away.

    May 18, 2013 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  12. MI Snow

    The way he's contrite about losing the presidency almost makes it sound that it was an item on his "bucket list" that he did not get to check off.

    May 18, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. Scott

    Mitt may be rich, but he ran a poor campaign and exhibited no leadership once he was the Republican nominee. The problem with Republicans these days is they have mostly let the crazy people take control of the party. Other than a couple of people like Chris Christie, they have turned out to be a bunch of cowards like Lindsey Graham and John Boehner. People are not interested in whatever dirt Republicans may dream up. They are interested in seeing whether the Republicans can get their act together and make some decent proposals in the future. Their current prospects look rather grim for 2016 since Obama can claim credit for a improving American economy.

    May 18, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. rs1201

    it's too bad that people voted for that thug in the White House.

    May 18, 2013 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  15. Kathynurse

    Why is he still in the news????? I am so sick of the media. What happened to the old CNN now it is all about the story of the day.

    May 18, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  16. Erasrhedd

    Romney, as forthcoming and assertive as he was when running for President. What a wimp.

    May 18, 2013 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  17. Simple solution

    The simple solution would be to void the tax exempt status of any and all political oriented organizations.

    May 18, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  18. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    When will Mitts 5 sons volunteer for military service so that they can help invade Syria, a doctrine that he supports?

    May 18, 2013 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  19. Belseth

    So every time a Democrat is elected we should expect special counsels and impeachment? They can't even tie the President to any of these and yet Republicans are talking impeachment. How would we be better off with Romney? More tax breaks for the rich and none of the things that have helped the country. We'd be in a real mess if he was in power!

    May 18, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |

    As the world eagerly awaits Romney weighing in. Yes, I was so looking forward to it. It was the main source of conversation at several public venues.

    May 18, 2013 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  21. Tacitus Talks

    All the Obama bots attacking Mitt and defending Obama where his IRS are tyrannizing Americans. When there is a Conservative President, and we are encouraging the IRS to go after liberals, we will remind you of the precedent.

    May 18, 2013 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  22. Tacitus Talks

    All the Obama supporters attacking Mitt and defending Obama where his IRS are tyrannizing Americans. When there is a Conservative President, and we are encouraging the IRS to go after liberals, we will remind you of the precedent.

    May 18, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  23. Robi

    I would have voted for a dog or monkey rather than Obama. If anyone thinks he has done a good goo you are either black or dumb. I would have taken Mitt any day. Obama there because rhe powers of the world put him there to screw Americans and know matter what you think its true. The worse is to come. I hope you lovers go bankrupt from his policies.

    May 18, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  24. jdinblankets

    Romney should show a little class and shut his mouth. He is showing his shallowness, and obvious contempt for Obama. Of course you have Leno and Romney, tywo has beens on their way out.

    May 18, 2013 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  25. Alfred E Newman

    If the truth about Benghazi and the facts about IRS intimidation came out during the election last November would Obama have won? Perhaps not, but that was the whole reason for the scandals, to get Obama through the election. Shame on you Barack Obama! Shame on you.

    May 18, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
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