June 6th, 2013
05:00 AM ET
9 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.

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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. Michael54

    I love that Ryan and Paul have physical outings planned with peers, whereas Christie will be going to breakfast with his. Nice. P.S.: Mitt who?

    June 6, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Aaron

    Shooting, Golfing, Eating. Guess which of these three activities Gov. Christie will be engaging in....

    June 6, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. Kilroy

    Pat Jones is correct. All you Obamalamadingdong sheeple who voted for the FRAUD in the Oval Office are the reason why this country is in the state it is. What has the FRAUD wrought upon us? Let me count the ways:

    1. Benghazi coverup
    2. Fast and Furious coverup
    3. IRS targeting conservatives coverup
    4. Verizon phone records coverup
    5. Biggest increase in the National Debt EVER
    6. Obamacare which is going to triple the cost of health insurance for Americans

    Shall I go on?

    June 6, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. yem

    Is that how M Romney wants to bring people together by criticizing Obama for appointing S Rice?Obama needs to be surrounded by people he knows and trusts. He won the election.

    June 6, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  5. LOL

    I wish Romney would go away, and just enjoy his millions. You lost. You are not the President. Your opinions don't matter. Please go do what most of us would like for you to do...and FADE away!! Thanks.

    June 6, 2013 10:56 am at 10:56 am |

    Susan Rice has been nominated by POTUS to be his own secuirity adviser not Mitt's, so where does the disappointment come from? Who cares how MItt feels, he should wait for his own turn if that will ever come again!

    June 6, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Patrick

    Let Mitt look in his binders full of wmoen and decide that befoe he judges another. Mit quit. go to disney world and enjoy your fanatasy wolrd. You call it home in UTAH. We call it Disney land.

    June 6, 2013 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Lisa P.

    Has CNN run this exact same story before? Mitt Romney's remarks sound very familiar, and about six months out of date. But then maybe Mitt himself is nothing but a broken record, endlessly repeating the same wrongheaded ideas, unable to adapt to new information and changing times. What a disaster he would have been as President!

    June 6, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  9. jimranes

    Condolezza Rice said this in a recent interview:

    "The intelligence was as clear as any intelligence I've ever seen and I've been in this business a long time. ... When you had intelligence assessments that said Saddam Hussein has reconstituted his biological and chemical weapons and could reconstitute his nuclear weapon in a year if he got foreign assistance — by the end of the decade if he didn't — I've actually never seen clearer indications than that.

    "The problem is, the intelligence wasn't right."

    The costly, misguided war in Iraq in fact was completely unnecessary. Ms. Rice wants to place the blame on faulty intelligence...she's right. It was the lack of intelligence on the part of the the President and his misguided advisor, Dick Cheney that deliberately hyped a non existent threat of WMD.

    June 6, 2013 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. Netmonger

    Troubling there wasnt a rescue attempt?!? Its troubling that Romney doesnt fathom how far away the nearest support was??! Its troubling that Romney seem to not understand that these people didnt not get shot, they died of smoke inhalation from a fire that broke out. Its troubling that this is considered such a big issue by people who *still* support the Iraq war that has killed ~4000s US serviceman, 100s of 1000s or Iraqis, displaced *millions*, added $2T + interest to our debt - while the very reason for even doing so ( which was opposed by many countries in the first place and ignored by the Bush admin) has been proven to be complete and utter nonsense – even the guy who told us they had WMDs has now admitted it was a lie! If Iraq doesnt bother you, you have no damn right to be making an issue about Benghazi.

    June 6, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  11. dzerres

    "We lived our entire life, if you will, in privacy like most people do." Yea, like most people who have 250 million in the bank and a bunch more in off shore accounts. Geez, is that statement tone deaf or what? You know, I don't care if you have a ton of money – good for you, use the tax dodges for your gain – but don't pretend you are one of us. Instead, do something extraordinary – fund some schools some where, send 100 kids to college, but a water treatment plant for some deserving community somewhere. Anything but this constant, "what if" and "gee, I'm a regular guy" nonsense.

    June 6, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. MT

    who really cares what this guy thinks? Like seriously who really cares?

    and for all those Republicans crying foul over this......go back and read the Patriot Act that makes this type of invasion of privacy LEGAL....

    June 6, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  13. GottaBeKidding

    I'm very disappointed that some news organizations think Mitt Romney is still relevant!

    June 6, 2013 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  14. Bob

    Shall I go on?

    Keep on going and don't let the door hit you in the rear, bub.

    June 6, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Ben

    Kilroy's source: FOX News

    June 6, 2013 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  16. Mark

    Why can't Mittens just go and disappear in one of his mansions?

    June 6, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. Robyn

    >> Instead of living with around the clock security,
    >> he does grocery shopping and pumps his own gas.

    Woo Hoo!
    And I thought Mitt Romney had no sense of humor.
    Tell us another big whopper, Mr. Mittens.

    June 6, 2013 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. DemFromSC

    Go away Mitt. You lost, and you lost for a good reason.

    June 6, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  19. JRNY

    What a hypocrite. Romney didn't want to bring Democrats and Republicans together when he was running for the White House...he was divisive, cruel, pretentious, oh and disliked, what percent was that, of Americans.
    Besides his "bubble" that he lives in safely, in his mormon Utah, his opinion isn't worth a dime to anyone in America.

    June 6, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. lottie

    who cares what mitt thinks. ???? Him and his goofy wife should just go buy a new yacht or something and stay out of politics.

    June 6, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  21. shazzam

    I thought I would never see something going extinct in my lifetime: GOP

    June 6, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  22. Scott Cisney

    Susan Rice is exceptionally qualified to serve the president as the National Security Advisor. Comments she made days after Benghazi are extraordinarily irrelevant. She read what she was given, she was given what we thought at the time. The end. I'm beginning to agree with some who feel the vitriol and hatred has nothing to do with anything of substance and may be grounded in dislike of her gender and race (I'm a white male, by the way).

    June 6, 2013 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  23. Organic1

    Shots from the cheap seats – WTG Mittens!

    June 6, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  24. Peoples State of Illinois

    And flyspecks ignoring the facts continues.

    June 6, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. ST

    Does this meeting Romney is convening really make any sense? They have to gather, talk, eat, play and left. What will follow next? Talking about 2016 election even before the mid-term election is done, make him look unreal. What power Romney does he have to see what they have discussed about are implemented? Like Sarah, it is only to let people hear the name Romney again. No more than that.

    June 6, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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