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. Dave1157

    Mitt who???

    June 6, 2013 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. TJW

    Ms.Rice, has distinguished herself how? at the UN over the last three plus years. Typical Mr.Obama puts on a show for the press to talk about for several weeks "GOP charm offensive" but the truth is he just never stops campaigning. Gun control push lasted how long? immigration push how long? Sequester push how long? A politician yes a leader NO.

    June 6, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. moragami

    I've got news for him, he's always lived in a bubble. It was the same bubble of wealth and privilege that made it impossible for Mitt to identify with middle-class America.

    June 6, 2013 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  4. John

    Most people's hindsight is close to 20-20...The real leaders have foresight......something, if he had it, would have led him to the presidency...........the presidency involves a ton of close calls, some decisions are bound to be questionable...including Benghazi......real leaders realize that they will make mistakes, and so will our country and that moving on and improving are far more important than re-hashing what turn out to be less than successful decisions.

    June 6, 2013 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. PK

    Anyone can tear apart every step the president makes. It's his decision , right or wrong.

    June 6, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. ja

    didn't romney los who gives a shake what he thinks, they raise cain about bengahzi, not soul raised cain about wmds, and the pretend terror alert orange green blue mess, we fought two wars based on lies no heads rolled, you gotta suck as you did in losing, sofa chair quarterbacks

    June 6, 2013 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  7. ritmocojo

    If I really want to see Mitt and Ann on tv, I'll just watch 'Gilligan's Island' reruns. At least those are really funny and don't give me goosebumps at the thought that this guy could've been president if it weren't for the intelligent part of the electorate that denied him that. I'm not a religious person but I will say "praise the lord" on dodging that bullet.

    June 6, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  8. Kris Jackson

    Jeez, man. Go to your money bin and swim around in it like Scrooge McDuck for a while. You'll feel better.

    June 6, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  9. SkepticalOne

    We are glad you got your privacy back too Mitt.

    June 6, 2013 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  10. Joey

    Facepalm, people don't listen to Romney because he doesn't know what he is talking about and he's only concerned with 53% of the people in this country

    June 6, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. pl_hapkido

    "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."

    Not sure if it's intentional, but this line is quite humorous. To each his own forte, I guess.

    June 6, 2013 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. MS

    You lost Mitt. Get over it.

    June 6, 2013 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. There Is No Spoon

    Why is this man still getting airtime? Pay no attention to him and let him die in obscurity.

    June 6, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Jason Shapiro

    Who cares what Mittens says or thinks about anything? This guy has always been a liar and an empty suit and now he is just another loser after running one of the worst presidential campaigns in modern history (yup, worse than Dole, Dukakis, Mondale, or Kerry). He is what he has been – a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

    June 6, 2013 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Normagene

    Rice reported what the CIA told her to report. If Mitt would get out of his bubble once in a while he'd know that. Thank heavens this man did not become president.

    June 6, 2013 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Michael

    LOL. Bringing up the same stuff that failed to win him the election. I still remember that awkward moment at the debate where he hung himself on this very issue. It was an awkward moment that really played into Obama's favor.

    June 6, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  17. Stephan

    OK everyone, take a deep breath! Do you really think that Mitt, "What's in it for me" Romney gives a hoot about anything but the almighty buck? Think about it........... Even his family is dysfunctional in this respect. Remember the 47%? Like Reagan, he talks out both sides of his mouth. He could care less about just about everyone except his ego.

    June 6, 2013 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  18. works4me

    You know... Ann didn't want him to win after all. She hated the idea of moving into a smaller house, although she really liked the name.

    June 6, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  19. Joey

    Republicans have no valid reason why Rice shouldn't be National Security Advisor. "She lied about Benghazi" Oh yea, CIA already admitted to providing wrong talking points that they provided the administration and rice

    June 6, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  20. Exterminator

    You lost; get over it.

    June 6, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  21. George

    I thought we already told this fool to kiss off.

    June 6, 2013 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  22. Tony

    Joey, Romney does not care about 53% of the people either, because 53% of the people did not vote for him in the last election.

    June 6, 2013 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  23. ezduzit757

    Romney, YOU are disappointing, so why don't you just shut up and go away

    June 6, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. James

    I am glad someone cares about the 53% of America that supports the other 47%.

    June 6, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. Mr. Flibble

    Hey Mittens, let's talk about the 13 embassy attacks that resulted in the deaths of 53 Americans while under Bush's watch?

    June 6, 2013 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
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