February 5th, 2014
06:09 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney: I would go to the Olympics and take family

(CNN) – Former GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, who ran the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, said Wednesday he would feel secure enough in traveling to Sochi if his calendar allowed it.

"For those of us who love the Olympics and love the experience and want to see the athletes compete, it's something I would feel safe in doing, I'd take my family to do," the former Massachusetts governor said on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."

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But given the security concerns about the region-especially in light of a new threat emerging Wednesday involving toothpaste tubes-Romney said it's understandable to be concerned.

"I don't think there's any way around" those concerns, he said, adding he understands why some lawmakers have said they personally wouldn't go to Sochi. "But frankly given my love of Olympic sports and the athletes, I would do that if my schedule allowed it."

The United States is advising airlines with direct flights to Russia to be aware of the possibility that explosive materials could be concealed in toothpaste or cosmetic tubes, according to a law enforcement source.

The source emphasized there was no known threat to the United States, but the notice to U.S. and international carriers is based on new intelligence information ahead of the start of the Olympics in Sochi this week.

Romney said if this is in fact a credible threat, "you would ask yourself why you wouldn't insist that any flights going into Sochi or in the region would prohibit any kind of tubes of toothpaste or anything else...to make sure that this threat couldn't possibly be carried out."

Aside from the emerging threat, Romney said he would feel safe in the "hardened venues" in Sochi that will be heavily guarded by law enforcement officials, such as the places where athletes are competing, the so-called Olympic Village, the hotels and official transportation system.

"Even there, there's no such thing as a 100% guarantee. But nonetheless you can't walk through life fearing that buildings are going to fall on you or that terrorists are going to strike any moment," he said.

Republican Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House subcommittee on terrorism and intelligence, said on the same program that he wouldn't go to Sochi, citing the lack of intelligence the Russians have provided to the United States.

Spectators will be "reasonably safe" he said, but added, "I would not go, myself."

"I don't think it's worth the risk. Odds are that nothing is going to happen, but the odds are higher than for any other Olympics, I believe, that something could happen," he said. He agreed with Romney that the Olympic site itself is locked down pretty well, but as for "getting there and the surrounding areas, I would say there's real cause for concern."

CNN's Mike Ahlers contributed to this report.

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Olympics • Russia
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Name jk. Sfl. GOP CRUZ lee&rubio 24billion dallar LOSS of your tax money conservatives,the garbage of America.

    Kings a chicken like most of the GOP !!!!

    February 5, 2014 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. bill

    send obama and biden and kerry and hillary and rice and holder.

    February 5, 2014 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Bill

    Je m'appelle Mitt. Okay, bub. Then go to the Olympics you ridiculous clown. You have the time on your hands.

    February 5, 2014 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. DW

    It would really be nice if Mitt and Ann Romney would just go away.The American people are sick and tired of looking at the same old people resurfacing time and time again .There are far too many good decent people out there that would make good leaders and President . The problem is there is a small group of people that consider themselves intitled to run something , no more Bushes ,Romneys or any of those who have run and loss. Please jus go away.We are more than sick of looking at you people .Most of you are nothing but a bunch of George Wallace haters and we are sick of you.

    February 5, 2014 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  5. Bill from GA

    Well, Mitts, GO!

    Don't just talk about it, DO IT!

    And take the family, too.

    You waiting for us to take up a collection for you?
    Or another Tax Break??

    February 5, 2014 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. don in albuquerque

    Does anybody care what he would do? Why is this news?

    February 5, 2014 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  7. Tampa Tim

    Mittens is or isn't going? This isn't France during the Vietnam War, so Mittens will be staying home.

    February 5, 2014 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  8. Thomas

    We live in the world of man made snow .

    I can't wait till they have the Winter Olympics in Saudi Arabia .

    February 5, 2014 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    Romney clear your schedule and go.

    February 5, 2014 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  10. David R

    And, we would be happy to send you. Stay there.

    February 5, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. cbp

    Perhaps he should go and not just say he would go.

    February 5, 2014 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  12. Doug

    Then get the family together and go!

    February 5, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. Doug

    It was one of the worst choices the Olympic committee has ever made, apparently.

    February 5, 2014 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  14. Malory Archer

    So go. Nobody's stopping you.

    February 5, 2014 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  15. S. B. Stein

    You really have to wonder about Romney since he questioned Britain's handling of the Olympics. He now thinks Russia is doing a good job when he questioned them during the last presidential election. It seems that he doesn't know who is our friend and who isn't.

    February 5, 2014 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  16. Vince

    Please go. Good ridden... Just don't use the Tax payers for your personal trip

    February 5, 2014 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  17. Jon

    But.................your not going so your statement is worthless!!!

    February 5, 2014 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  18. jerrylax

    obama's on going assault on Russia..sending our gay friends and etc…makes me wonder if the reporting we are getting is bias. My sense is id trust Putin to keep it safe before id trust obama…who couldn't keep the Boston Marathon safe.

    February 5, 2014 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  19. I'm Me

    Either everyone mentioned in this article is insane or I am. Maybe both.

    February 5, 2014 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  20. just me

    Sounds like his position on war zones. " oh, people should definitely go, it'll be fine. What's that? Me and mine? Sorry, we have other plans. "

    February 5, 2014 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  21. Jonathon Powelly

    How convenient that the calendar doesn't allow it.

    February 5, 2014 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  22. John M

    Better him than me.

    February 6, 2014 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  23. W.G.

    It´s not like he´s never been wrong before ! HAHAHA!

    February 6, 2014 05:26 am at 5:26 am |
  24. Marie MD

    Then go and take the whole overpopulation of the world look alike dress alike family and please don't come back.
    We really don't like you or yours. Really!

    February 6, 2014 06:21 am at 6:21 am |