Romney admits errors in election campaign

"We did very well with the majority population but not with minority populations": Mitt Romney speaks to Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace in San Diego, California. photograph: reuters

"We did very well with the majority population but not with minority populations": Mitt Romney speaks to Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace in San Diego, California. photograph: reuters

Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 00:00

Defeated Republican challenger confirms he made mistakes in election campaign

In his first interview since losing the presidential election in November, Republican contender Mitt Romney said “it kills me” not to be in the White House and blamed a failure to win over lower-income and black and Hispanic voters for his loss to President Barack Obama.

Speaking to Fox News Sunday, Romney said his infamous comment at a private fundraising dinner that 47 per cent of Americans depended on government had weakened his campaign.

“It’s not what I meant. I didn’t express myself as I wished I would have. You know, when you speak in private you don’t spend as much time thinking about how something could be twisted and distorted. And it could come out wrong . . . There’s no question that hurt and did really damage to my campaign,” he said.

Romney, who was interviewed with his wife Ann, told news anchor Chris Wallace they were “convinced” they would win until the votes in the swing state of Ohio came in.

The failure to attract black and Hispanic votes was “a real weakness”, he said, adding that Obama’s healthcare plan to insure tens of millions of Americans was crucial to his victory.

“We did very well with the majority population but not with minority populations and that was a failing – that was a real mistake . . . We just didn’t do as good a job connecting with that audience as we should have,” he said.

Budgetary challenges

Romney said that he would relish taking on the budgetary challenges dividing the White House and Republicans in Congress. “I’ll look at what’s happening right now – I wish I was there,” he said. “It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done.”

The former Republican governor for Massachusetts said the president should be negotiating deals and leading. “I don’t see that kind of leadership happening right now,” he said.

Romney accused Obama of “campaigning” rather than leading as the “sequester” of automatic, indiscriminate spending cuts of $85 billion (€65 billion) this year came into effect on Friday.

Sequester

The White House and Republicans have blamed each other for the damaging cuts.

“Well, no one can think that that’s been a success for the president,” Romney said. “He didn’t think the sequester would happen. It is happening.

“To date, what we’ve seen is the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country and berating Republicans and blaming and pointing. Now, what does that do? That causes the Republicans to retrench and to put up a wall and to fight back.”

Romney said that “sitting on the sidelines when so much is at stake” was “not in his nature” but he acknowledged the “rollercoaster” ride of being on the election campaign was over.

Ann Romney compared the abrupt end to their high profile during the campaign with being “nobody” again after they had served in a high position in their church.