Mitt & Ann Romney tells Chris Wallace – Fox News why they thought they had won the 2012 Presidential Election. Interview March 3, 2013

CHRIS WALLACE of “Fox News Sunday,” sitting down with Mitt and Ann Romney, at their home in La Jolla, Calif.: “Is it true that you both thought going in you were going to win?”

ANN ROMNEY: “Well, I for sure did. I think Mitt intellectually was thinking that it was possible we couldn’t; he knew how close it was. But my heart and my whole soul was we’re going to win. I was there.”

MITT ROMNEY : “Yeah, I think we were convinced that we would win. We saw that the polls were very close. But we knew that the energy and passion was with our voters … and my heart said we were going to win. … The exit polls came out first and suggested that it was going to be very close in Florida. And we thought we’d win solidly in Florida. So it was increasingly clear that this was going to be, with the best-case scenario, a long night. … [I]t was a slow recognition until, ultimately, when the Ohio numbers began coming in and they were disappointing. I said, ‘Look, this looks like we’ve lost’ — wasn’t certain. Some people said, ‘Oh, look, if this number here comes in, why, you could win.’ But you know, by 8 or 9 o’clock, it was pretty clear that we were not going to win.” …

WALLACE: “We begin to see random pictures of you, pumping your own gas with your hair messed up; hugging Ann in the kitchen; hanging out with the kids at Disneyland.” …

MITT ROMNEY: “[W[e were just living our life. And obviously people would see us in various places, either walking along the beach or, in this case, getting gas for the car. And they’d take out their cell phones and take a picture. None of those were done by professional photographers or I might have, you know, combed my hair, seen them coming.” …

ANN ROMNEY: “I think it takes time. I think I’m mostly — you know, the great ‘Princess Bride’ line, ‘mostly dead.’ I’m mostly over it. But not completely. You have moments where you … go back and feel the sorrow of the loss. And so, yes, I think we’re not mostly dead yet.”

MITT ROMNEY, on his post-election “gifts” remarks: “The president had the power of incumbency. Obamacare was very attractive, particularly to those without health insurance. And they came out in large numbers to vote. So that was part of a successful campaign. … I’m not going to second guess what other people have to say. Look, I don’t look back. I look forward.”

WALLACE, to Mrs. Romney: “Why do you think he lost?”

ANN ROMNEY: “I think they had a better ground game. … I think we were not aware — you know, we certainly had the passion coming from our side — and I don’t think we were as aware of the passion that was coming from the other side. I think we were a little blindsided by that.”

WALLACE: “Do you think that the two of you at all contributed to this image … that you were so wealthy that you were somehow out of touch with the concerns of the average American?”

ANN ROMNEY: “[T]hat’s a reality that you can’t change. We are who we are. The thing that was frustrating to me is that people didn’t really get to know Mitt for who he was.

WALLACE: “[T]here were reports [by POLITICO] that you and your oldest son, Tagg, were frustrated with the Romney campaign, that they didn’t, quote, ‘let Mitt be Mitt,’ that they didn’t let him show his more open, compassionate side. True?”

ANN ROMNEY: “Well, of course. It was partly — it’s true. But it was not just the campaign’s fault. I believe it was the media’s fault as well, is that he was not giving — being given a fair shake, that people weren’t allowed to really see him for who he was.” …

WALLACE: “Do you think the media was in the tank for Barack Obama?” [Laughter]

ANN ROMNEY: “I think that it’s — anytime you’re running for office, you always think that you’re being portrayed unfairly. And we of course, on our side, believe that there’s more bias in favor of the other side. I think that that’s a pretty universally-felt opinion.”

WALLACE: “What do you think of the campaign that Barack Obama ran?”

ANN ROMNEY: “I think, obviously, it was a winning campaign. It worked.”

WALLACE: “Do you think it was fair?”

ANN ROMNEY: “No. … Portrayal of my husband. … He really is a selfless person that really, truly cared about the American people. … He has enormous skill sets in dealing with difficult issues. And I totally believe at this moment, if Mitt were there in the office, that we would not be facing sequestration right now.” …

MITT ROMNEY: “We’ve renamed our foundation The Romney Foundation for Children. We’re going to help the very poorest kids on the world. We’re going to help kids in this country with disease and great difficulty. And that’s taking more and more of our time. We’ve got a chance to spend more time with grandkids. We just had twins born, as you know, and being with them was a thrill.” …

WALLACE: “Were you approached by ‘Dancing with the Stars’?” …

ANN ROMNEY: “I was. … I did consider it. … I love the show. … I would’ve loved to have done it, and I am turning 64, and I started thinking about it. I’m not really as flexible as I should be. [Laughter] … I understand Dorothy Hamill has been picked, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, am I glad I didn’t do that! I wouldn’t want to compete against Dorothy!”…

MITT ROMNEY: “We see … one grandchild or another every day. We took them to Disneyland. We took them snow skiing. … Our … sons Matt and Craig live close to an open-space area. We throw the ball for the dogs, we play sports with the kids. They like kicking balls, hitting baseballs. We do the things that grandparents are expected to do with grandkids.”

CHRIS WALLACE THEN SAT DOWN SOLO WITH MITT:

ROMNEY: “I recognize that I lost, so I’m not going to be the leader of the Republican Party. Other people will take that mantle. But I want to have influence on getting our party into a position where we can be successful in solving the problems the country has. … I recognize that as the guy who lost the election, I’m not in a position to tell everybody else how to win, all right? They’re not going to listen, and I don’t have the credibility to do that anyway. But I still care. … I’ll look at what’s happening right now, I wish I were there. It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done. The president is the leader of the nation. The president brings people together, does the deals, does the trades, knocks the heads together; the president leads. And I don’t see that kind of leadership happening right now.”

WALLACE: “What is this president doing?”

ROMNEY: “Well, he’s campaigning. He’s the only one that can say to his own party: ‘Look, you guys, I need you on this.’ And get some Republicans aside … pull them off one by one. … [N]o one can think that [the sequester has] been a success for the president. 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. … That causes the Republicans to retrench and to put up a wall and to fight back. It’s a very natural human emotion. …

“The president has the opportunity to lead the nation and to bring Republicans and Democrats together. It’s a job he’s got to do and it’s a job only the president can do. … [T]his is America we’re talking about, at a critical time. And, … you know, Nero is — is fiddling.” [Laughter] …

–On the primaries: “[T]he idea that somehow … the primary made me become more conservative than I was just isn’t accurate. On the other hand, a long and blistering primary, where people are attacking one another and where the attacks sometimes are not on the mark but are creating an … unfavorable impression, those things are not helpful.

–On the “47 percent” video: “[I]t was a very unfortunate statement that I made. 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 and be used. But, you know, I did. And it was very harmful. What I said is not what I believe. Obviously, my whole campaign, my whole life has been devoted to helping people, all of the people. I care about all the people of the country. … There’s no question that hurt and did real damage to my campaign.”

–On Chris Christie and Superstorm Sandy: “I don’t think that’s why the president won the election. My campaign had to kind of stop. … [W]e were getting ready to hammer, hammer, hammer our message. We had to stop. But as for Chris Christie, Chris did what he thought was the best for the people of his state. And I respect … that. …

“I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did. … I see my mistakes and I see my flaws … I did better this time than I did the time before. [Laughter] And I won’t get a third chance. I’m not doing it again. The weakness that our campaign had, and that I had, is we weren’t effective in taking my message primarily to minority voters, to Hispanic Americans, African Americans, other minorities. That was a real weakness. We did very well with the majority population, but not with minority populations. And that was a — that was a failing. That was a real mistake. …

“I think the Obamacare attractiveness and feature was something we underestimated … particularly among lower incomes. And we just didn’t do as good a job at connecting with that audience as we should have. … I’m not going to disappear. I’m not running for office. I don’t have a big organization that’s out speaking in my behalf. But I care about America. I care about the people that can’t find jobs. I care about the fact that we’re racking up larger deficits and putting the peril of the future generation very much in — in play. I really care about this country. I care about my 20 grandkids, the kind of America they’re going to have. And sitting on the sidelines when so much is at stake is just not in my nature.”

MITT ROMNEY - ANN ROMNEY

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