Former Massachusetts governor and GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticized President Barack Obama on Sunday for not finding a way to stop the $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that went into effect Friday.
In his first television interview since the presidential election, Romney said Obama has been “campaigning” across the country and “berating” Republicans rather than working to find a way to get both parties in Congress to overcome gridlock and end the automatic cuts, known as the sequester.
“To date what we have seen is the president out campaigning to the American people, doing rallies around the country, flying around the country and berating Republicans,” Romney said in an appearance with his wife, Ann, on “Fox News Sunday,” saying such an approach only intensifies partisanship.
“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,” Romney said.
“The president is the leader of the nation. He brings people together and does the deals, does the trades, knocks the heads together and the president leads, and I don’t see that kind of leadership happening right now,” Romney said.
While the unsuccessful presidential candidate was circumspect about what role he will play in the Republican Party going forward, he acknowledged that losing the presidential race has not been easy to accept.
“I’m not going to disappear. I’m not running for office. I don’t have a big organization that is out speaking on my behalf, but I care about America,” Romney said. But he added that “sitting on the sidelines when so much is at stake is just not in my nature.”
The former governor said he was confident he would win the presidential contest right up to Election Day, but his perception shifted as exit polls showed a tight race in Florida and vote totals tilted toward Obama in Ohio.
Romney conceded that the widely publicized comment he made at a private fundraiser that seemed to dismiss “47 percent” of the nation’s voters may have contributed to his loss, as did his campaign’s inability to attract more Hispanic and black voters.
Of his political future, Romney said, “I recognize that, as the guy who lost the election, I’m not in the position to tell everybody else what to do — they are not going to listen and I don’t have the credibility to do that.”
Ann Romney dispelled rumors that she had been asked to run for the Massachusetts Senate seat vacated by now Secretary of State John Kerry.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.