Topics: Barack Obama

Romney says improving economy, not Chris Christie's hug of Obama, cost him election

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Barack Obama,Campaigns,Chris Christie

Mitt Romney, the losing 2012 GOP presidential candidate, said today that he won't run again and blamed his loss to President Obama on the improving employment rate.

"I got my chance. I took my message to the American people. I was not successful. It's time for someone else to take their message to the people and see if they can be successful," he told Fox Business Network's Neil Cavuto Friday night. "I am optimistic about a Republican becoming the next president. I am going to be working for our nominee but I am not running again," he added in comments provided to Secrets.

In a wide-ranging interview, Romney said he thought he could win but the improving unemployment situation near Election Day boosted the president. "You know, events occurred. The unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time just weeks before the election. That changed the national mood. The media celebrated that. Had it stayed above 8 percent, why, that would have made a difference," said Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who has run twice for the presidency.

Many Republicans also blamed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his praise for Obama after Hurricane Sandy for the president's victory, claiming it gave Obama a chance to look bipartisan. But Romney said Christie wasn't to blame.

"Well, I can tell you the hurricane didn't come at the right time. That's not because of Chris Christie. That's because one of the advantages of incumbency is that, when there is an event like that, you get to see the president in a fatherly role and showing his sympathy for people who are harmed, who have been victims of a storm. And, obviously, that gives a little boost to the president's efforts," said Romney.

Key excerpts from the Cavuto interview:

On whether he would run for President again:

"No, we've got other people. I got my chance. I took my message to the American people. I was not successful. It's time for someone else to take their message to the people and see if they can be successful. I am optimistic about a Republican becoming the next president. I am going to be working for our nominee but I am not running again."

On whether his family was bitter after his loss:

"Anybody who is a Republican who goes into politics and thinks they're going to get a fair shake from the mainstream media is obviously missing some IQ points. You go into it knowing you're going to have a tough road with the media and if you're not willing to deal with that, don't get into the race."

On whether any members of his family were angry at New Jersey Governor Chris Christie following Hurricane Sandy:

"You know, I can't speak for all the members of my family. I have got 21 grandkids, not to mention my 10 kids and in-laws. I take responsibility for myself. And I have been a governor. And I know what happens when there's been a natural disaster. And that is, you look for help from the federal government. You want the president and you want other agencies of the federal government to step in and provide help. And Governor Christie did what he thought was best for the people of his state, and I don't blame him for that at all. He was helpful to me in my campaign in every way possible. I consider him a good friend. He has a great future. He has been a terrific governor. He's doing a good job in New Jersey. I have got no ill will."

On whether he thinks Governor Christie got a little too chummy with President Obama at the wrong time:

"Well, I can tell you the hurricane didn't come at the right time. That's not because of Chris Christie. That's because one of the advantages of incumbency is that, when there is an event like that, you get to see the president in a fatherly role and showing his sympathy for people who are harmed, who have been victims of a storm. And, obviously, that gives a little boost to the president's efforts. And that's just the nature of how our system works and the nature of politics. I'm not going to go back and try and revisit that. The right thing for me to do is to look forward and to say, how can the things I care about, which are helping put people back to work, getting America on track to a balanced budget, fixing our schools, improving our health care system and getting the costs down, how can I do those things from where I sit today?"

On why he thinks he lost the election:

"We went after that first debate as hard and heavy as we could, and kept on promoting that as well as we thought we could. I'm sure people come up with ideas of things we might have done differently. That's always the nature of Monday-morning quarterbacking. But when you're in the middle of the game fighting hard yard by yard, you're doing your very best. And I believe that my team was a superb team. I spoke with a leading Democrat. I won't mention his name, but one of the top leaders of the Democratic Party. He said, look, I thought you had won one week out. This was a very close race. But, you know, events occurred. The unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time just weeks before the election. That changed the national mood. The media celebrated that. Had it stayed above 8 percent, why, that would have made a difference. But, all told, you're not going to spend your time going back and saying, what kinds of events could have happened differently? I made plenty of mistakes in the campaign. The President made mistakes in his campaign. No one runs a perfect campaign. The net result of all of it was, he won, I lost. You get over that. You learn from the experience, and you move on, and you say, how do we fight for what's right?"

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