In election cycles past, losing presidential candidates have been content to fade into the background, avoiding interviews and sidestepping questions about pressing political matters.
But that has not been the case with 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who seemed to pop up everywhere from “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” to “The Rachael Ray Show” last fall as he promoted his wife’s cookbook, and resurfaced again this month as Netflix released a new documentary about his two presidential campaigns.
After attending the premiere of “Mitt” at the Sundance Film Festival last weekend, Romney appeared on NBC’s “Today” show on Friday offering his thoughts on the security threats facing the Olympic Winter Games at Sochi (“I believe the Games will be safe,” the former head of the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics said); Hillary Rodham Clinton’s White House prospects (she’s beatable, he says); and the George Washington Bridge scandal that has engulfed the administration of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.
Romney, who considered Christie as his vice presidential running mate, said he had spoken with the New Jersey governor and believed he had taken the right steps to address the allegations of misconduct by his staff.
“He took responsibility. He fired people that were responsible for the scandal and he has moved on as a leader,” Romney told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie.
Asked by Guthrie whether Clinton was “beatable” as the Democratic nominee in 2016, Romney replied “I’m sure she is, because I think people recognize the country is just not doing what it needs to do.”
The two-time presidential candidate also reiterated that he will not consider another run for the White House.
“This is a time for Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Jeb Bush, Mike Pence, John Kasich -- a long list -- Marco Rubio,” Romney said, listing possible Republican presidential candidates. “There are a lot of folks that should have the chance to be our nominee and I’m going to support the one who gets the prize.”
The former Massachusetts governor also spoke about the decision to grant Greg Whitley, the director of the “Mitt” documentary, access to private moments with his family throughout his 2008 and 2012 campaigns, including times when they gathered for prayer.
The film, which was released Friday on Netflix, does not address in any depth some of the most controversial moments of the campaigns, such as Romney’s 2012 remark in a private fundraiser that 47% of Americans were unlikely to support him because they were dependent on government. But it offers an intimate family portrait because of the unusual access given to Whitley, and offers an image of Romney that stands in stark contrast to the buttoned-down, press-averse creation of his campaign team.
“There were some scenes I wish he wouldn’t have included,” Romney told Guthrie in the interview that aired Friday morning. “There are couple of scenes where we were praying, for instance. And I knew he was in the room, but I didn’t think he was actually filming.”
In the film, Romney said, “we have my wife praying, and me as well, and we have scenes of Ann and I hugging each other and talking very personally to one another, and gosh darn it, he captured all that and then he had the chutzpah to actually use it.”