Romney's biggest Obama disappointment: No agenda

May 31, 2013 at 2:30 AM
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LA JOLLA, Calif., May 31 (UPI) -- Losing U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said his biggest disappointment with President Obama's second term is its lack of clear "agenda."

"We are now over 100 days, and we have yet to see any particular agenda," Romney told The Wall Street Journal. "That is my view, that the extraordinary disappointment of the president's second term is where the opportunity was greatest, he has proposed the least. He continues to campaign as if there is another election, and there isn't."

The former Massachusetts governor said he was prepared, if he had won in November, to lay out "what my agenda would be in the first 100 days -- legislation filed, regulations rewritten, executive orders rewritten and so forth.

"All of this designed to jump-start the economy, get us more globally competitive and help the middle class," he said.

"I presumed the president would have the same kind of effort underway. And yet the only thing that has come forward has been immigration reform, which is very important, and that has been done entirely by the Senate."

The White House declined to comment.

Romney said now that more than a half-year has passed since his election loss, he hoped to re-enter the national dialogue.

"What I want to do, from a public standpoint, is to help shape national priorities, to influence public opinions and to affect the agenda of leaders," he told the Journal from his home in La Jolla, Calif.

"How to do that is partly up to me and partly outside of my control," he said.

"In our country, the guy who loses the presidential election isn't expected to jump on the airwaves and try and promote himself," Romney said. "We will speak out from time to time, but I'm not going to be bothering the airwaves with a constant series of speeches."

As a first step in his return, Romney plans to host 200 "Experts and Enthusiasts" to a four-day summit next week at a Park City, Utah, mountain resort 30 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

The summit, which isn't a fundraiser but carries a $5,000-a-couple entry fee, will feature donors, potential 2016 Republican presidential contenders Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who was Romney's 2012 running mate, and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was derided by some Romney supporters after he praised Obama's response to Hurricane Sandy in the final stretch of the presidential campaign.

A few Democrats will be at the event too, including Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod, one the masterminds behind Romney's defeat.

"I'll confess I was a bit surprised when they invited me," Axelrod told the Journal, noting he'd never even met Romney.

"But this was an invitation extended in good faith, recognizing that the things that unite us are bigger than what divides us," Axelrod said.

The meeting, which will be closed to outsiders and the press, will be "forward looking" but also will look back at the lost race, Romney said.

Concerning the GOP's direction, Romney said: "Having lost the election, I don't look at myself as the person best equipped to prescribe where the party should go, going forward. But there are things that stand out."

One of them, he said, is "to do is a much better job appealing to minorities. We have not been able to effectively translate our message in a way that minorities understand that it is designed to be of the greatest benefit for them.

"There is no doubt that the conservative principles we hold are best for the working families of this country," Romney said.

"I look at my own campaign and I wish we had done a lot more advertising on Hispanic media and combated the ads the Obama folks were running there," he said. "We just didn't devote the appropriate level of resources to that. We devoted much more than the prior campaign, the 2008 campaign, to minority media, but we are going to have to do a much better job."

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