WASHINGTON — One hundred seventeen days later, Mitt Romney still isn't over it.
Making his first public comments since losing November's presidential election, Romney still appeared mystified that the country didn't see things his way. He went on the attack against President Barack Obama during a wide-ranging interview on Fox News Sunday, as if the Republican hadn't lost a beat since giving his last stump speech.
Explaining the defeat, Romney and his wife spread around the blame — Mitt Romney to Obama winning over so many blacks and Hispanics by enacting universal health care, Ann Romney to a news media she believed unfairly caricatured her husband. Although Mitt Romney said "you rehearse all the mistakes that you made," he mostly did not dwell on his own failings as a candidate.
Romney insisted he is getting on with his life — Fox showed him pushing some grandkids on a swing set and cradling his youngest in his arms ("No. 19 and No. 20," he called the newborn twins) — but he revealed flashes of pain. For him, the White House forever will remain an unfulfilled destiny.
"I look at what's happening right now, I wish I were there," Romney said. "It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House doing what needs to be done."
Up until Election Day, Mitt and Ann Romney said, they thought they would win. "We were a little blindsided," Ann Romney told Fox anchor Chris Wallace. She seemed more heartbroken than her husband, saying she has cried since he lost on Nov. 6.
Romney began easing back onto the public stage with Sunday's interview. He is scheduled to give his first speech since the election at the Conservative Political Action Conference next week.
In the Fox interview, Romney was not shy about critiquing Obama's handling of the nation's fiscal crises — continuing the fights that shaped the 2012 campaign. The hardest part about losing, Romney said, has been watching "this golden moment just slip away with politics." He accused Obama of using automatic federal spending cuts known as the sequester to score political points.