Watching the Sunday shows so you don’t have to

Romney says losing "kills" him, GOP learns to love sequestration and Woodward invites POTUS for a visit

Topics: Mitt Romney, John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, Elections 2012, Sequestration, Bob Woodward,

Despite all of Mitt Romney’s phoniness, there was always one thing that was real about him: The man desperately wanted to be president. Speaking today with “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace in a lengthy post-mortem interview, Romney’s remorse was palpable.

“It kills me not to be there, not to be in the White House,” Romney lamented.

His wife, Ann, who sat next to him, agreed. “I’m like a she-lion when it comes to defending him,” she said. “And I mourn the fact that he’s not there.” Of the defeat, she added: “We were a little blindsided.”

Mitt acknowledged that he was surprised by the loss, but showed some real contrition. “I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did,” he said.

Ann, however, said she was “happy to blame the media.” The press’ bias “never let the American people see the real Mitt,” she explained.

The “real mistake,” Romney said of his campaign, was his inability to reach out to minority voters. But incredibly, Romney could not let go of the “gifts” sentiment that permeated his campaign, especially as highlighted by the “47 percent” tape, saying the main reason that Obama won among minorities was because he essentially bribed them with free health care. “Obamacare’s attractiveness was something we underestimated,” Romney said.

He denied that all the hard-right positions he took in the GOP primary hurt him among minorities, especially his notion of “self-deportation.”

After Romney’s interview, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that the Obamacare gift idea is “a bit of an excuse to explain away the damage he did to himself on self-deportation.”

Meanwhile, on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he was determined to keep $1.2 trillion in cuts in place over the next decade, downplaying the danger of sequestration and insisting there will be no new revenue increases.

House Speaker John Boehner, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” struck a similar note, but had some issues getting his facts straight. “I don’t know whether it’s going to hurt the economy or not. I don’t think anyone quite understands how the sequester is really going to work,” he said.



The non-partisan budget experts at the CBO think they have a very good idea of how the sequester is going to work, and so did John Boehner himself just last month when he wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal saying the sequester “threatens U.S. national security, thousands of jobs and more.” When “Meet the Press” host David Gregory mentioned the op-ed, Boehner dodged, saying only that he’s “concerned about its impact on our economy” before changing the subject.

Meanwhile, Boehner said that Obama hadn’t put forward a plan to undo sequestration.

“Mr. Speaker, that’s just not true,” Gregory replied sharply. “They’ve made it very clear, as the president just did, that he has a plan that he’s put forward that involves entitlement cuts, that involves spending cuts. That you’ve made a choice, as have Republicans, to leave tax loopholes in place and you’d rather have those and live with all these arbitrary cuts.”

Bottom line: Republican leaders seem to be much happier with sequestration than they’ve let on until now, and are probably content to let it run its course without finding an alternative, unless the political pressure brought to bear against them makes that untenable.

Finally, Gene Sperling and Bob Woodard continued their spat, with Sperling saying he had no intention of threatening the legendary journalist. Woodward, defended himself on CBS’s “Face the Nation” and said he hopes to make amends with the White House.

“I am in the business of listening, and I’m going to invite [Sperling] over to my house, if he’ll come, and hopefully he’ll bring others from the White House, maybe the president himself,” Woodward said.

This is fairly grandiose thinking. One goes to the president, the president does not go to you, even if you’re the Speaker of the House, let alone Bob Woodward.

Alex Seitz-Wald

Alex Seitz-Wald is Salon's political reporter. Email him at aseitz-wald@salon.com, and follow him on Twitter @aseitzwald.

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