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Romney Rejoins National Debate, Citing 'Disappointment' With Obama

Image: Romney Rejoins National Debate, Citing 'Disappointment' With Obama

Friday, 31 May 2013 06:06 PM

By Melanie Batley

Mitt Romney expressed "extraordinary disappointment" Friday with how little President Barack Obama has achieved so far in his second term, and says he plans to rejoin the political dialogue in the coming months to "help shape national priorities."

In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts governor said he plans to speak out on a handful of big issues, including global youth unemployment, U.S. competitiveness, and declining family structures. But he will manage his public appearances in moderation and suggested he would avoid offering advice to Republican leaders on what direction the party ought to go.

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"I'm not going to be bothering the airwaves with a constant series of speeches," Romney told the Journal. "Having lost the election, I don't look at myself as the person best equipped to prescribe where the party should go, going forward."

Romney steered clear of remarking on the IRS scandal or the other controversies surrounding the White House, saying he was "more disappointed" by the "lack of any clear White House agenda in the first 100 days."

"The extraordinary disappointment of the president's second term is where the opportunity was greatest, and he has proposed the least. He continues to campaign as if there is another election, and there isn't," he said.

To jump-start his re-emergence, Romney is gathering 200 luminaries from both politics and the private sector next week for a three-day summit at a Utah mountain resort where he said they would "exchange views and update our thinking about where the world is headed and what the national agenda ought to be."

His "Experts and Enthusiasts" event, as he calls it, is the first big gathering since his loss last November to President Obama that Romney has organized himself, the Journal reported. He said he sees it as a last chance to hang out with supporters and former campaign aides "before we all go off in different directions."

The gathering, though, will include a few past enemies from last year's campaign battlefield. Among those attending the $5,000-ticketed event, which is not billed as a fundraiser, will be Obama's former top political adviser, David Axelrod.

"I'll confess I was a bit surprised when they invited me," Axelrod told the Journal, noting that he has never met the man he helped defeat last year. "But this was an invitation extended in good faith, recognizing that the things that unite us are bigger than what divides us."

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In addition, the event will also feature Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who was Romney's vice presidential running mate last year, as well as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, one of Romney's earliest and most vocal supporters in 2012.

Ryan and Christie will speak at the gathering, along with Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. All three are considered potential GOP presidential contenders in 2016.

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