Why are Mitt and Ann Romney back in the news?

Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, were lying low after the election loss last fall. But now they're giving interviews and talking about Obama's second term, Washington scandals, and an issues summit Mr. Romney is hosting next week at a Utah mountain resort.

By , Staff writer

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    Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney (c.), joined by his wife, Ann (r.), with an unidentified spectator at a title fight in Las Vegas on Dec. 8, 2012. After months in seclusion, Mr. Romney is planning a 'forward-looking' three-day summit next week for some 200 supporters at a Utah mountain resort.
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When Mitt Romney lost last November to President Obama, it seemed a safe bet that he and his wife, Ann, would fade from public view. On balance, Republicans weren’t all that impressed with Mr. Romney’s campaign or his political chops.

And indeed, until now, the Romneys have been lying low. But they’re back. Mr. Romney is critiquing Mr. Obama’s second term, touting an “issues summit” he’s holding in Utah next week, and offering to campaign for 2014 candidates. Mrs. Romney has gone public with her views on Washington’s scandal outbreak and her pick for the 2016 presidential race.

“We are now over 100 days [into Obama’s second term], and we have yet to see any particular agenda,” Mitt Romney said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal posted Thursday evening. “That is my view, that the extraordinary disappointment of the president’s second term is [that] where the opportunity was greatest, he has proposed the least. He continues to campaign as if there is another election, and there isn’t.”

Recommended: How much do you know about Mitt Romney? A quiz.

Romney said the only second-term initiative of significance thus far is immigration reform, but “that has been done entirely by the Senate.”

In contrast, Romney said he had put in place a transition team of several hundred people and, had he been elected, his first 100 days would have been a stream of legislation, rewritten regulations, and executive orders – “all of this designed to jumpstart the economy, get us more globally competitive, and help the middle class.”

“We were thinking, gosh, we have 100 days to really get the ball rolling,” he said. “So I presumed the president would have the same kind of effort under way.”

Romney also laid out the plan for a “forward-looking” three-day summit next week at a Utah mountain resort for 200 friends and supporters. The summit will be an opportunity to “exchange views and update our thinking about where the world is headed and what the national agenda ought to be.” He listed as themes global youth unemployment, US competitiveness, and the future of the family.

Most interesting guest: David Axelrod, a former top political aide to Obama. Mr. Axelrod, who has never met Romney, told the Journal he will attend with his wife to discuss their daughter’s struggle with epilepsy and their efforts to find a cure.

Romney says he’s considering writing a book and has plans to campaign for 2014 candidates. But, he added, "I'm not going to be bothering the airwaves with a constant series of speeches."

Ann Romney, interviewed Thursday on CBS TV, admitted to frustration in the months after her husband’s loss, but she harbors no bitterness and adds, “Now, I’m really happy with my life.”

Romney finds the recent rash of scandals in Washington “deeply troubling,” especially the revelation that the Internal Revenue Service was targeting tea party groups for extra scrutiny in their applications for tax-exempt status.

"There's this breach of trust that we as all Americans feel right now with our government,” Romney said.

And what about 2016? Just a few months into Obama’s second term, most Americans aren’t paying attention to the early jockeying for the next presidential race. But Ann Romney offered a few thoughts. She praised New Jersey’s Republican Gov. Chris Christie, despite criticism by others that his close cooperation with – and effusive praise of – Obama after superstorm Sandy may have hurt her husband on the eve of the election.  

“Chris is a great guy, and it’s all good,” she said.

Still, Romney added, she and her husband are partial to his 2012 running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan (R) of Wisconsin, for 2016. “But we don’t even know if he’s going to run,” she said. 

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