Opportunity to Fix U.S. Economy Squandered, Romney Says

President Barack Obama and the U.S. Congress are squandering an “almost once-in-generational opportunity for America to solve its fiscal problems,” former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said.

That opportunity, Romney said in a “Fox News Sunday” interview was the combination of the expiration of Republican President George W. Bush’s income-tax cuts at the end of 2012 and the automatic spending cuts that went into effect March 1.

“I see this as this huge opportunity, and it’s being squandered by politics, by people who are more interested in a political victory than they are in doing what’s right for the country,” Romney said in the Fox interview. “And it’s very frustrating.”

“The hardest thing about losing is watching this, this critical moment, this golden moment, just slip away with politics,” Romney, who lost the 2012 election to President Obama, a Democrat, said.

Romney didn’t say what he would have done instead.

Obama “has the opportunity to lead the nation and to bring Republicans and Democrats together,” Romney said. “It’s a job he’s got to do and it’s a job only the president can do.”

Asked whether New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie’s “literal embracing” of Obama in the wake of superstorm Sandy hurt his presidential bid, Romney said, “I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did.”

The chief weakness of his effort, he said, was that “we weren’t effective in taking our message to minorities, to Hispanic-Americans, African-Americans. We did well among the majority population. But that was our failing.”

Romney is scheduled to give his first post-election policy address later this month at the American Conservative Union’s Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland.

To contact the reporter on this story: Derek Wallbank in Washington at dwallbank@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Katherine Rizzo at krizzo5@bloomberg.net

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