Mitt Romney came out blazing on “The Tonight Show” Friday night as he fielded questions from Jay Leno about the scandals currently rocking the Obama administration.
It was only the second interview Romney has granted since he lost last fall’s election to President Obama (the other one was with Fox News Channel’s Chris Wallace in February).
On “The Tonight Show,” the Republican made it perfectly clear where he stood on the three stories now rocking the Obama presidency.
Leno got right to it after Romney came on stage, asking for the former candidate’s reaction to each of the scandals — the electronic surveillance of Associated Press reporters, the IRS targeting conservative groups and (possibly) individuals for audits, and the administration’s bungled response to the terrorist attack that killed four American State Department employees in Benghazi, Libya, last September.
On the AP scandal, Romney said: “I think a lot of people are concerned that the First Amendment is being challenged in some way when the Justice Department subpeonas phone records of some 20 different reporters over some period of time. Clearly, it raises questions.”
“Do you find it troubling?” Leno asked him.
“Anytime you have an administration subpeonaing a large number of records from a news media organization, that’s something which is of concern and justifies closer inspection,” Romney said.
“I think most people feel that the media’s sources should be protected. The media should not be subjected to subpeonas from the Justice Department,” he said.
On the IRS scandal: “There are really two concerns with regards to the IRS story,” Romney said. “One is that they’ve admitted now that they did target conservative groups for extra scrutiny … That is a violation of the very fundamental trust that we have that the IRS does not pursue a political agenda. …
“And the other part of the concern is: Were individuals being audited, individuals who donated to republicans or to my campaign or others? Was that used as a weapon — just an audit? My own view is that a special counsel should be appointed [to investigate].”
On the Benghazi scandal: “The biggest question is, we had American men and women serving our country in a hostile place and there was no effort to rescue them,” Romney said.
Romney told Leno he has no regrets about the campaign he ran last year. Or, more to the point, Romney said he doesn’t dwell on it nor spend time reexamining it for at least one big reason: “I am never gonna lose another election because I’m never gonna run again!” he declared.
Leno also got Romney to comment generally about the Obama administration and what it has achieved, if anything. And Romney was candid, saying he’s “no fan” of the president.
Leno and Romney were later joined on-stage by Romney’s wife, Ann.
Leno and Romney even produced a comedy bit that poked fun at the IRS. The bit aired at the very beginning of Friday’s “Tonight Show,” before Jay came on-stage to deliver his monologue (which was full of jokes about the Obama scandals).