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After defeat, cloudy future ahead for Mitt Romney

  • Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney arrives to his election night rally, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, in Boston. President Obama defeated Republican challenger former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

BOSTON — Mitt Romney spent the past six years running for president. After his loss to President Barack Obama, he'll have to chart a different course.

His initial plan: spend time with his family. He has five sons and 18 grandchildren, with a 19th on the way.

"I don't look at postelection to be a time of regrouping. Instead it's a time of forward focus," Romney told reporters aboard his plane Tuesday evening as he returned to Boston after the final campaign stop of his political career. "I have, of course, a family and life important to me, win or lose."

The most visible member of that family — wife Ann Romney — says neither she nor her husband will seek political office again.

"Absolutely he will not run again," she told the hosts of ABC's "The View" in October when asked if a loss would mean the end of Romney's political career. "Nor will I."

Romney's senior advisers refused to speculate publicly about what might be next for their longtime boss. There was a general consensus, however: The 65-year-old Romney is unlikely to retire altogether. But following his defeat, his future role in a divided Republican Party is unclear.

"He's not a guy who's going to stay still, right. He's not a guy that's just going to hit a beach, play a lot of golf. He'll do something," said Russ Schriefer, one of Romney's top strategists.

The Republican presidential nominee spent most of his career in private business. He's run for office four times, and lost all but his bid for Massachusetts governor in 2002. That year, he ran as a moderate Republican who supported abortion rights and struck a conciliatory tone on gay rights and climate change. He also ran for the Senate.

After he decided to run for president, some of those positions changed. In his two presidential campaigns, he ran as an opponent of abortion, advocated amending the Constitution to ban gay marriage and described himself as "severely conservative."

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