POLITICS
03/03/2013 10:50 am ET Updated Mar 04, 2013

Mitt Romney Reflects On Election Loss In First TV Interview Since Then

WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney said Sunday that until late into the evening on Election Day 2012, he thought he was going to win the presidency.

"By 8 or 9 o'clock, it was clear that we were not going to win," Romney told Chris Wallace on "Fox News Sunday."

In his first television interview since that loss, Romney reflected on almost all facets of the campaign, not just the night the White House slipped from his grasp. Below, some other takeaways from the interview:

Asked about the "47 percent" video that helped sink his presidential candidacy, Mitt said he'd been misunderstood. "It was a very unfortunate statement that I made," he said. "It's not what I meant ... What I said is not what I believe." He also acknowledged the toll it took on his candidacy: "That hurt, there is no question that hurt and did some real damage to my campaign."

Romney still opposes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, telling Wallace he does not support an idea put forward by the "Gang of Eight" senators to allow provisional status. "People who have come here illegally should not be given a path to permanent citizenship just because they have come here illegally," he said.

Republicans need to do a better job of bringing minority voters to their side, Romney added, when asked about the future of the GOP. But nobody in the party, he joked, is going to listen to the guy who lost.

As for Hurricane Sandy and the subsequent snub by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) -- who, in the days after the storm, praised President Barack Obama -- that wasn't why he lost, said Romney. "I lost my election because of my campaign, not because of what anyone else did," he said. "I see my mistakes and I see my flaws, and I did better this time than I did the time before."

Romney criticized Obama over the sequester, hinting that he would have accepted a 10-1 spending-cuts-to-tax-hikes deal. "It kills me not to be there in the White House doing what needs to be done," he said. "The hardest thing about losing is watching this critical moment, this golden moment slip away with politics."

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