WASHINGTON -- Mitt Romney claimed during a call with donors on Wednesday that he received a call from former President Bill Clinton, who told Romney that had it not been for Hurricane Sandy, he might have won the election.
ABC News offers the following transcript of the former GOP presidential nominee’s comments:
”I spoke with President Clinton the day before yesterday, he called and spent 30 minutes chatting with me. He said a week out I thought you were going to win. And he said, but the hurricane happened, and it gave the president a chance to be presidential, and to look bipartisan, and you know he got a little more momentum, and of course he also said that when he was watching Ann speak at the Republican convention, he decided he was tempted to join the Republican Party. So he may have just been effusive with generous comments as he chatted.”
Clinton, of course, served as one of President Barack Obama’s chief surrogates in the latter months of the campaign, playing a significant role in breaking down and debunking the vague components of Romney’s proposed tax plan.
The former president would not be the first to frame Sandy for Romney’s loss. In the days leading up to the election, Republican strategist Karl Rove and aides within Romney’s campaign began pointing fingers at the hurricane for halting the candidate’s momentum. Republicans also decried top Romney surrogate New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for lavishing the president with praise over his response efforts in the wake of the storm.
But the theory that Sandy is accountable for the president's victory is questionable. Little evidence in both national and swing state polling supported the idea that Romney had sustained the momentum he gained following the first presidential debate.
A spokesperson for Clinton did not immediately return a request for comment.
During the same call reflecting on his loss, Romney also attributed his defeat to "gifts" the president handed out to Latino, black and youth voters.
"The president's campaign, if you will, focused on giving targeted groups a big gift," he said. "He made a big effort on small things."