Mitt Romney attributes loss to Obama 'gifts' to his base voters

Mitt Romney said on a conference call with donors Wednesday that President Obama won the 2012 presidential campaign because of "gifts" given by the administration to black, Hispanic and young voters.

"The President’s campaign focused on giving targeted groups a big gift — so he made a big effort on small things," Romney said, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. "Those small things, by the way, add up to trillions of dollars.”

Romney said moves like the president's healthcare reform legislation and a decision to suspend deportations of certain illegal immigrants who came to the country as children proved "highly motivational" on Election Day. Romney also said he had "gotten beat up pretty bad" on issues including his immigration stance and personal wealth.

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“I am very sorry that we didn’t win,” Romney told the donors. “I know that you expected to win. We expected to win. ... It was very close, but close doesn’t count in this business.”

The comments largely mirrored those by running mate Paul Ryan, who suggested in interviews Tuesday that the president had prevailed because of unexpected "urban" turnout.

"Well, he got turnout," Ryan told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "The president should get credit for achieving record-breaking turnout numbers from urban areas for the most part, and that did win the election for him."

Ryan repeated the line in an interview with WISC-TV, telling the CBS affiliate in Madison, Wis., that Democratic turnout, "especially in urban areas ... definitely gave President Obama a big margin to win this race.”

But while Ryan deferred on questions about a potential 2016 run — telling the station that "everybody's tired of talking about presidential politics" — Romney was a bit more definitive about his plans.

Romney said the campaigns is considering a monthly newsletter “so we can stay informed and have influence on the direction of the party, and perhaps the selection of a future nominee.”

“Which, by the way,” Romney interjected, “will not be me.”

On Wednesday, Obama said he was hoping to meet with Romney sometime before the end of the year.

Obama said he was sure Romney was spending time with his family in the aftermath of the hard-fought campaign but that his hope was "before the end of the year, we have a chance to sit down and talk." He also praised the Republican nominee's tenure managing the Salt Lake City Olympics.

"There are certain aspects of Gov. Romney’s record and his ideas that I think could be very helpful. And well, to give you one example, I do think he did a terrific job running the Olympics. And you know, that skill set of trying to figure out how do we make something work better applies to the federal government," Obama said. 

"There are a lot of ideas that I don't think are partisan ideas but are just smart ideas about how can we make the federal government more customer-friendly."

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