- Associated Press - Sunday, March 3, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney says his heart said he was going to win the presidency, but when early results came in on election night, he knew it was not to be.

The 2012 Republican nominee told “Fox News Sunday” that he knew his campaign was in trouble when exit polls suggested a close race in Florida. Mr. Romney thought he would win the state solidly.

President Obama ended up taking Florida and won the election by a wide margin in the electoral vote.

Mr. Romney said there was “a slow recognition” at that time that Mr. Obama would win — and the race soon was over when Mr. Obama carried Ohio.

Mr. Romney said the loss hit hard and was emotional. Ann Romney, his wife, said she cried.

Mr. Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, acknowledged mistakes in the campaign and flaws in his candidacy.

But he joked that he did better in his second run for the White House than he did the first time around — when he lost the 2008 nomination to Arizona Sen. John McCain.

He said he won’t get a third crack at it.

Mr. Romney said that his campaign didn’t do a good job connecting with minority voters and that Republicans must do a better job in appealing to blacks and Hispanics.

His campaign, he said, underestimated the appeal of Mr. Obama’s new health care law to low-income voters.

But he knows that because he lost the race, it’s hard to tell the GOP to listen now to what he has to say about how to improve the party’s message.

The Romneys are living in Southern California now, and he’s kept a low profile since the election. He said that “you move on” from the disappointment and that “I don’t spend my life looking back.”

Mrs. Romney said that after the election she was approached by TV’s “Dancing With the Stars,” but she declined to join the cast.

She says she’ll be turning 64 soon, and “I’m not really as flexible as I should be.”

The interview was taped Thursday and aired Sunday.

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