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Former White House hopeful Romney says campaign missed soft side

Former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney pauses during remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harb
Former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney pauses during remarks to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harb

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said on Friday that a new documentary on his two failed bids for the White House reveals his personal side in a way that his campaign never did.

"It's hard for a campaign to do that, and we probably missed the opportunities that we might have had to do that," he told NBC's "Today" program.

"Campaigns have 30-second ads and debates, and those are very narrow snapshots," he added.

The interview coincided with the release of "Mitt," a documentary that chronicles the lives of the candidate and his family on the campaign trail over six years.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, failed to garner the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 but won it four years later, only to lose to Democratic President Barack Obama.

The film, which premiered last week at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah and is available on Netflix, shows personal moments of Romney and his family - in hotel rooms and backstage at campaign events, joking, hugging and worrying.

Director Greg Whiteley also included scenes of the devout Mormon family praying together, which Romney said he did not know were being taped.

"In this case, we have my wife praying and me as well. We have scenes of Ann and I hugging each and talking very personally to one another," Romney said.

"Gosh darn it - he captured all of that and then he had the chutzpah to actually use it," he said, adding that there were some scenes that he wished Whiteley had left out.

Whiteley, who said he had no political affiliation with Romney, had agreed to withhold the film's release in exchange for complete editorial control.

"It was uncomfortable for him to watch," Whiteley told "Today" on Wednesday.

Romney, who in one scene in the film remarks that those who lose presidential races become "a loser for life," reiterated that he would not run for president again.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Steve Orlofsky)

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