(CNN) — Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney praised President Barack Obama’s remarks on Thursday at an interfaith service remembering victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
In an interview on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer,” Romney also stressed the importance of learning from such terror attacks and opened up about how his faith plays a role in times of crisis.
“I thought the president gave a superb address to the people of this city and the state and the nation,” the former Massachusetts governor said. “It was an inspiring day.”
Romney has deep ties to Boston. He ran his presidential campaign from the city and now serves as a chairman of a committee for the Boston-based Solamere Capital, the investment firm founded by his eldest son, Tagg.
Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick invited Romney to attend the church ceremony, along with other current and former Bay State politicos. Romney and the president did not speak at the event, the former GOP nominee said.
In the interview, Romney repeatedly emphasized a need to learn everything possible from Monday’s bombings, which killed three people and injured 180 others.
The FBI released video footage of two suspects on Thursday and asked the public for help in identifying them.
“This is a learning opportunity,” Romney said. “We should learn the lessons that come from this and apply them to the extent that we possibly can.”
Asked if he would consider working on a security commission to study the terror attack and design steps to avert future attacks, Romney said he wouldn’t turn away from a call to prevent violence.
He pointed to his experience leading the 2002 Winter Olympics and the security measures installed in Salt Lake City.
He also referenced his time serving on the Homeland Security Advisory Council, a panel comprised of a range of leaders from both the private and public sector who advise the secretary of homeland security, under the George W. Bush administration.
“In my heart of hearts, what I understand is, it is intelligence work. And by intelligence, it’s not just meaning the CIA and the FBI and wire taps. It is also people who are watching what’s going on, reporting what’s going on, combing that information such that we can prevent the worse things that are occurring,” he said.
Romney, who belongs to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also gave a rare glimpse into his faith and how he sees the role of God and free will
Asked why he thinks bad things happen to good people, he said the only answer he knows for that type of question is to “get on one’s own knees and to pray for understanding and for comfort.”
“I believe very deeply that we have a creator and that he loves us and cares for us. But when he actually intervenes in the affairs of the people on this earth – it’s something that happens only rarely – and when that happens and why that happens and who that happens to is something that we don’t understand,” he said.
Romney said he also gains strength from seeing the community come together during tragedy and talked about his visits with injured victims in Boston hospitals on Thursday.
“This is a time when your faith in God is enhanced by seeing the goodness of the men and women He’s created,” he said.
Referring to the interfaith service, Romney said it was an “inspiring” and lauded the singing of “America the Beautiful,” a song he was known to sometimes sing on the campaign trail.
“It was a hearty rendition.”