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Romneys

Romneys

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Published by beaumontenterprise

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Published by: beaumontenterprise on Aug 23, 2012
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08/23/2012

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∏OMNEYS
 A CONVERSATION WITH
THE
As the Republican convention gets under way, the candidateand his wife answer reader questions and reect onthe campaign, the controversies, and the challenges ahead
COVER AND OPENING PHOTOGRAPHS BY BEN BAKER 
 
August 26, 2012
 
7
t’s probably 
the closest the Romneys have come to kicking back during this campaign summer: a late July afternoon on glistening Lake Winnipesaukeein New Hampshire. Grandkids bounce on thetrampoline, splash in the gentle waves, soak inthe hot tub. The candidate’s eldest son, Tagg,42, and his wife, Jen, keep an eye on theirbrood while a passel of campaign workers andfriends stir things up in the kitchen.But you’re never off the clock when you’rerunning for president, which is why MittRomney—wearing pressed jeans and amore relaxed demeanor than he does on thestump—and his radiant wife, Ann, agreed tothis dinnertime conversation with
PARADE
 contributor Lynn Sherr. On the table, a typi-cal New England lobster-and-corn supper.Nearby, 2-year-old Johnny in a high chair,occasionally cooing at his adoring grand-mother. Coming before the announcementof his vice presidential pick and his awk- ward trip to Europe, the discussion focusedon campaign vitriol, the governor’s hopesfor the Republican convention (set to begintomorrow in Tampa), and very pragmaticquestions from readers (culled from
Parade .com
, CaféMom, and two GateHouse Medianewspapers:
 
the Peoria
Journal Star 
and theCanton
Repository 
) about Romney’s wealth
CAMERAREADY
The couple pose infront of a photobackdrop outsidetheir LakeWinnipesaukee,N.H., home.
BY
LYNN
SHERR
<
 
8
 
August 26, 2012
and how he would have voters’ backs if elected president.
PARADE
: Governor, your campaign speechestalk about the middle class, but the vastmajority of the questions we received fromreaders asked about your ability to relateto their struggles. In essence, how do youknow what it’s like to be someone withoutmeans, someone, as one reader puts it,“trying to scrape by, living on food stamps”?
MITT ROMNEY:
Each of us faces struggles of one kind or another. Our life was not char-acterized by financial stress as much as it was by health issues. I served as a pastor of a congregation and saw people with variouschallenges and did my best to help them. Ibelieve my experience in the private sector,the voluntary sector, and government hashelped teach me what it takes to help people with different types of challenges.
We got this question from Kelsey M. ofOrange, Va. “[I’m] a stay-at-home momof two children. How will your presidencyimprove my life?”
MR:
One, you’ll be able to see better jobs with rising income again. And you’ll knothat when your kids go to school, it’s aschool of your choice, not the government’s. And you’ll know that when your kids comeout of school, there will be a good job wait-ing for them.
There were a number of questions aboutyour financial wealth. New Jersey resi-dent Harry H. asked if you would make thispledge: If elected, do you promise to bankin the United States?
MR:
My investments have been managed foralmost the last 10 years by a blind trust. Atrustee decides where to put our money. If I’m president, my understanding is the sameprinciple applies, that I may not direct any of my investments. I can’t tell you what my investments might be because I won’t makethem. But I’m happy to have every invest-ment in the United States.
You’ve received a lot of criticism from youropponents in the primaries. They said a lotof nasty things. Did it hurt?
MR:
No. That’s part of the political process.I don’t worry about that.
ANN ROMNEY:
Interesting—it didn’t hurt atall this time.
Why do you think that in a recent poll,you lost out to the president in [voter]enthusiasm?
MR:
To most folks that don’t pay a lot of attention to the Republican primary process,I’m not so well known. As I get betterknown, people will have greater confidencethat I’m the person who can get this country  working again for the middle class. It’s niceto be loved, but it’s better to be respected.
On the topic of respect, former New Hamp-shire governor John Sununu has said thatPresident Obama needs to learn to beAmerican.
 
You’ve referred to his policiesas “foreign.” Do you believe that PresidentObama is un-American in any way?
MR:
Governor Sununu was not sug-gesting he wasn’t American, nor do I.I believe he’s making us far more likeEurope, with a larger, more domi-nant, more intrusive government.I believe if we keep going onthat path, we will end up likeEurope, with chronic highunemployment, no wagegrowth, and economic calamity at the doorstep. I think you haveto return to celebrating success, encouraging entrepreneurship, and finding ways to getgovernment out of the way.
Also from a reader, Nancy B., of WinterSprings, Fla.: “I trust your acumen toassemble a great turnaround team forthe economy. But who do you have in mindfor advice on foreign affairs?”
 
MR:
I don’t have a secretary of state ornational security adviser in mind at thispoint—it might be a little presumptuous. That being said, I speak with a number of the former secretaries of state and [other]leaders—Condoleezza Rice, Jim Baker,George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, JohnBolton, as well as people less well known.My leadership style is to have people of differing viewpoints express them openly and [then I] select among them myself.
Question from Texas resident Jean S.:“Have you ever felt like a loser? What didyou do to overcome that feeling?”
MR:
I define myself by my relationship withGod, my wife, and my family. And in thoserelationships, I’m not a loser. I don’t worry about what happens in politics and theopinions of others, or I’d lose my hair!
And we all know you haven’t done that.
MR:
Glue keeps it in place. [
laughter 
]
Let’s talk for a moment about your faith.How has tithing [the Mormon practice ofgiving 10 percent of one’s income to thechurch] shaped your view of how we treateach other?
AR:
I love tithing. When Mitt and I give thatcheck, I actually cry.
MR:
So do I, but for a different reason.
AR:
I know this money is an indicationof how much we trust God and love theprinciple of sacrifice. And it teaches usnot to be too, too tied to the things of the world. And it is a very good reminder of how blessed we really are, and most of those blessings do not come froma financial source, but from thepower above.
MR:
Our church doesn’tpublish how much people havegiven. This is done entirely privately.
FINANCIAL
CHARACTERIZED BY
STRESS AS MUCH AS
 
continued on page 14
OUR LIFE WAS NOT
IT WAS BY HEALTH ISSUES.
EDITORS’ NOTE
As part of 
PARADE
’s2012 election coverage,the magazine willfeature President Obama and the rst lady in anupcoming issue.

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