Mitt watch: In search of the real Mitt Romney!


Somehow forgetting Seamus: How silly are the silly souls who report campaigns for the New York Times? Yesterday, we recommended this inane news report, in which Ashley Parker tries to figure if Candidate Romney is really a Joe Average guy.

Does Romney really have “down-to-earth tastes?” New York Times journalist Ashley Parker was desperate to find out:
PARKER (9/22/11): His effort, and the response to it, highlight a vexing problem for Mr. Romney. Although he is becoming increasingly confident and relaxed on the campaign trail, he still sometimes appears as if he is trying too hard to connect, straining to show that even his perfectly coifed hair can fall out of place. Sparring with voters at town-hall-style meetings, he can come off as a scolding crossing guard, and some of his efforts at humor—like the time he pretended that a waitress in a New Hampshire diner had pinched his bottom—have fallen notably flat.

But to aides and friends of Mr. Romney, the situation is more complicated. They say this—the Southwest flying, self-deprecating, penny-pinching guy—is the real Mitt, the one they know in private, and if anything, he just wants a little public credit for some of the “regular dude” things he has always done.

Ron Kaufman, a longtime Romney adviser, recalled a moment in the 2008 presidential campaign, after Mr. Romney had withdrawn from the race and was in his Boston headquarters, helping to wind down his campaign...
Zzzzzzzz! From there, Parker considered various stories, hoping to locate the real Mitt Romney. We were struck by the famous story she somehow arranged to forget.

How could anyone at the Times forget the Romney ur-story? It first appeared in a Boston Globe profile during Campaign 08. Since that time, the very highest Lady Collins has referred to this revealing incident in nineteen or twenty New York Times columns.

Collins wants us to remember. Carelessly, Parker forgets:
SWIDEY AND EBBERT (6/27/07): The white Chevy station wagon with the wood paneling was overstuffed with suitcases, supplies, and sons when Mitt Romney climbed behind the wheel to begin the annual 12-hour family trek from Boston to Ontario.

As with most ventures in his life, he had left little to chance, mapping out the route and planning each stop. The destination for this journey in the summer of 1983 was his parents' cottage on the Canadian shores of Lake Huron. Romney would be returning to the place of his most cherished childhood memories.


Before beginning the drive, Mitt Romney put Seamus, the family's hulking Irish setter, in a dog carrier and attached it to the station wagon's roof rack. He'd built a windshield for the carrier, to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.

Then Romney put his boys on notice: He would be making predetermined stops for gas, and that was it.

The ride was largely what you'd expect with five brothers, ages 13 and under, packed into a wagon they called the "white whale."

As the oldest son, Tagg Romney commandeered the way-back of the wagon, keeping his eyes fixed out the rear window, where he glimpsed the first sign of trouble. "Dad!" he yelled. "Gross!" A brown liquid was dripping down the back window, payback from an Irish setter who'd been riding on the roof in the wind for hours.

As the rest of the boys joined in the howls of disgust, Romney coolly pulled off the highway and into a service station. There, he borrowed a hose, washed down Seamus and the car, then hopped back onto the highway.
Is that a regular person or what? Chevy Chase should be paying him royalties! His five sons packed into the wagon for a 12-hour family forced march. The family dog was up on the roof, helped by a homemade windshield.

Dad could have had the brood flown in. But he took the road more travelled by.

Parker wants to know the real Mitt. Is Romney really a regular guy? But somehow, in her search for the truth, she has forgotten this relevant story.

Thanks to Collins, few Times readers will ever get that chance.


  1. He liked penny pinching so much he got people to join with him when laid off thousands when he was with Bain Capitol. Looks like a lot of people got to take a bain, compliments of Mitt.

  2. I read jsust the other day that Mitt Romney is worth an estimated "$250 million dollars" or more.

    That is not middle class, or even upper middle class in terms of income or assets. (And he hardly acts "middle-class" either, except now that he's faking it on the campaign trail.)

    Being worth $250 million or more places Romney within that rarefied top 1% of the wealthiest Americans in this country. And yes, as kshorewood says, he laid off many thousands of people when at Bain to enrich shareholders.

    That's his "business" experience.

  3. Hold on! Mitt said he created jobs while at Bain Capital.

    Bob, you're going to have to get to the bottom of this.