August 8th, 2007
04:20 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney quizzed on sons' military service

Watch Romney respond to a question on his sons' lack of military service Wednesday.

(CNN) - At a campaign stop in Bettendorf, Iowa Wednesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was asked whether any of his sons were enlisted in the military and what they were doing to “support the war on terror.”

“The good news is, we have a volunteer army, and we’re going to keep it that way,” the former Massachusetts governor responded. “My sons are all adults…. They’ve made their decisions about their careers and chosen not to serve in the military and I respect that decision.”

The question came from a reputed war protestor while Romney was discussing Iraq. The presidential hopeful continued his answer by calling for a “surge of support” for those enlisted and their families.

According to The Associated Press, the woman is a member of Quad City Progressive Action for the Common Good and is the sister of an Army major who has served in Iraq.

Romney’s five sons, ranging in age from 26 to 37, have been active campaigners on behalf of their father. They maintain the “Five Brothers” blog on Romney’s official Web site, chronicling their crisscrossing campaign events.

- CNN Political Desk Editor Mark Norman

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (84 Responses)
  1. Joshua, Cape Coral, Florida

    In my opinion, Romney is the worst of the lot. He's only in this race because he's good-looking, was born into wealth, and is not terribly stupid.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see him get the nomination.


    August 8, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. mp, williston, fl

    Romney never is one to handle a tough question well. I figured he'd say something like, "This moment is an epiphany for me and I will now force my sons to enlist". Or something...

    August 8, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Ha, CA

    When consumers stop buying x product from y company, y company will cave in.

    When women and men stop joining military services, Iraq war will stop.

    If there are no Indians, there won't be any chief.

    August 8, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  4. Nina Chattanooga TN

    As a veteran myself I have a few questions for the dems. Like to Hilary, why did her husband turn tail when I was in somiala about getting Bin Laden when he was right there and we knew he attacked the USS Cole. How did she feel about his political agenda then? And how many democratic canidates ever been in and can say they served. Personally I'm more concerned about what they are gonna do about illegal immigration and global warming then about who's kids are in the service! Let's talk about the real issues. Iraq is a mess but lets face it none of them are bringing our troops home as soon as they get in office and if they say they are they are lieing. Wake up America!!

    August 8, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. Patricia Corcoran, Cambridge, Massachusetts

    It's Mitt Romney's stand on continuing the War in Iraq that I find disturbing. I know he's a flip flopper (I'm from Massachusetts) but when he realizes his stand won't get him elected he'll flip flop on this issue as well. He's flip flopped on so many issues and misrepresented himself to the voters of Massachusetts - he's not above doing the same to the voters of the United States of America.

    August 8, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  6. Destardi, Akron, OH (and Chicago)

    HAHAHA the funny comparison of Romney to Clinton...5 sons, and a devout supporter of WAR WAR WAR, with no children in the military, vs. Clinton, with one daughter, is hilarious.

    This is how these people reason, which is why we're in the situation we're in. Did you warmongers, keyboard soldiers see the article about China threatening to sell off their dollar reserves in order to retaliate for the US hardline on imports? China financed support for Iraq...Thanks bush!

    August 8, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Brandon, Missouri

    Keep in mind that military service is voluntary. His sons are adults; they can make their own decisions. He isn't forcing anyone into the war either; even if someone wants to increase troops in Iraq, it would be done so through voluntary enlistment, there's no draft and there won't be. Don't criticize him for his sons' behaviors, that's like criticizing Obama or Edwards because one of their children failed a spelling test.

    August 8, 2007 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  8. AskTheRelevantQuestions, Sandy, UT

    Mitt +5 haven't served because there hasn't been a defense contractor who has yet figured out how to weave kevlar body armor into magic underwear.

    Seriously, is this really the problem with Mitt's campaign or is it the fact that his moral foundation is based on the teachings of some yahoo from the 1800's that believed he could read golden plates he claimed to find in the woods?

    August 8, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  9. David, Salinas, CA

    What a shame.

    Our best hope for resolving the conflict between Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish factions would be to send over five Mormon boys in a Winnebago.

    August 8, 2007 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  10. D, Frisco, Texas

    Does not matter. Romney kids are not running for President.

    August 8, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  11. D, Texas

    Joe Kennedy had a son in the war and look what happened to him. One became President and one died. So did that make the Kennedy's good or just medium?

    August 8, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  12. Scott, Minneapolis, MN

    While not being a fan of Bush or Romney. What his kid do or don't do is not a fair question. Question Romney's lack of military service all day long, just like they did to Clinton.

    The hypocritcal part his how the Republicans were critical of Bill's lack of service but didn't seem to have a problem with Bush or Cheney's draft dodging.

    August 8, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  13. S Smith Grosse Ile Michigan

    If people would refuse to join the
    military maybe the politicians wouldn't
    be so eager to rush into war. The government has already proven that they
    don't care about our foot soldiers. How
    many more young people do we have to sacrifice. After the dust settles we will be trading partners with them just
    like Viet Nam. Bring our soldiers home
    and protect our own borders.

    August 8, 2007 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  14. Corey, Wayne, PA

    Why must a family member be in the military for someone to be able to make intelligent decisions about our military? By the same reasoning, no government official would able to make decisions about law enforcement unless the official had a family member who was an officer or agent.

    August 9, 2007 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  15. CMS, California

    This is a non-story. We have a voluteer armed forces. His sons being in the military makes a contender a better President? I know it used to be a taste test for the contender to be a veteren, but their kids? Come on...

    August 9, 2007 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  16. Jayson, Beale AFB, CA

    They had a draft during Vietnam and that war didn't end quickly because of it. But hey if you want to send more liberals off to die in a military that has a clear conservative majority, be my guest.

    Was invading Iraq a mistake? Quite possibly seeing as how we hadn't finished in Afganistan. But do we want to commit the same mistake we made when we pulled out of Vietnam and left millions to die.

    Wars are won through fighting them, not invading and then letting the government run the war. Last time I checked the military was in charge of fighting wars and the commander in chief was George Bush.

    Bill Clinton showed us what doing nothing accomplishes. We were attacked more times under his watch then we have under George Bush. Now please explain how that makes sense seeing as how he was explicity against the use of force in most cases.

    Terrorists speak one language, the language of force. If you give them what they want when they have hostages do they leave you along? Nope they take more hostages knowing full well that you will give into their demands.

    The day that Obama or Hilary Clinton are elected president will be the day I consider not honoring my military commitment. I re-enlisted knowing full well what I was getting into but knowing that I was doing something to keep this country safe. At the end of the day I know that I am doing my part to protect the land I love. Can you say the same?

    August 9, 2007 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  17. Joseph, Chicago, IL

    To CorruptCore and Travis:
    The reason Romney is singled out is due to his stance on the war. It seems to be a growing trend among many of the Republican frontrunners to talk tough after having avoided the draft. I call it the John Wayne syndrome because hyprocrit John made a career out of playing war heroes while avoiding the draft. Sadly, many stupid filmgoers patronized his movies, and sadly many voters support these jerks.

    August 9, 2007 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  18. BD, Bothell, Washington

    As one whose biggest concession to the right wing is to vote for Democrats, I'd like to point out that this isn't really that big a deal. While conservatives foam at the mouth, Democratic supporters ought to realize that '08 is theirs to lose. Matching the GOP hand-wringing over non-issues is one of the things that will erode swing and crossover support. We might as well ask Mitt what kind of underwear he wears. It's simply not important. It would be better to sharpen both eyes and knives when receiving the Petraeus report next month. Then, instead of calling Mitt out about his sons, we can call him out about how best to show our support for the troops–e.g., bringing them home.

    August 9, 2007 03:02 am at 3:02 am |
  19. John, Kaneohe, HI

    I spent 13 years in the armed forces. The reason I'm not still in is because my wife is still on Active Duty and one of us had to remain behind to raise our daughter (my wife is currently deployed to Iraq). Having said that, I don't have an issue with Mitt's family not serving in uniform (it is a volunteer force after all). I do have an issue with him making the boneheaded statement "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected." By making the comparison that his sons choosing to help with a political campaign carries a similar amount of weight to our soldiers fighting it out over there is just plain stupid. Supporting the troops means more than just sticking a yellow magnet on your bumper.

    August 9, 2007 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  20. T. Girl

    That insincere smile of a warmonger will disappear soon. Romney's campaign will self-destruct and he will lose all that money he borrowed from himself.

    August 9, 2007 04:43 am at 4:43 am |
  21. T. Girl

    "Did he forget 9/11?" asked the demogogue yacht salesman, interrupting the righteous Ron Paul. NO, Mitt, the Iraq War has nothing to do with 9/11.

    August 9, 2007 04:48 am at 4:48 am |
  22. Jeff, Champaign, IL

    Tommy, are you kidding me? If CNN was reporting news, they would post the text of the entire contents of the campaign stop so we could get a big picture look at Mr. Romney. Instead, as is the unfortunate case with all news outlets today, they picked up the most controversial, incriminating, sound bite out of the entire event. That is not news. I am tired of being manipulated by news media. If you are going to post something like this, at least put in a link to the text as a whole.

    Here is the whole quote

    "The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that's the way we're going to keep it. My sons are all adults and they've made decisions about their careers and they've chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard.
    I also respect and value very very highly those who make the decision to serve in the military. And I think we ought to show an outpouring of support just as I suggested, a surge of support for those families and for those individuals who are serving. My niece, for instance, just to tell you what a neighborhood can do and how touching it can be, my niece Misha –living out west– her husband, I think he got a call on a Tuesday, he's in the National Guard, he got a call on a Tuesday that he was going to be called up and shipped overseas on a Thursday, and they'd just bought a home, they hadn't landscaped it, but the rules in the neighborhood were that unless you got your home landscaped within a year of the time that you bought your home, they began fining you because they didn't want people having mudholes in front of their homes. And she was very worried, and just before the year expired, she woke up one morning and looked out the window and all the neighbors were out there rolling out sod, putting up trees, getting it all done. It is remarkable how we can show our support for our nation.

    One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected because they think'd I be a great president (laughter) and my son Josh bought the family Winnibago and has visited 99 counties most of them with his three kids and his wife, and I respect that and all of those and the way they serve this great country.

    August 9, 2007 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  23. Butch, queens, nyc

    what CNN is leaving out, is that he stated his sons are serving their country by working on his campaign for presidncy.
    this last comment from him really shows he's a class act

    August 9, 2007 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  24. Cheryl, Steubenville, OH

    It doesnt matter whether any of the canidates have children or they themself have served in the war. The war is wrong, it is being fought for a reason none of us truly know. Those people over there have fought each other since the beginning of time. Read your Bible, and they will continue to fight and if we dont mind our own business, they will continue to attack and kill us. Do we want some other country coming to America telling us how we are to live, what we should do with our resources? So why are we trying to impose our beliefs on other countries. Bring our soldiers home, they deserve to live, their children deserve to be raised with a family, mothers and fathers should not be burying their children!

    August 9, 2007 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  25. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Perhaps if we brought back the draft with the exception that there were NO deferrments other thatn medical deferrments, it would make politicians think twice prior to leading us into wars of choice. Romney is a hypocrite but no more so than many of our Republican neighbors who are still cheerleaders for this war. Give him a little time, he'll shift his position and come up with an excuse why he took it in the first place. The man has no more integrity than a junkyard dog!!

    August 9, 2007 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
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