Des Moines, Iowa (CNN) – Mitt Romney knew one of the former Navy SEALs killed in this year's Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, he told an Iowa audience Tuesday.
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"We had a lot of things in common," Romney said of Doherty, recalling the two had skied at some of the same places, and that when they met Doherty had discussed his care and concern for people he had met working in the Middle East. "You can imagine how I felt when I found out that he was one of the two former Navy SEALs killed in Benghazi on Sept. 11th."
Romney only recently learned for certain that Doherty was the same man he had met at a party in La Jolla, California, a campaign spokesman said.
Reminiscing on a windy Tuesday in Iowa, Romney cited reports on CNN International that Doherty had left a safe location to rush to the aid of the consulate under attack last month.
"They didn't hunker down where they were in safety – they rushed there to go help," Romney said, tying that spirit to his candidacy. "This is the American way – we go where there's trouble. We go where we're needed. And right now we're needed."
The two men met under unlikely – and humorous – circumstances, Romney said. Several years ago he and his wife Ann headed out for a neighborhood party but did not confirm the address on their invitation.
"We went over, knocked on the door, they let us in 'good to see you' when we came in," Romney said. "We had dinner together and got our pictures with everyone."
"Turns out, this wasn't the neighborhood party," he continued, to laughter from the audience. "This was a family having a party with their friends all right?"