October 9th, 2012
06:37 PM ET
6 years ago

Romney on debate inspiration from his father

(CNN) - Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Tuesday confirmed and elaborated on his wife's disclosure, first to CNN, on how he handles his first moments onstage at a presidential debate.

"I write my dad's name at the top of the piece of paper to remind myself of all that he sacrificed to give me the opportunities I now have," Romney said in the interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer, which aired on "The Situation Room."

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"I think about his passion, his passion for the country. Dad was devoted to ideals that motivated him," Romney continued. "I mean, the guy was born in Mexico with nothing when he came to this... country, rose to be head of a car company, a governor."

Romney's wife, Ann Romney, first described her husband's debate stage ritual in a recent interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

"As soon as he gets on stage...he takes off his watch and puts it on the podium...then he writes 'Dad' on the piece of paper," she said.

"And that's amazing, because he loves his dad, respects his Dad," she said of her husband. "Doesn't want to do anything that would not make his father proud... I love the fact that Mitt does that. So he writes that."

In her interview with Borger, Ann Romney also said her husband next makes eye contact with her in the audience.

"He has to find where I am. And- he just- he needs just that connection," she said. "And almost after every answer that he gives, he'll find me in the audience, to see, 'Was that good? Was that okay?'"

After watching video of his wife's interview, Mitt Romney told CNN that "of course I look at Ann every chance I get."

"She's usually looking down," Romney said. "She's usually pretty nervous during the debates, but I look to her to see if she feels like I've done a good job."

- CNN's Kevin Liptak, Kevin Bohn, and Gregory Wallace contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney
soundoff (135 Responses)
  1. CBR

    Really. Mr. George Romney was the President of America Motors. I remember him as a very successful businessman. Rather than sacrifice I would have thought he would say hard work. To me sacrifice would imply that his Dad was willing to refrain from giving things to himself and gave to his family instead. Mr. Romney was very fortunate because he did enjoy many of the things that others could only hope for. He did not get drafted and avoided military service. He graduated from the best colleges. He continued to make money and his children went to the best schools and did not have to enter military service.

    October 9, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  2. Paul Price

    Romney's wife, Ann Romney, first described her husband's debate stage ritual in a recent interview with CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger.

    "As soon as he gets on stage...he takes off his watch and puts it on the podium...then he writes 'Dad' on the piece of paper," she said.

    "And that's amazing, because he loves his dad, respects his Dad," she said of her husband. "Doesn't want to do anything that would not make his father proud... I love the fact that Mitt does that. So he writes that."

    His dad released 12 years of tax returns because INTEGRITY was important to him, and he would do nothing to damage his reputation.

    Mitt is NOTHING like George Romney. George was honest, loaded with INTEGRITY. Mitt has neither honesty nor integrity. He is a lying flip-flopper who will do or say anything to get himself elected.

    October 9, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. NoTags

    Since Mitt admired his dad so much why doesn't he release as many tax returns as his dad did in his campaign? I strongly suspect that Mitt took advantage of the 2009 FBAR amnesty program and releasing earlier tax returns would verify it.

    October 9, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  4. Teluu

    Why is he not releasing more years of his taxes just like his father if he has inspired him?

    October 9, 2012 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  5. amlcpamaine

    I was impressed with Romney's father, an auto exec who talked common sense about budgets and who showed respect for our society and for workers. Mitt himself has George turning over in his grave, with his flip/flopping, his going to bed with Bibi, and his disdain for the 99%. Having worked for a Bain partner in one of the companies they destroyed I got to see Mitt in action and how exploitive he was to boost his own billings and fees. And though I am not normally a judgmental person, I know deep in my heart of hearts that Mitt won't be able to see his father when he passes to the next life. George was a dedicated honest politician and Mitt will burn in eternity for the hurt he's imposed on people whose lives he destroyed to line his own pockets.

    October 9, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  6. Mark Taylor

    Independent, white male, middle-aged, veteran, church-active voter here. Unbelievable that people will support a guy who panders beyond belief. His positions swing like a weather vane in Spring. Remember what happened last time we elected a CEO? We went from surplus to 7.5 trillion dollars in the whole, an unnecessary invasion, crashed property values, record unemployment. GW Bush policies created problems that will take decades to fix. How can voters fall for this nonsense again? You can't cut taxes and reduce a deficit this huge. He's going to leave the middle class holding the bag. His own campaign manager referenced Etch-a-Sketch. And folks, The Church Latter Day Saints IS NOT just another protestant denomination. Please study up.

    October 9, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  7. GI Joe

    His dad got part of the $100,000 that his grandfather got as payout for his inconvenience of running from the war in Mexico. A bunch of yellow-bellied Romney's always profiteering from war. Iran will be a big profit for Romney, I'm sure. And his kids will NOT be on the front line - or even in Iran.

    October 9, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. Al in TX

    This makes me want to throw up.

    October 9, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  9. jane

    Very touching; too bad he's not near the good, decent man his father was. How about instead of writing "Dad" on a piece of paper, he actually tries to lead a life as good and charitable as his dad did?

    October 9, 2012 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  10. Marcus S

    That is very sweet.

    October 9, 2012 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  11. Leroy

    George Romney was a nice, regular guy who could easily relate to the common man. Willard Mitt Romney is the type you'd enjoy having a diet wild cherry Pepsi with and talk about the finer points of horse ballet and avoiding taxes....

    October 9, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  12. Namejkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Good,because your going to lose just like he did !!!!!!

    October 9, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  13. nina

    i hope cnn inteviews are more than this mushy gushy stuff....how about some answers from mitt about, say, his taxes.....his changing views from week to week, you know....i'm pro choice, no wait i'm pro life, no wait, i'm both..... i won't raise taxes....wait, one must raise taxes.....i won't touch social security, wait only those currently on it...for the rest of you, we'll have to talk about it....too many teachers, too much money on education....wait, i love teachers, we need more & while we're at it lets cut spending on education, wait no lets provide more resources....i would never attempt to repeal roe vs wade....wait we should repeal roe vs wade.....obamacare....my idea in massechusettes.....good for the country.....i believe in mandates....however if i'm president i will repeal it.... get the idea anyone? how can so many people base their sacred vote on 1 debate...Really? and CNN...lets do some REAL reporting, stop allowing candidates (esp republicans) to skirt the issue & not answer questions.....and lets start asking mitt on what most people want to know.....Why are you a flip-flopper? and while ur at it CNN lets start holding him to his answers. Al least with obama he actually answers the question asked.

    October 9, 2012 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  14. DumbasRocks [R]s

    Debate inspiration? You've got to be kidding me! This notion implies that the elder Romney was a bald-faced liar, like his son is. Well the elder Romney wasn't, and the true conservatives that backed him back then wouldn't have stood for it. VERY unlike the modern-day slack-jawed, drama-queen neo-cons that support his son. Today's [R] party is a pathetic nest of malignant trash.

    October 9, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  15. NoddaLib

    Sounds like an honorable man but I am sure CNN readers will contribute disparaging comments.

    October 9, 2012 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  16. Marley

    Romney, why is it that your father has inspired you enough to follow in his footsteps by:
    1. Releasing your tax returns
    2. Being a REAL conservative?

    October 9, 2012 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. works4me

    His podium pal Dad shared his taxes. As a matter of fact set a standard.
    How about you there mitt? Just what's in those taxes that will take you down the drain?

    October 9, 2012 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  18. bandy

    How does he reconcile the fact that his dad went on welfare with his stance on entitlements? Hypocritical.

    October 9, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. maine liberal

    Dad servered so that I didnt need to serve. when the call came i answered send them.

    October 9, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. aaron

    Never seen millionaires clammering to be poor. Once the election is over, he'll go back to talking about and helping the rich only again.

    October 9, 2012 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain: Hey, networks, fact-check the debates in real-time and put it in the crawl!

    Wow, Mittens loves his dad ... the same dad that is spinning in his grave as his son lies through his teeth and flip flops his way through this campaign ... yep, dad's proud alright ... NOT!

    October 9, 2012 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. Ken

    Angry ANN-toinette and her alexithymic Mitt are America's phoniest couple.

    October 9, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. Larry L

    Romney is a pathological liar – nearly everything he says he says is a lie. He double-downs on his lies or simply claims to be misunderstood. He gives absolutely no explanation as to how he'll pay for his outrageous promises – he gives only fluffy sound-bites. He flip-flops on every ideological and economic issue and has no actual ideology – none. His "plan" would kill Medicare and Social Security. He will start a needless war. Why would anybody vote for him?

    October 9, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  24. Rush

    His Dad taught him to lie?

    October 9, 2012 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. jamesr1976

    It is a touching thing that he does. I think that anybody who has lost their father has their own little ritual. It helps to honor and remember them in a way that brings you comfort and peace. Mitt, I'm sure that he would be proud of you.

    October 9, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
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