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. whyme4

    My wife and I haven't missed a presidential election since our first vote in 1960, but as of now we plan to skip this one. What a choice! Obama, a nice enough guy, who for a politician seems to be honest, but totally incompetent. This guy needs help finding the men's room. And what's with this golfing?? The Country is going down the tubes, and Obama is out trying to make par, and having a beer with his buddies.

    And then there's Romney with his off shore bank accounts, and hidden tax returns. How can you trust this guy? I wonder if he's ever talked to an average American for ten minutes in the past 35-40 years. Read some of his statements, this dude is clueless.

    Yes my fellow Americans you can pick for me, I give up.

    October 9, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  2. LMD

    Don't doubt Mitt loves his Father. But a true honor would be to do as his Father did and release his full tax returns.

    October 9, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  3. carlooos


    October 9, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  4. RogerR

    Mitt, If Dad is your inspiration, would you please follow his steps and reveal all your tax returns! We all want you to be like your dad!

    October 9, 2012 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  5. Legalize Reason

    Really? I think I hear the theme song from "Leave It To Beaver" playing in the background.

    October 9, 2012 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  6. kmac

    Wow–I am moved to do nothing

    October 9, 2012 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  7. Sardukar

    Sacrifices ? Seriously...like he had to park too far from the door..or he was tired to eat all the restaurant food around.

    October 9, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. One of the 47%

    Romney should become an actor, he pretends like no one else.

    October 9, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  9. Don Jones

    It's very touching hearing about Romney's Dad's sacrifices. The real sacrifices come if this punk gets elected. It will be an incalculable sacrifice for our country. Fifty million Americans with no health care. His buddies at the banks and oil companies will have free reign. God help us!!!

    October 9, 2012 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. Canchange

    For me he did a professional speech,very well done; I never see any buddy like him amazing, speech, thanks he is our next president.

    October 9, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. Anthony

    This is so typical of Romney: saying something that sounds good, while actually saying nothing. People think that Romney won the debate. But they still don't know what he will do if he is elected. Will Romney cut taxes for the rich or not? He says that he won't, but his website says that he wants to cut taxes across the board, which means that the rich are included. Which Romney do you believe?

    Mitt, if you really want to honor your father, release your tax returns. Everything in the last 10 years.

    October 9, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  12. Don Jones

    Like his old man before him, Mittster's own " brainwash " moment is coming-sooner or later.

    October 9, 2012 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  13. 10 Commandments

    "Honor thy Father and thy Mother."

    Good Job Mitt!!!

    October 9, 2012 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. jaimie

    Romney ........ No honesty No integrity

    October 9, 2012 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  15. jaimie

    Romneyhood ...... Give to the Rich take from the poor

    October 9, 2012 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  16. Rob

    I guess Romney's dad would be characterized as a freeloader considering the family used government assistance when they arrived from Mexico. Nothing like the GOP to use something and then slam the door on anyone else trying to use the same benefits. It is what Jesus would do!

    October 9, 2012 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  17. Art Kugleman

    I want to live in a country where the leadership cares about the most at risk of our population, not in a country led by a privileged empty suit who beat up gay kids in prep school. Aren't we better than that?

    October 9, 2012 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  18. little feat

    jesus come one! really??? this may have worked in the age before the internet, but no longer

    October 9, 2012 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  19. little feat

    the guy is a goofball, i am an independent but i would rather have a guy that sticks to his guns then a wishy washy mormon with daddy issues.

    October 9, 2012 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  20. little feat

    and also i am from mass, so i know this guy

    October 9, 2012 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  21. Nelly

    Has CNN become Fox News. That is a branch of the Romney PR Team, as this can't possibly count as news. I guess just in case Romney wins, they want to be on his friendly side just like Fox.

    October 9, 2012 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  22. Becky Montgomery

    If he honors his father so much, why doesn't he release his tax returns like his father did? Multiple years.

    October 9, 2012 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  23. sayquitter

    Wait, let me reach for my violin, Mitt!.

    October 9, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  24. Texan

    Translation- Romney: I want the Latino vote. My dad was born in Mexico, and 99% of Americans think that Latino= Mexican, who cares about the rest of the southern hemisphere like Brazil, Chile, Argentina, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, etc! I'm a reverse anchor baby. I believe in strong families just like you, and write "Dad" on each speech to remind me of that. He was hard working and made sacrifices for our family, just like yours. He came back here and did jobs that Americans don't want to....oh wait a minute....oops. Scratch that last part. Please just vote for me! My son speaks Spanish, so he's just like you. I never forgot the poverty I saw during my missionary work in Mexico, and I return there to give back to the community....oh wait, scratch that, too. My donations only go to build gilded temples. And I go to developing countries to exploit cheap labor so that I can receive a higher return on investment and use the carried interest rule to lower my taxes, since I do a much better job at providing for the various programs out there than the government does with its redistribution programs. That dang Kenyan socialist anti-christ president! I have my own security force, so I don't care about police. And my kids go to private schools, so even though I pay for public schools, I don't care how they perform. That's more unskilled labor to exploit without going overseas. Gosh, it would be so much easier to win this election if I was Latino. Can we fit a tanning booth on the campaign plane? I'm Mitt Romney, and I want the Latino vote. I'll be opening a Cesar Chavez memorial across the street from the one Obama just opened, but mine will be bigger and have real farm workers that you can watch from behind a glass viewing wall.

    October 9, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  25. Old Guard

    How sad so many make the confusion between his dad and this prep boy and his equally privileged wife who had money and power and opportunity offered to them.
    And how grotesque he has the nerve to give the main stream America advice about hard work.

    October 9, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
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