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. Jo

    What a warm story.

    October 9, 2012 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    Wish he had the values in the word country his father did

    October 9, 2012 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  3. Holyhandgrenade

    Romney's father was a horrible man & one of this country's biggest crooks. He is not the automotive "folk-hero" some paint him out to be.

    October 9, 2012 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  4. TM

    Hey Willard, don't forget the sacrifice your father made by accepting government assistance to keep you fed and keep a roof over your head. Just like the 47% of AMERICANS that you INSULTED and DENIGRATED in order to score a cheap political point. Don't bother talking about HIS sacrifices when they obviously mean NOTHING to you.

    October 9, 2012 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  5. John Smith

    Yeah,,,,,,,,,once dad had to use a spoon .......that wasnt solid GOLD CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT!!!!!!!!! he had to use one that was only SILVER!!!!!!!!

    October 9, 2012 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  6. college_student

    I'm sorry, I can't buy Ann Romney's story. It has been verified over and over again the lies told by Romney during debate. She says " "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."" He is not making his dad proud unless he taught his son to lie to get what he wants

    October 9, 2012 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  7. Namemarkmark

    Romney seems like a good guy

    October 9, 2012 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  8. onlyfacts

    I do not believe there are many dads out there that would be proud of a son who lies thru his teeth to get what he wants. And Romney lies to millions. If his dad was really a good man he would be ashamed of his son.

    October 9, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  9. Bart

    Mitt Romney's dad was a great man who built himself from nothing to a wealthy businessman and very popular politician. Mitt Romney himself has been riding around on his dad's coattails ever since he was born. He is garbage.

    October 9, 2012 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  10. Mcds

    Awwww how sweet. All the sacrifices he made?!? Like what? He was born in Mexico with a few moms don't say it was nothing!

    October 9, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  11. 210

    Lmao he's really going after the Latino vote. "Oh my poor dad was born in Mexico and came to this country with nothing. So all the Latinos can relate to me." Lol America, if you want social security and Medicare gone for when your parents and grandparents need it, then vote for Romney.

    October 9, 2012 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  12. Ken

    Mitt Romney is a phony character. His latest desperate attempt to show himself as more personable wont fly with voters. I mean this guy has accounts in Swiss bank and Cayman Islands and wont even release his tax returns to clear the air on his business dealings once and for all.

    October 9, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  13. Disgusted

    Can't take any more of his fake interest in us. I have the deepest respect for the people who had risen out of poverty, and from that position truly care about those not able to do so, for whatever reason.

    October 9, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  14. Romney'sWallet

    Romney comes from a wealthy family and lies for a living.

    October 9, 2012 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  15. Martin

    His dad's sacrifices? What? Like releasing 12 years of tax returns?

    October 9, 2012 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  16. frankdatank

    This Romney never had even one day of hardship in his life. He'll say anything for that office though.

    October 9, 2012 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  17. brian

    If Mitts father was a Mexican.... how could he run for president back when...

    October 9, 2012 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  18. Rand

    I am confused. Why does not one person have the wherewithall to say it?

    Well, okay... I will.

    Mitt Romney is a liar. He changes his chanson – as the wind blows. He will do anything – say anything – portray anything – to become President. Why he would compromise integrity to try to take an office wherein he is so obviously unable to cope – I don't know. But this man will twist anyway necessary to achieve this goal. He is a scary obsessive. Beware – America.

    October 9, 2012 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Daddy Issues 2012 .

    October 9, 2012 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  20. pntkl

    Thoughts of a good father will make any good son admit their mistakes. Love can overcome hate; to love from your heart is to know true charity. The world is changing; increasingly. Unfortunately the change's catalysts (in this context, these of which are within our socioeconomic groups) aren't rooted in natural, incidental, or coincidental events. However, the origins from whom synthetic catastrophe are formed also function as the foundations and supports of our economy, which is a structure like a tree. While a tree's leaves and branches can survive damage, when the roots are infected, the tree surely perishes. In our society, the roots are those of us whom matter or desire to. In short, there is nothing honorable within a society of thieves.

    October 9, 2012 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  21. Four and The Door

    George Romney would be proud of what Mitt is accomplishing in 2012. Mitt is giving tens of millions of Americans the reassurance that they can believe in the future of America again. they do not have to accept 1-2% economic growth, 8% unemployment, low paying jobs, devastating debt to foreign countries. Americans see that we can regain control of our destiny, manage our affairs and be that great country confident with it's position in the world again.

    October 9, 2012 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  22. brian

    put him on dancing with the stars and we can just skip the election...

    October 9, 2012 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  23. nc_mike

    Bishop Mitt Romney's life has been incredibly insular compared to Barack Obama. Mitts views have been severely limited by that narrowness. That explains why he is so far beyond out of touch with the average American and has a severe lack of empathy for such a wide swath of the population.

    October 9, 2012 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  24. R Rutherford

    Multimillions don't sacrifice. It's a contradiction in terms (just like Romney is). If you want to find about about sacrificing, talk to the 47%'ers who Romney has maligned. Romney knows as much as sacrifice as any other rich, spoiled BRAT. He ought to go outside and jerk himself a soda! And stop jerking off the American people.

    October 9, 2012 10:51 pm at 10:51 pm |
  25. Emily

    Thank you CNN for posting a positive story of Mitt – he really is a good family guy even if you don't agree with his politics! And he is someone whom our boys should look up to especially with all the love and respect he bestows up his wife. Thank you again for this fair piece, it is a silver lining to other posted pieces.

    October 9, 2012 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
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