Romney's softer side in Florida
October 5th, 2012
10:01 PM ET
10 years ago

Romney's softer side in Florida

Saint Petersburg, Florida (CNN) - In a speech to another approving audience on what has become a post-debate victory tour, a contemplative Mitt Romney shared some of his personal side with Florida voters Friday night.

The GOP nominee, who was joined by his wife Ann, told an audience of several thousand supporters about the deaths of three Americans who had made a lasting impact on him.

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Romney recounted having recently seen an old friend from graduate school, Bill Hulse, who had been quadriplegic since suffering an accident. Hulse approached Romney at a campaign event last month.

"It's not easy for Billy to get around. Quadriplegic…he can't move, of course, his arms and his legs, and he can barely speak," Romney said. "I reached down and I put my hand on Billy's shoulder and I whispered into his ear, and I said 'Billy, God bless you, I love ya.' And he whispered right back to me – and I couldn't quite hear what he said. He tried to speak loud enough for me to hear."

"He died the next day," Romney continued, adding that Hulse had championed spinal injury research and was "a great man" with admirable spirit.

The former Massachusetts governor also spoke about a 14-year-old boy who had been diagnosed with leukemia and whom he had counseled in his role in the Mormon church. The boy, David Oparowski, asked "Brother Romney" to help him write his will.

"So I went to David's bedside and got a piece of legal paper, made it look very official. And then David proceeded to tell me what he wanted to give his friends. Talked about his fishing rod, and who would get that. He talked about his skateboard, who'd get that. And his rifle, that went to his brother," Romney said. "I've seen the character of a young man like David, who wasn't emotional or crying. He had his eyes wide open."

After Oparowski's death, Romney delivered the eulogy at the funeral.

Romney also quoted a line popularized by the television show "Friday Night Lights:" "There's a saying, clear eyes, full heart, can't lose," he said.

He finished his foray into the personal by recounting a meeting with the widow of a military sharpshooter. When "some very misguided people" protested at her husband's funeral, Romney quoted the woman as saying her husband had "died for them to be able to protest."

"This is quite a nation we live in, with some extraordinary people," Romney said.

During his visit to St. Petersburg, Romney made no mention of Friday's unemployment numbers, which for the first time in years dipped below 8%.

He did, however, spend a chunk of his speech recapping Wednesday's presidential debate.

And Romney made a joking reference to a theory circulating on the Internet about whether the Republican candidate had taken notes into the debate (the campaign said the hubbub was over a handkerchief).

As he began to describe his five-point plan for turning around the economy, Romney quipped: "I don't have to look at notes to know what they are, by the way. I know what they are."

Filed under: 2012 • Florida • Mitt Romney
soundoff (147 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    I live in Florida and I love Romney, I supported Obama in 08

    October 6, 2012 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  2. Chipster

    So, are we supposed to be impressed when Romney and Ryan lie "softly?" This list of false information that they continue to deliver, despite the facts and evidence that expose their dishonesty, just keeps being handed to voters as if repetition will somehow make them true. They both know that Obama's healthcare program reduces the cost of Medicare by $716 billion, yet they continue to claim that he has robbed Medicare to pay for Obamacare! Ryan even used the cost savings in his proposed budget! They know that Romney's budget plan has been panned by his own economists because the math simply doesn't work. They are shamelessly dishonest and show complete disrespect for American workers, teachers, firefighters, police, etc. Please don't vote against your own best interest. Check the facts, vote for Obama/Biden and a Democratic congress.

    October 6, 2012 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  3. Rita

    God fearing woman that I am, I'll take Romney ANY day over the man who is leading our country down HIS road. George Washington has a sad face on!

    October 6, 2012 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. JustMe

    Oh good heavens, enough, Mitt. We're not buying the B.S. you're peddaling so give. it. a. rest.

    October 6, 2012 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. Shannon

    Don't you mean his phony side is on display, he told us all we need to know in his meeting with his donors. We get it, he doesn't respect half of America, that's ok, we don't respect him either.

    October 6, 2012 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  6. Oy

    Mauri...a 'good man" doesn't lie like it's his JOB. Please go sell your baloney elsewhere. We're not buying it.

    October 6, 2012 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  7. Oy


    Babal comes from the weak of mind, (the first debate proved that) So does lies like obama has given us for the past 3.6 years, You just can't trust him as he would just like to be a dictator. Check out all the executive orders he has given to pave the way to make us all subjects. That is enough to make one sick, unless you don't like the Freedoms and Liberties our fore fathers fought and died for to make us Free."

    Babal? What is "babal"? Calling President Obama a liar is like the pot calling the kettle black: did you watch the debate at all? Fact checkers resoundingly agree that Romney lied the entire time and that Obama was mostly honest.
    You can't spin your way out of this one.
    We all saw it.
    You're trying to play some Rove-ian game of accusing someone of the very thing you're doing. We're onto you.
    Executive orders are a right of a sitting President and Bush Jr. made *many* more than Pres. Obama has!
    Btw, those words you capitalized? Aren't capitalized. But T-baggers sure do like to capitalize them.

    October 6, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  8. sjlucas

    While Gov. Romney is in a sharing mood, how about he share his tax returns and some hard and fast details about what programs he's going to cut in order to reduce the deficit while maintaining his commitment to not raise taxes. That's the type of sharing I need to see.

    October 6, 2012 11:58 pm at 11:58 pm |
  9. Sham

    Wow, short memory. What he really told the guy was "hmmm...pre-existing conditions...guess you're screwed, and the longer you're alive the more you'll bankrupt your family"

    October 7, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. Esteban cortes

    First of all obama can't prove born in USA this man is not citizen in this country is an iligal alien now the problem with this man he was missing the TelePrompTer So he basically is speechless with out it

    October 7, 2012 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  11. Cogito

    Romney's "softer side" is in his cranium.

    October 7, 2012 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  12. Doug was at the St Pete Pier park speech

    The CNN reporter stated that several thousand supporters were present. A St Pete police officer told us waiting in line at 4:30PM that 12,000 tickets had been issued by mid-afternoon and people were still streaming in at 7:00PM. I believe well over 12,000 were present, which means the CNN estimate was at least 6 times smaller than the real number. If the CNN polls are as slanted toward Obama as their crowd size estimate, then 6-Nov-2012 is going to be another Chick-fil-a day.
    Romney/Ryan are going to win in Nov and Obama can return to Hawaii in Jan-2013.

    October 7, 2012 01:50 am at 1:50 am |
  13. RickFromTexas

    Romney's got no one else to blame but himself for losing this election. I'll give him this much, though, he did a far better job of killing his campaign than anything the democrats could have done to him.

    October 7, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  14. Jeremy Theodore

    You take the hole month defending your positions, you send everyone to defend and explain that there is a certain group that fits what you said. You said it was the truth, just the wording are not elegant , now you apologize a month later and expect us to believe it's genuine. Are we that ....?

    October 7, 2012 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  15. cincinnatidavid

    Romney putting on the Reagan imitation! He didn't need his notes for the 5-point plan, because he'd heard it so many times from Bush and then McCain.

    October 7, 2012 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
  16. joesmith

    are we going to use Vennezualin voting machines again this year..remember the last time we were given there a company in the USA who wants to make OUR voting machines..ever notice how the media just skips over the real issues, or " where the rubber meets the road issues"..investigative reporters..there are NONE..

    October 7, 2012 05:38 am at 5:38 am |
  17. Larry

    Who does he think he's fooling

    October 7, 2012 06:56 am at 6:56 am |
  18. cathy wolff

    It's just pathetic that anyone would believe anything Mitt Romney says. He will protect the rich and break the middle class, the backbone of this country.

    October 7, 2012 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  19. ZipWizard

    You should follow ancient wisdom when making decisions about leadership. Confucius says, he who switches boats in midstream usually drowns.

    That means Obama has not been in office long enough to FIX all the problems he inherited. Americans are spoiled about the quick fix...the quick food and fast delivery. They mistakenly think a president can repair a $16 trillion econony in only 3 years . Give Obama some slack. He had a LOT on his plate.

    After all, Bin Laden is DEAD and GM is alive! And unemployment is heading down.

    Why do you want to upset the apple cart and go with the Snakeoil Salesman?!!

    October 7, 2012 07:48 am at 7:48 am |
  20. 200 TON HAMMER

    Again I like too ask all middle class,republicans families will you get a $250,000 dallor Tax Refund Check from mitt romney every year he was in office in washington dc??????? Be Honest I would say with 0,000,000 percent no you would not,why have mitt and ryan have not told you middle class republicans their plans for you on paper??????????????

    October 7, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  21. 200 TON HAMMER

    you really look at mitt romney over his history of keeping all jobs in the usa?????he should have created over sixty million jobs with his bain and governor leadership???????? But he did not,for the fact he had Greeditis on his mind and heart

    October 7, 2012 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  22. Facts don't Lie

    you should NOT have to convince people you are a good guy, that should be picked up by others on their own.

    October 7, 2012 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
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