Romney's softer side in Florida
October 5th, 2012
10:01 PM ET
9 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. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Why has he refused to produce his long form birth certificate for review?

    October 6, 2012 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  2. GI Joe

    That ad with the woman in NC? I've been in her shop and it is over-priced junk. Maybe she should tell how she got started with money from the democrats.

    October 6, 2012 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  3. sonnie3

    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.

    October 6, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  4. ExRepublican

    Romney is the biggest liar in history.
    The republican dont our country to achieve look at the job numbers gaining strenght.
    Republican are the devil

    October 6, 2012 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  5. Tom

    Yeah, yeah, we get it - Mr. "47% of the country are deadbeat losers" has a warm, fuzzy side that we're now supposed to fall in love with. What's next, a basket full of puppies on the podium at every campaign stop? This guy is a total phony.

    October 6, 2012 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Miki thinks

    We heard all that we need from Romney at the $50K a plate dinner. Thje 47% of the voters that he does not worry about comment, became even worse when put in the context of the whole talk. Romney said he was "completely wrong" and for once he was right. Couple that with Romney's record in Mass. He outsourced state phone center jobs to the orient, at the time that Mass was 47th in job creation. Of course, Romney could spin that there were three states were even worse.

    October 6, 2012 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  7. g

    the new improved mitt–still the same old mitt–flip-flop

    October 6, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. NameG

    Where Is the beef

    October 6, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  9. Gila River Indian Community, AZ

    Not human... This reptilian crawling on the ground and is now raising up to strick/bite us with his venom. IT is not to be trusted.

    October 6, 2012 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  10. Marie MD

    Sorry twit, not buying it. You wouldn't know compassion and feelings for anyone. The stink of greed is all over you. Tomorrow you will say you actually love animals, in particular, dogs!

    October 6, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Republican who supports President Obama

    Not buying into this for a second. He lost my vote from the get-go.

    If he is elected all he will focus on will be to pad the wallets of his family and his croonies.

    October 6, 2012 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  12. Gila River Indian Community, AZ

    The softer side is the belly of this snake!

    October 6, 2012 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  13. Repubs are clowns

    severly conservative my a.....

    October 6, 2012 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. Jeetu

    I am not sure that this Romney's softer side. It is surely his another side to lie while looking straight at you. This what he did at the debate and once again chnaged his positions. In the primaries, he told the republicans that he is really conservative, but now in debate he sounded almost a liberal republican. This is a lie and unethical. Further, his math is totally wrong. Heprovide cannot cover $5 trillion in tax cuts by just handling loopholes (which ones?). Further, there is no way he can provide insurance to 40+ million people without Obamacare which he despises. He says he wants to leave healthcare to the States. That is what did not work until Obamacare was passed.

    How can we afford a guy like Romney in WH? The fact is that we can't and hence must vote for Obama and the democrats in November elections.

    October 6, 2012 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. krl

    Mitt romney will say and do anything to become president he is a person who has multiples personalities dont trust him!!!!

    October 6, 2012 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  16. James

    To the people thinking of voting for Romney: do you really know who he is, what he stands for? can you trust a man that doesn't trust you? he won't let us see any details for his plans, his financial records, and changes his views according to the polls. When I saw the debate I saw I was watching a democratic primary debate? he now doesn't want to cut taxes on the rich, but the day before he advocating 20% tax cut for all that he will pay by closing some loopholes nobody seems to get him to say which?, he wanted to dismantled the department of education but in the debate he wanted to expand it? he claims his plan covers preexisting conditions yet his own campaign leader admitted that is not true just moments after the debate? his won words were: 47% of americans are not taking responsibility for their lives, for weeks doubled down on his statements, and then took it back? who is this man? what does he stand for? which version would we get in February of 2013? Romney 6.2, Romney 7.5, or Romney 8.2?

    October 6, 2012 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. Evergreen

    From "severly conservative" to left of Obama. He either lied to Santorum supporters or he is lying to independents. Which group does plan to throw under the bus if he is elected.

    October 6, 2012 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  18. ME

    Mitt Romney is a liar and always will be. OBAMA BIDEN 2012!!!!

    October 6, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. Pete

    How can Romney have the audacity to talk to a military soldiers widow,a vet when he's a known draftdodger,his whole family as well.He's playing with voters emotions,he's a wolf in sheeps clothing,a snakeoil salesman,a snake in the grass in thinking we think you care,how pathedic..Romneys family started their wealth by suing the Mexican government the same one that gave their grandfathers polygimist family refuge.The Mexican revolution started and as draftdodgers they are they fled back to America and sued the Mexican government about displacing them in the war and getting $10,000 from the suit,in todays exchange with inflation factored in its worth $1,900,000,not bad for suing the hand that feds yah ha!!And that's the softer,compassionate Mormon side of Romney,backstabbers at their best,historic that is!!

    October 6, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  20. zenthrop

    A historian will not try to read anyone's mind, as these bloggers do. If he did, he would be discredited. But they try know someone by their actions and the testimony of those who work closest with the character in intense and compromising times.

    I took Romeny as plastic and fake. No doubt this is how he appears. But since reading many, many, stories of events over many years and thousands of hours of personal, direct, anonymous, effective service, tell me that he is very sincere, very caring, and extremely prepared to turn around the mess done by our Marxist in Chief.

    October 6, 2012 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    @Larry L – I had six(6) brothers and five of them served in our Military; one brother wasn't drafted to serve in Vietnam and did 2 tours at age 19, he died from Agent Orange 2 years ago, another died 3 mths ago. They were honorable men who served our country and our Military honored them at their time of death, I miss my brothers. I don't agree with war and I don't like draft dodgers, but for God's sake our military men and women have given so much to this Romney family and not one is honorable enough to serve. I'd never vote for Mitt Romney, he's sacrificed nothing.

    October 6, 2012 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. SC

    He does not care about the military men and women who have fought and gave their lives for this GREAT Country. His sons are not going to war what he cares. He is not telling the truth about nothing. He is not fooling anybody with his fake change of attiutde. Obama/Biden 2012

    October 6, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  23. Bugl3t

    No mention of the girl who died in your crash in France while you were over there avoiding the draft, Mitt? What a shocker! Thhis guys changes clothes more often than a drag queen...

    October 6, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. An objective observer

    A leopard never changes it's spot... the spots just change around... just like etch a sketch....

    October 6, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. Kareen

    If anyone believes there is a softer side to Romney and vote for him, they are in for a big surprise.
    That man is a Salesman, nothing more.

    October 6, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
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