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. jane

    Please, the only soft side to this man is his head. And Ann "feel sorry for me, I'm sick (and have always enjoyed the best, most expensive health coverage around)" Romney has NONE.

    October 6, 2012 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Maria

    I just checked on these people he has helped and all of them with the exception of Jane Horton are members of his church.This repulses me,churches everywhere have people that console and help other members and Romney is making this political to get votes.Just when I thought he couldn't get any lower !!

    October 6, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Liz the First

    He can show he's human all he wants, but the bottom line is he's a republican with ideas that have been proven failures. he represents the party that cares about making the rich richer, period. he will say whatever he thinks will sucker people into voting for him. and really, that's all republicans are good at, suckering people into voting for them and against their own, and the country's, best interest. his attack on PBS shows his priorities. all about war and defense and cut anything that educates or actually improves quality of life for average Americans. i'm sorry, but 'i've got mine, the hell with you' doesn't sound like a good Christian principle, or an American one!

    October 6, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Paul Ernest Show

    No amount of fragrance or powder can conceal Romney's real intentions. His softer side is a temporary pretense, to appeal to voters. This man is a messiah for the rich.

    October 6, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  5. Jo

    What a caring man. I think many people think he's selfish and cold because he's so rich and might have made some comments that were taken the wrong way. Romney really does have a genuinely caring heart. That's why he gives so much for charity, devotes his time and thoughts to those who have needs and aren't as fortunate, and ultimately, running to be President, so he can help Americans overall.

    October 6, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. ShingoEX

    "– and I couldn't quite hear what he said. He tried to speak loud enough for me to hear."

    He was asking for medical marijuana to ease his pain.

    October 6, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  7. nunya

    We definitely can NOT afford to have the Used Car Salesman Romney for four years. If this happens, Freedom is doomed... just sayin..

    October 6, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. ShingoEX

    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."

    Mind letting us know?

    October 6, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Happy Camper

    Yes, kiss grandma nicely before you kick her off the Medicare cliff.

    October 6, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. Melissa

    Romney's record in Massachusetts was misrepresented in the debate. He didn't reach out to democrats. He fought with them and signed a record number of vetoes for governors in recent US history. When he left office, his approval rating was 39% and Massachusetts was 47th in job growth. These are verifiable facts. How can Obama let him get away with lie about his record, I'll never understand. Maybe he couldn't believe how much this guys was just lying and started wondering if he was misinformed....

    October 6, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. cookie lewis, los angeles

    Ask Romney why his party won't support the Veteran's Jobs Act? Ask him why he will not disclose his tax returns? Ask him why he won't honestly speak to his current role in Bain? Ask him why he won't support Choice for women? Ask him why he has the nerve to reverse his stance on the 47%? Ask him why he outright lied about pre-existing conditions for his health plan? Ask him why he supports the Tea Party extremists that have ruined the country for the past 4 years? and the list goes on....... and on... and on......

    October 6, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  12. Roy

    Romney change of his views to make the voters to vote for him so we will be in for a huge surprise if he goes back to old self once he gets into the White House.

    October 6, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Jersey Girl

    Oh, yes, it (he) will go lower. I thought it was Ann that ran over someone way back. I didn't know it was Willard! Maybe both?? Anyway, this guy has the gall to change his stripes in the debate on every issue! The Dream Act? He will only allow those kids who have signed up as of Inauguration Day, no one after that. I feel sorry for those low-information voters, those who really don't know about him. That's probably why Obama couldn't object to everything Willard was lying about at the debate; it was overwhelming....

    October 6, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    Romney literally makes me puke. I hate his guts more than Jesus hates sin. He is a pathological liar. He was in the Mormon Church's Draft Dodger Protection Program during the Vietnam War where he hid like a big fat chicken and coward riding his little French bike around with his little bell on the handle bars while 58,000 American soldiers died in the jungles of Vietnam.

    Whoever believes this liar or votes for him is a fool and uneducated moron.

    October 6, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  15. Jersey Girl

    No ethics and no integrity. He won't be able to buy his way into Heaven, let alone the White House....

    October 6, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  16. Roy

    Where is Romney's tax returns prior to 2010? He is hiding something. He is not trustworthy.

    October 6, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Brian

    BREAKING: Romney exploits the sick and the elderly for political purposes, then vows to destroy medicare.

    October 6, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Willis

    I promise to help...... That is , if your are a Tabby Nackle who lives & Breathes tabby Nacklism. Other than that., You get Nothin From Bishop Romney. & as far as the White, Whiter, Whitest & STUPID White Elder Rule.... Go White Power!!!!!

    October 6, 2012 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |

    Robme sucks.

    October 6, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Mauri

    What is wrong with you people? Have you feasted so long on the person in the WH and his frittering away our beloved country here and abroad that you don't recognize a good man when you see one? Perhaps as the commercial goes, you need to get out more. We deserve a man like Mitt Romney to heal this country before it's too late.

    October 6, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Romney Said Let Them Eat Cake

    Don't get too excited Romney fans another video will be released soon.

    October 6, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Karen P

    Please please spare us the propaganda! Romney doesn't have a "softer side". Mormon Bishop Romney is all money and cold-hearted.

    October 6, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Jersey Girl

    Romney in France was there to convert people to Mormonism. His father left him $1M which he contributed to charity (his church?) as he was already rich. He tried to pretend he had lived in Mass. when he ran for gov there, so he had to CHANGE his tax papers to say he had lived in Mass. How did he get away with this? When he left his one term of gov there, his approval rating was 34%. Gee, I wonder why? And THIS is the guy some of you want in the White House? Incredible.....

    October 6, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  24. David

    Really? The last 4 weeks of the campaign? Can we really be conned into overlooking off shore bank accounts, Bain Capital shenanigans outsourcing US jobs, that obnoxious 48% comment? As if this isnt enough, the republicans have dusted off Karl Rove and now he is touting Romney. Uh, wake up call for America, DONT BUY ANOTHER SHILL FOR BIG BUSINESS...WE CANT AFFORD IT ANYMORE!

    October 6, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Larry L

    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.
    Our Warriors are in a different class from the politicians who start wars. Your family has more than earned the right to call themselves true Americans. You'd be surprised at how few Soldiers completely support the ideology behind the wars we fight. Most of us don't consider it our job to pass judgement on the decision. We support our duty, our comrades, and the belief that our families are safer because of our sacrifice. Chicken-hawks like Mitt Romney aren't fit to wipe the boots of real Soldiers.

    October 6, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
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