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)

    @ mauri. If you need some healing feel free to go to the bishop. As for the rest of us 47% we have a good man in the white house. You can have the lier.

    October 6, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    It's entertaining seeing these Obama supporters squirming for whatever ugly bad nasty stuff they can make up about Mitt Romney now. They have every reason to fear what they are watching. Mitt Romney is the man Americans need in the White House and the more they see the more they like. Obama tried with everything he had for 3 1/2 years but his big bets on bad philosophies went bust. And for him it is too late to admit he was wrong and get on a real path to recovery, one like what Mitt Romney has so clearly described in the debate.

    October 6, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. Happy Camper

    Mauri, are you serious? Mitt can heal our country? The GOP doesn't heal wounds, they rip off scabs. They would like to rip the scab off Medicare, off Planned Parenthood, off racial harmony, they want to rip rip rip with their fear mongering to solidify their power.

    October 6, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Maria

    Mauri: I would believe you except for one huge thing Romney does not mention.You see not only are all these people he helped from the same church he is,Mittens is also the pastor of that church.It is his direct job to take care of these people and see to their evry need.Pastors and ministers all over the country do this same thing-Only difference is they do not do it for votes.

    October 6, 2012 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. NauticalMan

    Governor Romney was a moderate his first year in office here, , then morphed into a Regressive for his last three years. He also said what a great State the Commonwealth of Massachusetts was until the end of that year, and has gone around dissing us until now. Voting this man in as President would be an unMittigated disaster for the country. He was basically inept as Governor after that first year, as he found out you cannot issue commands as you can in a private business. As a result the Democratic legislators basically ignored him, overriding all his vetoes of legislative actions. Except for Bill Weld, Republican governors here have not covered themselves in glory or accomplished much other than using the office as a stepping stone.

    October 6, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  6. politics as usual

    Wow. Obama tanks, and instead of defending him (because they can't), his followers start foaming at the mouth.

    October 6, 2012 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  7. Jerry

    Bitter, bitter fools!

    October 6, 2012 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. kmac

    who really cares if Mitty has a soft side–good lord amighty–is this the biggest news of the day?

    October 6, 2012 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  9. Jerry

    CNN, you know Mitt is "fibbing", AGAIN!!! Or, at least that is what the Obamalooneys would like to believe. Why can't my fellow Democrats simply admit that Mitt (that rimes, I opine) whooped Mr. Obama during the debate and go on with their lives. Spin, spin can only go so far. Mr. OBamboozler showed himself to be the clueless angry man that managed to fool the American electorate during the last presidential election. HE and his supporters thought it was going to be a walk in the park. As I have posted before, some of HIS supporters were going to be in for a rude awakening. And, that hurts!

    Now the truth is staring at his supporters right in the face and they just can't hack it. REALLY, it's not Mr. Romney's fault; this time is Obama's fault.

    And, on the lying game, we all know Mr. OBamboozler and fellow Democrats take the crown.

    I know, I know, sometimes it;s not easy to accept the facts...

    October 6, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. roy

    The three americans who made a long lasting effect on Romney have been billionaires Addelson, Warren Buffett, and Donald trump.

    October 6, 2012 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. Beth

    Doesn't it defeat the act of being caring when you feel the need to announce every nice thing you've ever done?

    October 6, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  12. steve-0

    More tax cuts for rich guys-Romney lies

    October 6, 2012 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  13. steve-0

    More tax cuts for rich guys-the tea party is for one thing–making the rich richer and everyone else poorer

    October 6, 2012 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  14. Tony in St. Louis

    Romney is a true salesman. Vote for him if you like your snale oil pure and uncut.

    October 6, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  15. robert

    To the poster above about Romneys record, What about obama, he didm't serve in the military either

    October 6, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  16. One Month From Today

    The majority of the country is not stupid. Obama/Biden 2012

    October 6, 2012 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. gmenfan54

    We certainly did not see Mitt Romney's softer side when he made that 47 percent comment.

    October 6, 2012 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. Mark

    He lied, the thin air was the reason, being a black man he couldn't be aggresive, he lied, he lied, he lied................................................... Hey libs, did I miss anything? Oh yeah, Sunday's polls will show an even bigger Romney lead in the swing states. BYE, BYE, BARRY.

    October 6, 2012 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  19. peachycream

    Softer side...OH PLEAS!!!. He is a wolf in sheep clothing. He has no core and will do and say anything to get into the White House.

    October 6, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  20. Craig RB

    I don't believe a word he says. Electing this egotistical man would send our great country into a tailspin.

    October 6, 2012 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  21. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    Charles Manson has a softer side too. Why doesn't CNN report on that too?

    October 6, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  22. Randy

    I hear a lot about unemployment. Do we take in consideration of all the thousands people that get fired or just quit their job everyday and then file for unemployment. Is that the President fault too?

    October 6, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. Craig RB

    I certainly wouldn't buy a used car from Romney.

    October 6, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  24. paul

    we all know romney has no sides, he is a undimentional,no depth robot.If he won the election it will be mormon in america...And you all know that his lovely church will be writting policy and social doctrine for the years he is in office.I wouldnt be suprised if he made salt lake city the new capital

    October 6, 2012 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  25. Caribbean Reader

    For how long will Obama hide behind former President Clinton? If he can't defend his own record or attack his opponent, what is he good for? The day after the debate, he was brilliant in a democratic rally. But that is preaching to the chorus. When he should have pounced Romney at the debate on economic issues, he just nodded while he agreed with his opponent. He did not prepare for that debate. I expect him to be a lot better in a town meeting debate. But if Romney looks just as good, America will know that Obama can't handle any questions without a teleprompter.

    October 6, 2012 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
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