Scott Romney

(Text only) Six years older than Mitt Romney, Scott Romney is a fundraiser for his younger brother. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on August 9, 2012.

(Text only) Six years older than Mitt Romney, Scott Romney is a fundraiser for his younger brother. This is an edited transcript of an interview conducted on August 9, 2012.

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    Growing Up Romney

    What was it like to be a Romney child? What was it like to grow up in that house? Were there rules and order?

    Oh, yes, there was. It was a lot of rules. We sat at regular dinner every night. We could each pick three foods that we didn't have to eat; otherwise we had to eat everything. It was because my dad [George W. Romney] didn't like three foods, so all the rest of us had to eat everything else.

    But a lot of order. We had a family prayer generally every day, and we went to church on Sundays. And we had chores. Every Saturday we had to work in the yard and do a lot of things in the yard. So we had a pretty orderly life.

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    A Father's Influence

    Your father had a pretty rough childhood and upbringing in his own right. He really went through some hard times. How did that experience inform who he was and the way he viewed the world?

    My father was very frugal in everything he ever did, ... and he talked to us about the importance of being frugal and careful with what we earn and what we make. And he taught us about the importance of hard work.

    By the time he was in sixth grade, he'd been to six grade schools, and his father went broke five times, so he had a real tough upbringing with a bunch of brothers. It was a pretty traumatic kind of existence.

    But they had a great family life and great values, and so he believed in the importance of hard work. He believed in education. He didn't graduate from college, so he wanted to make sure all his children did, and he would check our themes for school. My mother and dad would check what papers we wrote, check out our homework and give us special assignments. ...

    Describe your dad for me. ...

    ... When we were growing up he wasn't in politics; he was in business. He was very busy, but he took a lot of time to be with us. He came to our sports events. He talked with us a lot. We always had special trips. In the summer we took a trip; we went to a family cottage. He took a lot of time with his family and talked about what went on in his life and what inspired him.

    My mother did the same. My mother loved English; she loved reading. She sat with us at the piano when we had to take piano lessons. She sat there at our practice sessions.

    They were very involved in our lives, and my dad was a happy guy, always a positive guy, very powerful. When he walked in the room, you knew he was there. He had a lot of power to him, and he was a lot of fun.

    He was our hero growing up and in everything we ever did. He was just a terrific guy. ...

    He loved his family. He loved sports. He was just a fanatic about sports, loved it and got us all involved in liking sports. He loved business. He was interested in so many different things, constantly learning, always studying, always trying to find out new things and always challenging people about issues and ideas. So he was an interesting character. ...

    Was that intimidating as a son?

    To a degree. But, you know, somebody early on told me: "Don't try to be the kind of boy to please your father. Be the kind of boy that you would like to have as a son." And that made you realize what was really important in life. Values and how you conduct your life is more important than trying to do everything that your father did.

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    I've heard a lot about the love connection between your parents. Tell me about the relationship that they had.

    They had a tremendous love affair. We always heard the stories about their dating and the spectacular stories, how he would -- it sounds terrible today -- but when she'd date somebody else and he was sick, he found out, and he followed them on a date. And when she was in a school play and supposed to kiss another boy, he stood right there to make sure it wasn't anything too much.

    And [we heard] how much he loved her and really pursued her, because he came from the poor side of the tracks, [and] she did not. So it was really a love affair. ... They really had an unusual relationship. They were very, very happy people.

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    MormonismGrowing Up Romney

    Talk to me about the role that faith played in your family and how that was taught to you children.

    Faith was a big part of our life because we went to church every Sunday. As I said, we had family prayers on a regular basis, and Dad talked about religion on a regular basis.

    He talked about the importance of respecting other people -- not just tolerating, but respecting and honoring their faiths and their views -- but that it was important for us to learn our faith and to learn enough so that we could decide how we wanted to conduct our own lives. It dominated his life and my mother's life in a very important way.

    For people that aren't religious, help me understand what it gave them, how that impacted them.

    I think their values in terms of faithfulness and giving to charity and their desire to respect other people, their view about needing to help other people, all of those things came from that.

    And particularly my dad's background, he saw the need for people to help one another and to work with one another. He talked about that. He talked about how important that was, and how the early settlers in Salt Lake helped one another and assisted one another and their families. So it was a big deal. ...

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    A Father's Influence

    Talk to me about the special connection between Mitt and your father.

    Dad loved us all and treated us all with great love. But Mitt was six years younger, a surprise, and Dad had a little bit more time perhaps. And Mitt was so much in love with cars, and my dad was president of a car company, and so they built a little go-cart together, and they did things together. Mitt spent a lot of time listening to him at night, going through his papers and talking about business and so forth. So they had a special relationship, and that continued on. ...

    ... I read somewhere where you said that Mitt was able to speak to him with a different ease than some of the others, that he had the confidence to answer back sometimes.

    I said it differently. I remember specifically a couple times. One of them was when my mother was thinking of running for Senate, and my dad would gather the four children together and say, "This is what we're thinking of, and do you think this is a good idea?" My sister Lynn and my sister Jane and I would say, "Gee, dad, that sounds great."

    And Mitt would say: "Well, have you thought about this? Have you thought about [that]?" It wasn't so much that we weren't willing to challenge him, because I think my dad enjoyed people challenging him, but that was really more about Mitt, that Mitt thought of different aspects and thought of pros and cons of things that sometimes the rest of us didn't see.

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    Romney's Core NatureRomney as a Leader

    He does seem to have this sort of confidence or sense of self. Where do you think that comes from?

    I think he's a unique individual. I think everybody in my family has a pretty good intellect, but Mitt has an ability to analyze and see the heart of issues and delve into it perhaps more thoroughly than some. And you see it all the time. He just thinks differently.

    When he left to run against Ted Kennedy for Senate, his partners came to me and said, "We need him back." I said: "Why do you need him back? You've got the brightest people from all the schools in the country at Bain." [They] said: "Because he asks the toughest questions. If we could get a deal through him, we knew it was going to work," because he knew everything to think about that was a positive or a negative with the transaction.

    I've seen it time and time again, how he conducts meetings, how he conducts staff meetings that I have a privilege of going to every now and then, and they bring ideas to him. He's challenging. He asks them the proper questions. He just is a person that is able to bring a different analytical spirit to it and encourages them to do the same. And [he] then is able to make a very good decision.

    And is that something he had all along?

    I think a lot of it. ... I think he did have it all along.

    You know, when ... he was 16, I was 22. My parents put us in a hotel someplace. ... Mitt and I were going to be there for three days, and Mitt said, "Well, Scott, why don't we change our rooms to the cheapest rooms in the hotel, the smallest, cheapest rooms in the hotel, and then we can use the rest of the money for food?"

    You know, 16-year-olds don't always think about that. He's always thinking about different ways of doing things. It's just in his nature.

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    Growing Up Romney
    Their parents taught them 'honor and integrity and how to live your life.'

    Talk to me about the family councils that your dad used to have, ... the family discussions for important decisions. ...

    I remember one specifically when Mitt was thinking of doing graduate school after Brigham Young [University]. Mitt kind of wanted to go to business school. He didn't think he needed to go to law school as well. And my dad and I sat down with him and told him that he needed to get a law degree and a business degree at the same time. Frankly, I don't know that that was really necessary, but we had long discussions with him about that.

    And that's when we learned a lot from our parents about what they thought was important in life and what they thought was critical that had happened that week and how they viewed their lives. ...

    They talked about values. They talked about meeting people that had inspired them with their lives. They talked about religious concepts. They talked about honor and integrity and how to live your life. Those were the things that they talked about. And so that's what you learned was important in life. ...

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    A Father's Influence

    Your brother was with him in 1964 at the [Republican National] Convention when he walked out during [Sen. Barry] Goldwater's [R-Ariz.] speech. Tell me what you think your brother learned watching your father do that.

    Mitt was involved in the earliest campaign of my father in 1962, very much involved, driving my mother around. And people would [ask] me afterward: "Where's your brother? He had such great personality, so much fun to be with. That guy's going places." ...

    In 1964 we went to San Francisco to the convention, and my father was concerned. He thought that the people on the right side of the party were not as much in favor of civil rights as he was. And my father was a major proponent of equal rights for African Americans and others, people of color.

    And in fact, this was the first state that had a civil rights commission in the country, and our father believed in that very, very strongly. He was very concerned about that, and that's one of the reasons he left that.

    And then he never really fully endorsed Goldwater in that election. I think later on Goldwater showed that he really didn't have a negative racist view, but there was that tinge, that element seemed to be there in the party at that time.

    As sons, seeing your father -- that's a bold move for someone to make. What were the lessons taken away from that?

    I think that my father was always willing to live according to his principles. He didn't shy away from any challenge. He was a very strong person in doing that, and we learned that you have to live up to what you believe in.

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    A Father's Influence

    In terms of civil rights, that was something even the church wasn't fully up to speed in the same way, and he was willing to speak out. Was that something that was challenging for him?

    It was not. I don't want to really talk about the religious aspects, but it's true that our church didn't provide the same status for African Americans as it did for others at that time. But my father believed fully that everybody was equal and that there was no difference in terms of what rights people should have and strongly believed that.

    As a matter of fact, if you go back, there's a biographer that's gone back into some of the letters that my father wrote to his father. As long as my grandfather was alive, my dad wrote him a letter every week, and those letters are in the library at the University of Michigan.

    And he talked about that coming from Salt Lake City, where there no African Americans, and coming to Detroit and finding so many qualified people, he talked about how terrific he thought so many people were and how important it was for our country to understand that we're all equal and all children of our father in heaven.

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    Growing Up Romney
    Mitt 'will fight like crazy to win a tennis match'

    ... You attended Cranbrook [School] as well [as Mitt], so give me a sense of the culture at Cranbrook.

    The culture at Cranbrook was one of studying. You had to study and turn in a theme every Monday morning. And you were challenged to do your work at school. There were tough homework assignments, a lot of work to do, a lot of smart kids there.

    And then sports was an important part because there weren't many students, so everybody was asked to participate in sports, so you had an opportunity to learn that aspect of life. ...

    Your nephews gave your brother quite a ribbing for his athletic skills. Is it fair to say he wasn't really an athlete in those years?

    You know what's interesting is that Mitt is a good athlete, but he did not excel at any high school sports. He could run well, long distances, but not with a lot of speed in the beginning.

    But he's very determined. If you play him in a sport, you’d better be ready, because he's very competitive. He will fight like crazy to win a tennis match or to win at racquetball or whatever.

    He races his boys every year, and it's a very competitive race, so he's a very tough competitor. And he's a terrific water-skier. He's one of the better water-skiers you'll want to see. ...

    He really sounds sort of the life of the party.

    ... He was a fun-loving guy that liked to play pranks. ... I had a chance to talk to a number of his classmates, and they talked about the fact that Mitt liked to have a lot of fun. But they talked about what a good person he was, and how he had a balance in his life that the rest of them later on really admired. They understood he had a balance of friends and academics and play and family that they admired as they look back on it. ...

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    Mitt and Ann

    When did you first hear the name Ann Davies?

    I came back from England when I was in my 20s, and he was already started dating her, so that's when I heard of her. And I would go with them a lot of times doing things. They would go swimming or playing games or doing other things, and they had a very special relationship.

    ... I thought it would last from the beginning because of the way they just interacted so well and they were so compatible. And they liked everything that they did together. And who wouldn't like him? He was a lot of fun. And who wouldn't like her? She was a lot of fun and beautiful as well. So it was a great match. ...

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    ... Tell me why he chose to go to Stanford. Did he talk to you about being concerned about being that far away?

    No, he didn't. ... He went to Stanford for his first year before he went on a mission for our church to France and probably would have continued there except for the fact that Ann by that time had gone to Brigham Young, and so he chased her there. ...

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    ... As his brother and someone who had gone through [a mission] before him, did you talk to him before he left, and what sort of advice did you give him?

    Well, it's very hard work, and I think it was a tough experience. It's a lot of rejection, and you learn a lot about what you believe. You learn a lot about working hard and being alone.

    It's a different life. I mean, you live in inexpensive places to live. And I remember that when Mitt was on his mission, there were a number of times that he had to get rid of fleas and rats in his room and other things. And so it's an interesting experience to learn what a lot of people deal with in this world. That's part of it, and it's a great training ground.

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    Was he writing letters home to you during that period of time?

    Not to me, but he did to Dad. And my dad wrote him, as they did. My mom and dad wrote me practically every week while I was gone for two years. And he was gone for two and a half. They did the same with him.

    And they're meaningful letters you write back and forth, telling what you think, what you believe in terms of religious faith, and what you think about life and what you want to be. And my parents would talk about where they were headed and what they thought was important in the world.

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    Romney as a Leader
    'Il mort, Il mort!'

    He got into a horrible car accident.

    He was in a horrible car accident. He was driving a car, and the woman next to him was the mission president's wife, and she was killed. And the man next to her, who was of course her husband, and Mitt ... he was knocked out of the car onto the ground. The person coming the other way was drunk and crossed way over and hit them head-on.

    And he was dragged out, and the policeman looked over and said, "Il mort, il mort” -- “He's dead, he's dead." Mitt woke up in a ward with a bunch of people -- because other people were so injured in the accident they were taking care of them -- and he didn't know where he was. And then for a period of time he didn't have any feeling in one side of his face. It took a while for that to come back. ...

    How do you think that experience impacted him?

    Oh, I don't know how that impacted him. I think he knows about the seriousness of life and the importance of life.

    It's interesting to me how he transformed from being somebody that enjoyed so much life and always enjoyed life -- he's always enjoyed life. ... But in high school, he was spending his time doing pranks and fun things, and when he went to college, and then when he went to graduate school, he decided, "I'm going to be the best I can be at it; I'm going to do everything the best I can be."

    And he made a commitment to himself to work hard. And I think part of that comes from that experience of going overseas and seeing other people and having life-threatening experiences and deciding what you're going to make out of your life. And he decided he wanted to make the most he could out of his life and worked as hard as he possibly could to do that.

    And when he went to the consulting business, he did the same. He worked harder and longer hours than others, and really worked hard to think about it. He would talk to me about the issues that they were dealing with -- without revealing the companies -- and would provide some of the thoughts and insights and the way he'd go about thinking about them.

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    Romney as a Leader

    ... What's amazing is that after going through such a traumatizing experience, he didn't sort of curl up in a ball. He became a leader. Talk to me about what those qualities are in your brother that allowed him to do that. ...

    I think that my dad was a leader, so we got to see what a leader does, and it's a nice advantage. It isn't the sole thing that gets you there, because it's not enough; you've got to be a leader yourself. But Mitt learned the qualities of leadership.

    But then he exhibited them. To be a leader, you have to care about the people you work with. You have to really care, and you have to care about the issues that you're confronting. And that's critical, because you have to care more about it than anybody else, and you have to be an example to the others in doing so.

    But you have to care about the people that you're working with, or they're not going to respond. And he showed respect for them, learned how to extract the best ideas and the best talents of others and to use that so that they can accomplish a common goal.

    And he knows how to inspire people. What's interesting about people working on his campaign, I've had three or four of them say to me: "You know, I've worked on other campaigns, and the longer you work on a campaign, the more cynical you become about the candidate. The longer I've worked for Mitt Romney, the more I've respected him; the more I've come to honor him in terms of the kind of person he is and what he can accomplish. This is somebody that really can lead this country and lead the world."

    You've talked about the transformation of those two years. It sounds like he came home with direction.

    I think it's a gradual thing, and it took place longer than just those two years. And probably falling in love and then getting married had something to do with it as well, and having a wife that supports you and encourages you in everything that you do as a team is important, and then realizing that you have kids and you have to set an example for them.

    All of those things move you toward deciding what is important and what's serious in life and what you're going to devote yourself to in terms of your serious pursuits. And so that's it.

    But Mitt is a remarkable leader in terms of being able to pick people that can get things done. It's very tough for him to select you to work for him. He's very demanding, and he really wants people that have special ability to get things done. He really can determine who can do a job well and who can't do a job well.

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    Romney as a Leader

    We've spoken to some people who have worked for him, and they talk about it sort of is an honor.

    He was at Bain Capital, which he owned 100 percent of. He told Bill Bain, "If I'm going to run this private equity business, after the first fund, I want to own 100 percent of the general partner." And so he owned 100 percent of it. Bill Bain, who'd started the consulting business, after the first fund wasn't involved. He was an investor, but Mitt controlled it 100 percent.

    And then when Bain Consulting got into a little difficulty, they asked him to come back and take it over. And they said, "Well, we have to cut back; we have to let some people go because we don't have enough work." And they gave him a list of people, and one of them was [current president and CEO of Hewlett-Packard] Meg Whitman. He said: "Well, you know, I don't. I think she's got some real talent."

    That's amazing.

    So he has an eye for talent. And what's interesting, he's willing to delegate, because as a leader, you've got to delegate. But he's also willing to get involved when there's a need.

    And what's interesting on the finance side, where I'm helping to raise money for Mitt, we have Spencer Zwick; that's really our finance director. He's 32 years old, and Mitt has delegated so much to Spencer, and he's done such an outstanding job. But it isn't that Mitt just steps away from it. He just knows what a great job he can do and will give advice and listen to him and so forth.

    In areas I've seen him get involved because "This is something I really need to get done." When he ran the Olympics, he had to be a great leader to be able to turn it around the way he did. And yet when there was a traffic jam one place on a ski hill, he got out and started directing the traffic. That's the kind of guy he is. He's not afraid to get involved at any level.

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    Mitt and AnnMormonism
    While Mitt was in France, George converted Ann

    Tell me about their wedding, what that experience was like.

    They were married in Ann's home. It was just a wonderful wedding. ... Then the next day they went to our temple in Salt Lake City and had it sealed there, because we believe marriages can be forever.

    ... Talk to me about the significance of that sealing.

    We believe that everybody has the chance to be sealed to their families forever, so by being married in the temple, they have the chance of being together with their family in the eternity. ...

    Ann converted to Mormonism, and your father, as I understand, he really helped teach her and guide her as well. Talk to me about the bond they formed during that.

    While Mitt was gone for two and a half years, my dad would take Ann to church. And he did that because he liked Mitt so much, and he knew Mitt really cared about her. When he left on his mission, he was in love with his bride, and when he came back she was still there. Usually the girls are not there when they come back; they found somebody else.

    So [my father] was very devoted to Mitt and trying to see if that was a possibility. And he liked [Ann] an enormous amount. He had a special affection and devotion to her and thought she was a terrific, marvelous person, so he spent a lot of time taking her to church and doing other things because he cared for her so much as well. ...

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    A Father's Influence

    ... There are a number of father-son examples in politics, especially sons following in their father's footsteps, whether it's the Bush family or the Gores. And in some of those instances it looks like it's what is expected of [the son]. ... Was this the path that your father wanted for Mitt? Did Mitt go this route because that was something that was expected of him?

    Not at all. My father wanted us to pursue what we thought was best for ourselves. He wanted us to have good lives, and he didn't really care whether we went into politics or not went into politics.

    He did say this. My father believed that it was important to establish yourself in some field before you went into politics. That isn't right for everybody, obviously, and I know a number of great politicians who didn't follow that path.

    But my father believed it was important to have experience in the real world and to understand and to have success in that world, so that if you decided to go into politics, it wouldn't make a difference whether you won or lost; it wasn't going to be your career. You could really give and be honest about what you believed and do your best, and that you would have greater capacity to lead by having led in another sector. ...

    But in terms of suggesting that we run for office or encouraging us to run, he never really did that. When Mitt did run for Senate and lose, he said: "I hope you have a chance to do something again. Many times you learn more from a loss than from a win." ...

    So my parents didn't really have a path that they wanted us to follow. But when you worked on your parents' campaigns and you got to go to the meetings and see what was going on, you realized that you could get a lot done by helping other people.

    So from that standpoint, our parents taught us we have to give back to the community. My dad was very serious about the importance of us doing something besides whatever our professions were, and giving back in our church and in our community was a critical element.

    ... When I went to Cranbrook, the other people were all from the big auto companies and so forth, and my dad from this small company, and my dad said: "There'll be a lot of boys there, Scott, who think they're something because their fathers are something. And remember, what your parents do only gives you an opportunity. You have to decide what you're going to be yourself. And don't think that somebody's great just because their father was great." He was very serious about the importance of being the person that you need to be.

    ... Would Mitt have sought his counsel? Did you all seek his counsel in those moments?

    Yes. Changing jobs or doing anything that was a major significance, yes, we would ask our father's counsel. ...

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    Mitt and Ann

    Talk to me about the role that Ann plays in your brother's life. ...

    First of all, they have a love affair, so that's probably the most important single thing. And she supports him and views him as somebody that really can make a difference in all of the areas.

    But they're a team. Ann has her own advice and own thoughts and certainly expresses that. I've heard her tell Mitt: "You debated on this issue a little too hard. This fellow might not understand that you're just challenging him as a devil's advocate rather than really believing what it is that you were challenging him on."

    So she's very much involved in shaping how he conducts himself and what he thinks about. But she views him as a great leader and somebody that really is unusual in being able to accomplish things.

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    The Loss to Kennedy
    After the Kennedy race, 'he told me how much he hated losing.'

    But after he lost, he told me how much he hated losing, and it was really painful getting over the loss. And that was very, very difficult on him. But there was never a time that he thought he could win. He said: "There was never one day that I thought I was going to win. I went into it thinking that there might be a shot, and that I should take the shot, but I never one day did I think I was going to win."

    He said, "I'm never going to go into another race without thinking that I could win." He's a very determined guy.

    And it was one of the first real times that he had a real failure like that. So what do you think he learned from that experience?

    I think he learned a lot about politics. And he learned how to get over tough things. He's had other tough things in his life, but he learned how to get over a disappointment, and he decided how he was going to do something differently the next time and how to go about it.

    Just as the car accident that he had caused him to have greater motivation in his life, I think that loss caused him to have greater motivation to do it differently the next time.

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    The Loss to Kennedy
    ’Dad, it’s Mitt’s race.’

    Your father was very present during that run.

    He was very present. As a matter of fact, my mother wasn't particularly well, so my father had a new downstairs built in their home and had a couple move in so that they could be with her while he was gone.

    He came to Boston, and he would always take the subway to wherever Mitt was; he would never take a taxi or anything else. He was always giving advice. ...

    So we all did come. And I remember my dad said, "Let's all spread out across the state, and we'll all go everywhere and we can deliver the message." And my brother said, "No, I'd like you all to just stay together and go on a train together and do one thing together."

    My dad called me, and he said: "You've got to talk to Mitt. You've got to tell him." And I said: "Dad, it's Mitt's race. Ten years from now he ought to be able to say he did it his way." And my dad, in his late 80s -- one year later died; he was 87 -- he said: "Oh, you're right. Let's do what Mitt wants."

    He was such a passionate guy, but you could discuss things with him, and he would change his mind. ...

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    A Father's Influence

    ... Talk to me about the comments that [your father] made, the "brainwashing" comments that he made during the 1968 election and how the backlash from that impacted him. What that was like for him?

    ... My father had been to Vietnam, and he had determined that what was being told to the press back in the United States was not accurate. And he kept saying that it wasn't accurate, and finally used the term that some auto people used, "brainwashing."

    What was interesting was that his political advisers had the right to look at the tape and delete anything that they didn't like in the tape, and they didn't think there was anything wrong with it. And Lou Gordon, a few days later, sent it to some national station, and they made a big deal out of it and made it sound like he was a buffoon and so forth and that he was really an idiot.

    What my father said at the time was, he said sometimes in politics being right too soon is a mistake and doesn't work out well, but he never regretted it, because he knew he was right that we were not telling the truth about what was going on in Vietnam.

    And later, what was most upsetting to my father was not the public reaction, but his good friend Bob McNamara ... wouldn't speak to him after that, because he was secretary of defense. Then, many years later, Bob McNamara came out and acknowledged that they weren't telling the truth. ...

    So my dad always felt that he gave his best, and that was all he was required to do. And I saw him decide to drop out of the race. I was with him the next day, and he [had] exactly the same demeanor and [was] the same person and the same positive attitude that he'd had before. He never showed an ounce of regret to me.

    He always showed that he'd fought as hard as he could and done the best he could. Didn't work out. And maybe it worked out for the better or something else. He never took it as a defeat or something that he'd done wrong, because he thought he told the truth.

    Much has been made of the lessons that your brother took from that experience.

    ... I don't see that. Every politician today knows they have to be careful about what they say. And frankly, I think Barack Obama has not been careful and has revealed some of the things he really believes by saying some things that we're all going after him on. But everybody knows that you have to be careful. I don't think that caused Mitt to be any more careful than he otherwise would have been.

    I think what Mitt saw is that you have to say what you believe. You have to fight as hard as you can for what you believe and what you do, and then you have to let the chips fall where they may. That's what Mitt learned. Mitt learned the importance of integrity and Mitt learned the importance of trying to make things better.

    Somebody said to me the other day, "Well, Mitt, he's a businessman, and that's why he's doing this," because we all talk about his great business experience. I said: "You know what? He left Bain in 1999. The people that stayed there made way more money than he did. He could have stayed there and continued to run the place. He left and went to the Olympics and didn't take a dime to straighten out the Olympics. Then he went and became governor, didn't take a dime."

    This is somebody that did it because he thought he could make life better. He told me at the time, he said: "I don't want to go back into business. I want to give the rest of my life to public service. I want to do something to help people. I've done enough for my family and for me. It's time for me to give back." So that's his motivation. It isn't any other motivation.

    So what we learned from our father was give it your all, do everything you can, be honest about what you can do. ... I don't think my father would have made it anyway without that statement, because there were several other things that could have happened. Rockefeller said he was going to support him and then backed off. So a number of things happened that created a different environment. But nevertheless, that isn't what shaped our lives. What shaped our lives is the kind of person he was.

    Why did [your father] want to be president?

    Because he thought he could straighten out the country. He thought there were problems that he could fix, and he thought he had the ability to do it. And so did a number of other people. It was a different era.

  24. Ψ Share

    ... At the time of the Olympics, Ann had just been diagnosed with MS [multiple sclerosis]. As his brother, talk to me about the impact of that diagnosis.

    He called me and told me, and he was very concerned and told me of course that whatever happened, he loved her and everything was going to turn out OK, and so forth.

    Ann was very much interested in him taking the job for the Olympics. When he took that job, he called me a number of times and asked for my advice. And I said my only advice was: "Mitt, if you're going to do it, you need to do it fast. You can't dillydally, because they'll need to pick somebody else if you're not going to do it." So he did make a decision fairly rapidly, but Ann really encouraged him to do it. She felt he needed to do that. It was the right thing for him to do.

    But then she has told me that when she got out to Utah, and they'd just built a vacation home out there, when she got out there she felt like she fell off a cliff because she couldn't get out of bed. She was in pain and couldn't do anything. And she'd left the doctors in Boston that she felt were the best in the country to come out to Salt Lake, where she didn't feel they'd have as good as doctors.

    But then she began to revive because she, of course, kept up contact with her doctors in the East, and she found that riding horses helped her. And so it became a life that really made a big difference to her and helped her and really put her in remission for these many years. She attributes that a lot to the right horses and some of the medical people she got out in Utah with a holistic view rather than just the medical view. ...

    But it was very difficult on both of them because they were very concerned about her health and how that was going to impact her. But Ann was devoted to having Mitt take the responsibility for the Olympics. She felt he could straighten it out.

  25. Ψ Share

    ... There's the story of the Kennedy campaign, that she sort of gives him the little nudge that he needs.

    She was the one that encouraged him to run against Ted Kennedy. She pushed him to do that. ...

    After the last election in 2008 -- such a trying thing to go through a primary process -- she said, "We'll never do it again." And then she's the one that said: "Mitt, can you fix this country? We need to do it. We don't believe that Obama's policies have worked. We need to change the direction of this country if we're going to save it." ...

    Mitt really believes that the soul of this country and the future of this country is at balance in this election, because if we go the way of Europe, we're not going to be the number one power in this world. We have to be able to sustain freedom in this world. This country has to be the strongest nation in the world, and this country has to have the spirit and the economy that helps it sustain that.

    Mitt really believes that we're headed in the wrong direction in that regard. If you look at the countries in Europe, they are just stagnant, with high unemployment, incredibly high deficits. And our deficit is reaching the tipping point. Four more years, we're going to be in a position that France and Italy and some of the other countries are if we don't straighten it out.

  26. Ψ Share

    ... At what point did you see a president in him? ... When did you start thinking that way?

    I saw a difference in him really in '94 when he ran against Ted Kennedy. I don't know that I saw him as president, but I saw what kind of person he could be to help our country. I saw how devoted he was and how much he knew about issues, and as years have gone by, I saw what kind of talent he had and unusual ability he had as a leader and as a thinker and as an accomplished kind of person. But then when I saw it in the political sphere, I realized that this is somebody that really could make a difference. ...

    When they came and asked him to run for governor -- some people from Massachusetts had come that morning -- we had dinner that night, and somebody at the dinner said to him: "Well, Mitt, you don't have the energy to do that now. You've been working so hard on the Olympics." And he said, "Oh, yes, I do." And he didn't decide [until] a couple of weeks later. He didn't make the decision that night, but he's a person of unusual capacity and energy. ...

    When did he start talking to you about thinking about running for office?

    ... In 2006 he called me and said, "I'd like somebody with a little gray hair to help raise money, and I wonder if you'd be willing to help me." And he asked me to help with him on his campaign. Since then, I've been doing everything I can to help his political career.

    ... That conversation about jumping into the presidential race, what was that like?

    It was kind of exciting, but it was challenging, daunting. We talked about it. He said that he was going to give it a full shot. He said that people had said: "You know, Mitt, you don't have to decide in 2006 whether you're running or not, but you have to decide whether you want to have the opportunity to run. And if you don't do some things now to start raising money and putting a team together, you won't have the opportunity when the time comes to make the decision."

    So that's what we talked about, how he needed to put a team together and that I could be helpful to him in certain aspects. ...

    And why did he ultimately decide to run?

    Because he really believes the country needs a change. The country needs a new direction. He believes in freedom, he believes in opportunity, and he believes that we need a strong economy and a strong foreign policy. And he believes that it's not being provided.

  27. Ψ Share

    What do you think went wrong in 2008?

    I don't think anything went wrong. We got awfully close, so little things probably made a difference. Had we won Florida, we would have won the whole thing. And perhaps Gov. [Charlie] Crist and Sen. [Mel] Martinez endorsing [Sen. John] McCain [R-Ariz.] that last weekend made the difference for McCain to be the nominee.

    But it isn't that things went wrong. I think there are things we learned from it.


    We have to have a message that is more focused, and we need to have a better organization than what we had. Mitt had top people, and they were very helpful to him that time -- he had people that I don't want to demean that are working for him now that were terrific -- but he never had a strategy and discussions and involvement about tactics and strategy in the way that he'd really like. And he decided to put that team together.

    So there were things that he could do differently. He knew that he needed to relate to people better and let people see his personality, which we still need to do. And I think that will come out at the convention. ...

  28. Ψ Share

    And personally, you talked about Ann saying that she's done. Campaigns are grueling. His family is everything to him, as I understand. How difficult was that in terms of the personal hits that were taken and putting everybody through that?

    I think the personal attacks are difficult for anybody, and it takes time to adjust to that so that they don't let it take you off your focus of what's really important and what people care about.

    Mitt has learned that they can make all these personal attacks, which they're going to do, because the only way I believe the opposition can beat Mitt Romney is to try to demean him. They can't beat him based on their record and what Mitt can do and what the record is of the current administration.

    So Mitt knows that he needs to focus and tell people what problems we have now and inspire them that he's the guy that can fix it, and he knows that's the message that he needs to give to people. ...

    Did he struggle with the decision to run again?

    Yes, I think he did. I think he had to think about it long and hard whether he wanted to go through that process, whether he thought he could win, whether he thought that there were others that could do or as well as he could do. And so he struggled with it quite a bit.

  29. Ψ Share
    Others on this topic:
    His Change of Heart on Abortion
    Why Mitt changed his mind on abortion

    ... He's been called a flip-flopper, that he's changed his positions over time. What's your reaction to that?

    I think there are narratives that certain people in the press like to put on people, and they try to do it. and other candidates try to tack onto it and so forth.

    Mitt did change his mind about pro-life. He was more neutral about it, but he changed to become a pro-life person actually in 2006 and has been consistent about that.

    Really there's nothing else that he really had a major change on. ... There's only one thing that he changed dramatically on, and so I think the rest of it is all just a bunch of press baloney.

    Talk to me about that one thing that he did change his mind on. What are the conversations you've had with him about that?

    First of all, when he was running for Senate, he felt that it wasn't his role to have a decision in that. When he ran for governor really was more significant. He felt that he was not going to be able to change the laws of Massachusetts. He felt that they were established, and he had sympathy for people feeling differently about it. He said he was personally pro-life, but he was going to let people make up their own decisions, and he wasn't going to interfere with the law.

    But then when he started investigating cloning and really getting involved with it, and he was with a professor of one of the schools, and the professor said, "Well, it's all right, we put them in this petri dish and then we just kill some of them," and all of a sudden he thought, "You know, this really is about life."

    It really hit him hard. It hit him in that moment that he really was pro-life, and he needed to let everybody know that he was, and that that's how he was going to conduct the remainder of his term as governor. And that's what he did.

    He was always tolerant of people, of gay and lesbian [people] and had people in his administration, felt there should be equal rights and equal opportunity. So the people that think he changed his mind on that will say, "Look what positive things he said about equal rights."

    But he was always against gay marriage and never for it. So they say, "Gee, he was for equal rights, so he must have been for gay marriage." Well, back in '94, nobody was talking about gay marriage.

    He didn't change his mind on other topics. He changed his mind on the one thing. It's frustrating more than anything else when you can't get the message out and people continue to distort what you believe. But, you know, that's what happens. So you've got to fight through it and eventually get your message out.

  30. Ψ Share
    Others on this topic:
    Romney's Ambition and Motivation

    ... How would you describe what's really at his core and what his values are?

    I think he has a religious conviction that's at his core. I think he has a love for his family that is dramatic and strong at his core. And I think he has a motivation to do good that's at his core. At his core, he wants to make things better. Every place I've seen, that's his major core.

    And then at his core is a determination and a willpower that is enormously powerful and a motivating factor for him. ... And he believes at his core that he has talents and abilities that are unique and can make a change in whatever activity he's involved in, because he's seen himself do it so many times. It's unusual to have that kind of confidence in yourself. He has that kind of confidence. ...

    Mitt has confidence that he has the ability to change people's lives, that he can make things better. At his core he wants to do good, and he's got confidence that he can make things better. ...

  31. Ψ Share

    A lot of people have talked about his patriotism and about his real love of America.

    Oh, yes, he loves the country. Our parents taught us to love the country. Mitt talks about that. My dad every four years would take us on a tour across the Western part of the United States, and that was to teach us about what a great country it is. And then he [and] my dad, they would sing songs and read books and talk about heroes in this country, and talk about their heroes, and talk about their families and how our ancestors came to this land and what they came for and what it meant to them.

    Those things cause you to love this country. And they'd talk about other people, and my dad would tell stories about so-and-so who came to this country with nothing and what happened to them, and how people have fought for this country. You learned it a lot from your family, and then you learned it from school and from life.

    What do you think this would mean to your father, to see your brother in this place?

    He would be fighting hard for this to happen. He'd be very excited, and he'd be very proud. He's very proud of all of his children, and he would really be thrilled to see Mitt have this opportunity.

  32. Ψ Share
    Others on this topic:
    Romney's Core Nature

    [Republican political consultant] Charley Manning said to us: "There are people in life who are unlucky. There are people in life like me that just some things go your way and some things don't. And then there's Mitt." He thinks luck sort of follows him. What do you think of that?

    I think luck is where preparation and opportunity meet. ... He got in private equity at a perfect time, but not everybody else knew it was a perfect time, and it was enormously successful. He was really the founder in one way of some of the private equity business. He's been at the right place at the right time, but he's the one that was able to perform.

    People have also described him as a rules guy. He likes rules, and he likes order. ...

    I think he likes rules, and I think he likes order, but I think he's willing to deal with chaos when it happens. He's very good in emergencies. Everything I've ever seen, he's very good in emergencies.

    And he has a little bit of that prankster that he was as a kid; he can be rebellious when he needs to be rebellious. And when he knows a rule is wrong, he'll fight against that rule. So he's an independent thinker.

    What are the things that ruffle him?

    ... I don't know what really gets him upset anymore. My dad had a little bit of a temper, and I think we all have a little bit of a temper. Probably most people do. But he's learned that that isn't effective in getting things done, and so he's learned to deal with it.

    I know that he would get mad at his boys sometimes when they would do something that upset him, and he would get mad at this and that and the other. But I haven't seen him get angry at even the most despicable thing that I think other candidates could do. He really understands that that's something he has to deal with and he has to get over it. It's like a bad [referee] call in a basketball game; there's really nothing you can do about it.

  33. Ψ Share
    Others on this topic:
    Romney's Ambition and Motivation

    ... Why does he want to be president?

    I think he believes he's the only person in this position that can straighten out this country. He believes he can bring a team together to help straighten out the deficit issues, to move us on a track where we solve our deficit, where he believes that we can get to employment and help people with employment, that we can deploy our energy in a way that can dramatically grow our country. ...

    And he believes that he's the one that knows how to exploit those things. He believes that we can lift more people out of poverty, that more people can do better in the middle class. We've had a tremendous increase in poverty in the last four years, dramatic, and the middle class has suffered. And he believes that he can provide opportunity for people.

    And he believes that this country is the only hope for freedom in this world.

    ... What does that mean?

    Because there are other countries that have freedom, but without the strongest country in the world supporting freedom, other philosophies could take over. The philosophy of Russia trying to use its natural resources to become a superpower again, they don't have freedom. China trying to use some of our free-enterprise system, but they don't have freedom. You don't have freedom of education, freedom of where you're going to live, what job you're going to have, or let alone religion.

    And then you have the radical Islamists that want to destroy everything in the West at every opportunity in democracy, at any event. And Western Europe and other places that have some freedom, they don't have the ability to sustain it on their own anymore. They could be subsumed by the other philosophies in this world.

    The United States is the place that has the opportunity to defend freedom around the world and to give people great opportunity. This country has lifted more people out of poverty than any country in the history of mankind, and Mitt believes we can do a better job at it. ...

  34. Ψ Share

    Mormonism: Why is the faith something that needs to be --

    I think we need to make it very clear that this isn't about trying to advance Mormonism. This election is about being president.

    ... Is it upsetting to you that that it's something that is a taboo topic of conversation, that it feels like it's something that shouldn't be discussed?

    ... I don't think it has been. I don't think it really has been much of a negative. I think that there's a lot of uncertainty of what Mormons really believe, and a lot of people haven't met them and wonder whether there's strange things and things in the background that would trouble them. ...

    But as they get to know us, realize we're normal and that we respect and honor people of other faiths, I think that's dissipated. I don't think we'll see much effect of that in this election.

  35. Ψ Share
    Others on this topic:
    Romney's Core Nature

    ... There are so many stories of him helping other people. Those aren't the stories that you necessarily hear on the campaign. Why don't we hear those stories more?

    Because first of all, he can't tell the stories about how he helped everybody. So that's a little bit braggadocio. ...

    Number two, the press doesn't report everything that's said everywhere. Very little of it gets out, and I think Mitt is still being introduced to the public. I think that he really is going to be more introduced at the convention than any other single place, because that's when probably more people will watch him speak. ...

    But I don't know the religion aspect has been a significant pro or con in this election.

    I don't think it has, but I think it helps inform who he is in a very positive way.

    I've had so many people of many faiths say that they're pleased that he is a person of faith. And I think it is important to people that he is a person who, if he believes something, he is devoted to it and is a person of integrity. I think people want to have someone that's a family person devoted to integrity. That's important.

  36. Ψ Share

    ... The importance of family to him, what can we learn from that in terms of the president that he may be, in terms of what he cares about?

    I think that he'll encourage family relationships and try to do everything to make sure that we could encourage that. ... I think that his family devotion shows that he cares about people, and that every person counts. And whether they're single or married or not or whatever situation they're in, I think it shows that he cares about people. ...

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