UPDATE: More stories about Mitt’s character below the fold!
Lots has been said on our site over the past year or so about Mitt the man. But an article from Deroy Murdock appeared in the National Review today entitled “The Decency of Mitt: The Real Romney is Emerging” that reminds me of one of the reasons I support Mitt: his character.
Mr. Murdock starts by pointing out, as a number of commentators now have, that one of the reasons for Mitt’s rise in the polls was the stark contrast between Team Obama’s version of Mitt and reality. With many not happy with Obama’s job performance, their strategy was to paint Mitt as negatively as possible and make people willing to choose the “devil you know.” That strategy, backed up by ceaseless Democrat pounding during the summer and a hundred million dollars in advertising, seemed to be working well, until, well, voters met the real Mitt in the debates.
Why is Mitt Romney rising? Americans who watched the GOP nominee debate President Obama never met the cold, greedy, sexist, racist, carcinogenic tax cheat that Team Obama promised would appear. The calm, steady, and reasonable gentleman who opposed Obama was no Gordon Gekko.
Americans might like Romney even more if they understood his random acts of kindness and significant feats of bravery. As Mara Gay, Dan Hirschhorn, and M. L. Nestel wrote for TheDaily.com: “A man weighed down by the image of a heartless corporate raider who can’t relate to people actually has a history of doing remarkably kind things for those in need.”
So let me continue to introduce you to the real Mitt. I’ve put out a couple posts on this topic in the past. One was the largely unfiltered account of the person who bought a house from Mitt. By this man’s telling, Mitt stayed behind to personally walk him through the home, which the buyer had purchased lock, stock and barrel. He came away from the experience with such an appreciation for Mitt’s character that he felt compelled to reach out to the media. Here’s a news report of that story:
Another post was my personal account from occasional interactions with the Romney and Davies families. Bottom line: they’re fantastic people. When looking for someone to cut the fat out of Washington DC, I look at Mitt as the ideal candidate. He is more wealthy than I ever imagine I’ll be, just like the Federal government can be by taxing and borrowing, but the frugality and discipline with which he and his children live their lives indicates an appreciation for the resulting responsibility. I want someone in Washington who has a demonstrated ability to rein in his personal finances. And if I may continue, I first got involved with Mitt’s campaign back in 2007, when I told my friend, his son Matt, if his dad decided to run that I wanted to help. What compelled me was what I’d seen his dad accomplish in Massachusetts working with an 85%+ Democrat state legislature. If he could reach across the aisle in Massachusetts, adopt healthcare reform and balance their budget, maybe he could break through the gridlock in Washington? Four years has taught us that President Obama has been unable to do what he promised on this score: work together with Congress. Mitt’s record indicates he can.
But to show you more of what Mitt has done for others, and what’s in his heart, here’s more of Mr. Murdock’s article, listing just how much Mitt has done for others without seeking any personal credit:
• After Joey O’Donnell, 12, died of cystic fibrosis in 1986, Romney built a playground in his honor. “There he was, with a hammer in his belt, the Mitt nobody sees,” the boy’s father and Romney’s neighbor, Joseph O’Donnell, told Michael Kranish and Scott Helman, authors of The Real Romney. A year later, Joey’s Park needed maintenance. “The next thing I know, my wife calls me up and says, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but Mitt Romney is down with a bunch of Boy Scouts and they’re working on the park.’ . . . He did it for like the next five years, without ever calling to say, ‘We’re doing this,’ without a reporter in tow, not looking for any credit.”
• On a chilly December night in the 1980s, a Mormon bishop told Romney about a parishioner’s daughter. This single mom, a non-church member, was shivering after her heating oil had been shut off. Romney and his sons stuffed their Gran Torino with firewood, drove from Boston’s affluent Belmont suburb to the modest Dorchester district, unloaded the logs, and built a fire for the relieved family.
• Ellen Hummel’s father worked with Romney at Bain Capital, but died when she was just 5. She later asked Romney to help her attend Columbia Medical School. He loaned her tuition money. Just before graduation, Hummel received a Christmas letter from Romney. “It was something caring,” Dr. Hummel, now a Michigan general practitioner, told TheDaily.com. “It was something saying, ‘This is a gift.’” Romney forgave Dr. Hummel’s loan.
• In 1995, Romney heard about the Nixons, a family who moved to Boston. Soon after, a car wreck left their sons paraplegic. Romney called and asked if they were available on Christmas Eve. Romney, his wife, and his sons arrived with a stereo and other gifts for the crippled boys. Romney offered to put them through college and supported them through numerous fundraisers. As their father told Kranish and Helman, “It wasn’t a one-time thing.”
Mr. Murdock points out that this goes beyond just giving away money, which some could argue is easy for Mitt. When someone has made as much money as Mitt has, they can become jealous of their time. But Mitt has always shown a willingness to give of his time, and therefore of himself.
• Melissa Gay, Bain Capital partner Robert Gay’s daughter, vanished while visiting New York City in July 1996. Then-CEO Romney closed Bain’s Boston headquarters and jetted to Gotham to find the 14-year-old. Romney flew in his private-equity company’s 50 employees and transformed a Marriott Hotel into a command post. He consulted the NYPD and recruited private eyes. He dispatched staffers to enlist Bain’s business associates. Bain’s printer, R. R. Donnelly, produced 300,000 missing-person fliers. Bain’s CPAs at Price Waterhouse placed the handbills all over town. Duane Reade, a Bain-portfolio company, stuck leaflets in shopping bags at 52 local outlets.
Five days after Melissa disappeared, someone rang Bain’s tip line to ask about a reward. The NYPD traced the call to a New Jersey home, where a 17-year-old had, unbeknownst to his parents, hidden the disoriented and drugged child.
Romney’s focus and management saved Melissa. She now is a happily married mother who teaches fourth grade.
• Romney learned that a member of his church fractured his foot after tumbling from a ladder while trying to dislodge a hornet’s nest. As Philip Klein explained in the Washington Examiner, “Romney showed up and devised a way of removing it from the inside of the house.”
• A home once burst into flames near Romney’s residence. Kranish and Helman report that Romney “organized the gathered neighbors, and they began dashing into the house to rescue what they could: a desk, couches, books” until fire fighters arrived.
• The Romneys were vacationing in New Hampshire in 2003 when screams shook the Independence Day air. Some 900 feet from them, New Jersey’s Morrisey family and their leaky boat were sinking into Lake Winnipesaukee.
Romney’s sons Craig and Josh sped into the lake on a Jet Ski. “We tore out of there, and my dad hopped on the other Jet Ski and came out right after us,” Josh Romney told the Boston Herald. They found three men and three women bobbing in the water in barely buckled life vests. Massachusetts’s then-governor pulled the two younger women onto his three-seat Jet Ski, while his sons assisted their mother. They then whisked these women safely to shore, along with McKenzie, their Scottish Terrier. Meanwhile, the three men treaded water under the sons’ watchful eyes until Mitt made two more trips to rush them to dry land.
Previously, while spearheading the 2002 Olympics, Romney and his sons used a boat to rescue several kayakers as high winds slammed them onto rocks.
I add to this the numerous stories I’ve heard about Mitt from hanging around the family: Jim Davies (Ann’s brother) telling me that Mitt took an interest in him while Mitt and Ann were dating. At the time Jim was the 12 year old, self-confessed annoying little brother. How many teenagers, with their girlfriend’s affections already “in the bag” (by all accounts), would take the time to show an interest, much less truly invest time, in the little brother? But Jim’s fond memories are that Mitt took time to throw the football around, was the one who taught Jim how to water ski and became a real life example to Jim. I hear other stories from Matt and his brother Craig about Mitt requiring his sons to get up early to work, though they could have easily afforded to pay someone do the same tasks. No, Mitt wanted to instill the value of work in his children. To this day I continue to be impressed by what I see from my occasional spot sitting outside the family circle. There’s also the story of Mitt, while running for president, showing up at someone’s home in San Diego after the devastating fires of a few years ago. Mitt had ditched the reporters and showed up with his boys, their friends, a pick axe and a shovel to spend precious hours removing a burned out tree stump previous relief workers had been unable to get to. I could go on.
But Mr. Murdock finishes by raising questions about why the real Mitt is so different from what the Democrats tried to portray:
Why is the real Romney totally unlike the terrifying caricature that has haunted this campaign? Team Obama’s distortions and lies have conspired with Mitt Romney’s modesty to mask his good deeds. Instead, Romney fans should make these secrets famous.
Thus this article. Please forward this to everyone you know, but particularly those friends in Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, Nevada, Colorado, New Hampshire, Florida and the other swing states. To those who know Mitt, and in particular to those he helped, none of the lies ever rung true. Now, thankfully, as more voters have gotten to know Mitt, the man, more are willing to trust him, his enormous heart and his unusual capacity for success with the responsibility of running of our country. His past ventures have yielded incredible success. His heart is golden. He doesn’t need this job, he just wants to fix the economy, and he can.
So the question is, who do we want in the White House? A man of demonstrable integrity, good heartedness and success, or the person that tried, for political reasons, to paint Mitt as something he’s not because of the difficulties and disappointments of the past four years? Don’t let the advertising fool you. This is the real Mitt Romney.
UPDATE: Here are those promised other links to stories here (listed by author) and elsewhere about Mitt’s character, collected by Jayde. Please like and re-tweet:
Jeff Fuller, November 30, 2007.
Jayde Wyatt, November 11, 2011
Per our readers, please also see the website MittCares and its related FaceBook page.