Rachel Griffiths & Micahel Luo – 2007-08-09 22:41:06
Mitt Romney on his Sons Support for Our Military and Nation
(August 8, 2007) — Mitt Romney started his “Ask Mitt Anything” tour in Bettendorf, Iowa this morning. I was there.
He spoke about a list of concerns that faced this nation: The first thing on the list was The Jihad, the threat to this country from terrorists.
At one point during his opening speech he publicly thanked an Iraq War veteran that was in the room. We all stood on our feet and applauded. Gov. Romney thanked him for his sacrifice and service and thanked all military.
The “Ask Mitt” segment of the event had come.
I raised my hand and was allowed to ask the first question.
My preface: “Thank you for being here to answer our questions and thank you for recognizing the Iraq war veteran in the room.”
My question: “Are any of your five sons currently serving in the United States military and, if not, are any of them planning to support the war on terror by enlisting in the United States Military.”
Hisses came from the room, I am sure my face turned red.… The cameras where on Mitt to record his answer.
Romney’s response, (this is not close to verbatim; I was having trouble concentrating feeling some daggers coming at me. I figured there was enough media in the room to record his answer. )
In a nutshell his answer was: “We have a voluntary army in this country. There are a variety of ways you can show your support for our soldiers. My sons are showing support by trying to get me elected as the President of the United States.”
Then he went into a story about his niece (it was hard to follow what he was saying here. I had not idea where he was going with it or how it related to my question) and something about a new house and laying down sod within the first year…well one morning his niece woke up and a group of people were out in for not her house laying down this sod for her yard.
Then he said again….
“There are a variety of ways we can show support for our military and our nation. My son Josh bought a Winnebago and is driving across the State of Iowa to get me elected.”
You will have to check the media for more.
I left shortly after that…. Reporters followed me to the hall. A reporter asked me if I was satisfied with his an answers to my questions…my response “of course not, showing support for our military and nation means his son driving a Winnebago across Iowa to get him elected President (scoff).”
I ran to my car!
• And now there are Romney Girls:
Questions About Romney’s Sons and Military Service
CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (August 8, 2007) — It is a question that Mitt Romney has gotten before on the campaign trail. Sometimes it is asked innocently; sometimes with a clear edge.
A woman at an Ask Mitt Anything forum earlier today in Iowa raised the question again, asking whether any of Mr. Romney’s five sons are serving in the military, adding pointedly, “If none of them are, how do they plan to support this war on terrorism by enlisting in our U.S. military?”
Although his campaign said his remarks were taken out of context, Mr. Romney’s response is drawing criticism, because he said, in part, “one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected.”
Mr. Romney expressed appreciation for the country’s “volunteer army” and said “that’s the way we’re going to keep it. He explained his sons had made different career choices in life and had not chosen to serve in the military but he mentioned a niece whose husband he said had just been called up by the National Guard.
He added that he respects and values “very highly those who make a decision to serve in the military” and referenced the “surge of support” for members of the Armed Services he recently called for on the campaign trail.
As part of that call, he personally donated $25,000 to various organizations that support military personnel. But he wound up his response with this: “It’s remarkable how we can show our support for our nation, and one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping to get me elected, because they think I’d be a great president. My son, Josh, bought the family Winnebago and has visited 99 counties, most of them with his three kids and his wife. And I respect that and respect all of those in the way they serve this great country.”
The Romney sons are each working in various capacities on the campaign. Their blog, The Five Brothers, is a prominent on their father’s Web site. Mr. Romney’s oldest son, Tagg, quit his job in marketing for the Los Angeles Dodgers to work on the campaign full-time. The others are squeezing in time from their regular jobs to do fund-raising and campaign appearances for their father. Josh, 31, a real estate developer in Salt Lake City, has been driving an R.V., dubbed the “Mitt Mobile” to all 99 counties of Iowa. He set foot in Jasper, his 99th county, today.
Driving from Des Moines to Cedar Rapids today to meet up with their parents for the final Ask Mitt Anything forum of the day, Tagg and Josh said their father’s remarks needed to be considered in context.
They expressed respect for those who had served in the military and said they had simply chosen different routes in life. “The military is a voluntary thing,” said Tagg Romney, one of three Romney sons who graduated from Harvard Business School. “I’ve got a ton of respect for those who do it and make a huge sacrifice for this country. I chose a career 16 years ago that took me down a different path.
“If I was ever called upon to serve my country, I wouldn’t think twice,” he said. “I would be there in a heartbeat.”
Josh Romney said his family is doing what it can to support the troops. “My dad’s made a big point of trying to support the troops,” he said, adding military service is “just something none of us have done.”
But when asked whether they thought the question was unfair, Tagg Romney said, “there’s no such thing as an unfair question in politics.”