A Different Side of Mitt Romney

In the throes of barnstorming the Battlegrounds it is easy to get caught up in campaign rhetoric, sound bites and talking points. It seems the stellar debate performance didn’t just change the trajectory of the election, but changed Mitt Romney. In St. PetersburgFlorida yesterday, he spoke on a more personal level about people very close to him who passed away and how that has driven him to seek ways to better serve. This was the Mitt Romney in the emotional testimonials at the Republican Convention that sadly weren’t aired on major networks or in prime time. For a man who has done many incredible acts of service yet remains reluctant to talk about himself, it was heartwarming to hear him share the stories of these very special people:

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.

Bill Hulse

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.

David Oparowski

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. Romney quoted from one of his favorite TV shows, “Friday Night Lights,” to describe the character of Oparowski. “I’ve seen the character of a young man like David, who wasn’t emotional or crying. He had his eyes wide open. There’s a saying, clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose. David couldn’t lose. I loved that young man,” Romney said. After Oparowski’s death, Romney delivered the eulogy at the funeral.

Jane Horton

He finished his foray into the personal by recounting a meeting with the widow of a military sharpshooter.

“On the day she’s packaging up some goodies to go in his birthday package, a knock comes at the door, and they inform her that her husband had been killed, and she decides to devote herself to helping the families of others who have lost their loved ones. He was killed on September 9th 2011. And this was a time when some very misguided people were protesting at the funerals of our servicemen and women—you recall that? And they came to the funeral of her husband. And she was asked, what do you think about this, and this is the quote—she said this: ‘Chris died for them to be able to protest.’ Chris died for them to be able to protest. This is quite a nation we live in, with some extraordinary people.”

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  1. […] phrase has been laced throughout every Romney campaign stop including his heart wrenching story of helping a 14-year-old boy write his own will. West Texas football isn’t an obvious fit for Mormon Mitt Romney doing missionary work in […]

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