Romney Family Playhouse Theater
They’re panicking in Romneyville and we get to see how they got to the not-happy place they are in:
A year ago, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney gathered his campaign team for the first time at his suburban Boston home. There were PowerPoint presentations, and Ann Romney made sandwiches. "It was like the first day of school," said one senior-level participant.
It was then that Romney put in motion his strategy to become president: Win Iowa and New Hampshire by wooing fiscal and social conservatives, and use that momentum to overwhelm the competition in the primaries that followed.
On the campaign trail, Romney tells how a friend, Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), told him in 2004 that he needed to start making preparations if he wanted to at least have the option of running for president.
Over the next year, Romney formed a PAC that he used to spread money to local candidates in Iowa and New Hampshire. In 2006, he became chairman of the Republican Governors Association, a position that gave him an excuse to travel regularly to those states.
And he began meeting with his brain trust: Spencer Zwick, his finance chief; Robert F. White, a partner at Bain Financial, the firm he started; Beth Myers, who would become his campaign manager; New Hampshire consultant Tom Rath; and Iowa consultant Gentry Collins, who headed the PAC. Benjamin L. Ginsberg was the PAC’s lawyer and also a confidant. Ron Kaufman, a top aide to President George H.W. Bush, was present, as were Mike Murphy, a consultant who ran Romney’s campaign for governor, and Dave Kochel, an Iowa strategist.
That group conceived the plan for Romney, who was hardly known outside of his home state and Utah.
But… but…we thought it was this group:
The Romney campaign has posted a video called, "The Decision", a 13-minute movie chronicling the Christmas 2006 family meeting where the former governor, his wife, five sons, their daughters, children, and dogs discussed the pros and cons of a major presidential campaign.
While the Romney family and the campaign score points for the transparency (and for sharing honest, almost tearful opinions) it might make some viewers wonder if there was really a decision to make at all, or if the family merely staged the meeting for the cameras.
About 11 minutes into the video, the video turns to the big "decision" meeting. The governor, with pen and pad in hand, gathers with the family to list the pros and cons of a presidential run. Some interesting responses:
Daughter-in-law Jen: "People think because they see you on TV, or because they read about you in the paper, that you’re one way, and that must mean that we’re that same way. And so, my kid’s teachers, for better or worse, treat us a certain way. I think that’s the hard thing that I’m just bracing myself for."
Son Matt: "We could potentially protect the kids, the grandkids, etc. by just keeping them out of everything. And I think that that would actually be fine, but I think it would be a mistake. This is who you are. You care enough about family, that we sit around and talk about this. I know you’re not just taking notes because there’s a camera here."
Son Craig: "If people really get to know who you are, it could be a successful campaign."
Son Tagg: "I don’t think you have a choice, I think you have to run. … And if you don’t win, we’ll still love you. … The country may think of you as a laughing stock, and we’ll know the truth, and that’s OK. But I think you have a duty to your country, and to God, to see what comes of it."
I find it shocking, absolutely shocking, the Mitt Romney would use his family to portray his past in anything but the most honest and forthright fashion.