by Becky GINOS
BOUNTIFUL—He bought a tuxedo on Amazon and loves hot dogs. From what he likes to eat – to the national debt – Mitt and Ann Romney showed their down to earth side last week during a “living room” chat with Ruth Todd held at Bountiful High.
“Yeah, I like hot dogs, what can I tell you?” laughed Mitt. “People are more interested in what I eat than my opinion on the national debt.”
Mitt is running for Sen. Orrin Hatch’s seat but the event was mostly low-key and personal rather than political. Todd, a former KSL and ABC news anchor, led the discussion with questions about what the couple likes to read and the secret to their strong marriage.
“I read a lot about brain disease,” said Ann, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). “My center’s research is working on treatments and cures. We’re working on a nasal vaccine for Alzheimer’s and treatment for ASL. We’re going to find a cure for Alzheimer’s in my lifetime.”
“She’s an amazing person,” Mitt said. “I really fell for her when we were 15 years old. Now to see her pull together these physicians, it’s really amazing what she’s done.”
We’ve sort of grown up together, said Mitt. “Ann has promoted me in almost everything I do. I said absolutely not to the Olympics but she turned me around. She sees things in a way I don’t. We’re still in love after all these years.”
Todd asked how they were able to raise five strong sons. “Personally I think it’s because they saw how Mitt treated me,” said Ann. “One time Mitt came in frustrated because someone had left the car windows open and it had rained. He thought it was one of our teenage sons but then I said, ‘Oh I think it was me.’ Instantly his tone changed and he said, ‘we’ll go get that fixed.’”
“She has all power,” quipped Mitt. “I had the occasion to meet with a renowned psychologist and asked if he had one piece of advice for raising kids. He said, ‘love your wife, it’s the single most important thing for a child.’”
Ann teased Mitt about getting a tux for the star-studded Met Gala they attended recently. “Have you seen how expensive they are?” he replied. “I got it for two/thirds off, what’s wrong with that? The only reason was because Kmart didn’t have my size.”
On a more political note, Todd asked about the national debt and what he intends on doing if elected. “We paid $300 billion in interest last year,” said Mitt. “We don’t feel it because we just send in our taxes. This is a real challenge. It’s one of the reasons I’m running because I want to rein it in. We need to use these resources for our military, education and to take care of seniors in the way they deserve to be cared for.”
He also wants to see more power given back to states. “We’ve strayed from the state level,” said Mitt. “We need to send more money back to the states and let us craft our own plans to help people out of poverty. We could do a heck of a job. States are the laboratory of democracy. I want to see states back in charge.”
After the shooting in Texas that morning, Todd asked Mitt what he thought should be done. “It’s a human tragedy,” he said. “I simply can’t imagine losing a child or a grandchild. I don’t know what we do but we’re better at tackling this in Utah than Washington. We have to take a look at what works here.”
Overall, the Romneys both said the values that guide them are faith and family. “Those are the things that change lives,” said Mitt. “We have the best people in America. We must call on our better selves – that’s the future of a great nation.”
“I know Mitt’s heart,” added Ann. “He’s an extraordinary husband and father. Everything he does he does well. He will bring people together to get the job done. You can put your trust in that and you will never be embarrassed by his actions.”