10 Things You Didn't Know About Mitt Romney

Interesting facts about the former governor of Massachusetts.

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1. Willard Mitt Romney was born in March 1947. (He stopped using Willard, the name of his father's friend J. Willard Marriott, founder of the hotel chain, in kindergarten. Mitt was the name of his father's cousin, a football player for the Chicago Bears in the 1920s.) His father, George, was chairman and president of the American Motors Corp. and governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969. His mother, Lenore, began a career in the theater arts before marrying George. She ran for the U.S. Senate in 1970. He has one brother and two sisters.

2. Mitt Romney met his wife, Ann Davies, at a party in 1965; he was 18, she was 15. He began college at Stanford University and took a job as a chauffeur on campus so he could secretly fly home on the weekends to see her.

3. Romney left school in 1966 for a 21/2-year mission in France on behalf of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In June 1968, a Citroen he was driving with five passengers was hit head-on by a drunken driver and he was thrown from the vehicle. One passenger died. A policeman believed Romney was dead and wrote "il est mort" on his passport. Only later was he found to be alive by Sargent Shriver, a friend of his father and the U.S. ambassador to France at the time.

4. Mitt and Ann married on March 21, 1969--four months after he returned from his mission. Future President Gerald Ford was a guest at their wedding. Ann was attending college at Brigham Young University and Mitt transferred there, eventually graduating first in his class in 1971 with a degree in English and a 3.97 GPA. Their first son, Taggart, was born on their first anniversary.

5. The young couple moved to Boston so Mitt could attend Harvard Law School. He was also accepted into a joint M.B.A. program at Harvard Business School. Their second son, Matthew, was born and in 1975 he graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and in the top 5 percent of his class at HBS.

6. He first worked at Boston Consulting Group, then as a management consultant at Bain & Co., where he became a vice president in 1978. By then he and Ann had three more sons--Joshua, Benjamin, and Craig. Mitt was asked to head Bain Capital, a venture capital company, in 1984. It was there that he became a millionaire.

7. Romney was a leader in the Mormon church while living in Belmont, Mass. He was bishop of the Cambridge congregation, then bishop of Belmont, and in 1986 became president of the Boston-area "stake," similar to a diocese.

8. He spent $3 million of his own money in an unsuccessful race to unseat Edward Kennedy from the U.S. Senate in 1994.

9. He became president and CEO of the Salt Lake Organizing Committee in February 1999 and turned around a scandal-plagued Winter Olympics. Romney donated $1 million to the games and refused to take a salary unless the committee finished in the black. When the Olympics ended successfully in February 2002, people viewed him in a new light as a rising politician.

10. Romney was elected the 70th governor of Massachusetts in 2002 and served until 2007. He decided not to run for re-election and instead pursued an unsuccessful bid for the presidency. One of his favorite presidents is Dwight Eisenhower, and he asked his grandchildren to call him "Ike."

Sources:

  • Atlantic Monthly
  • Associated Press
  • Boston Globe
  • C-SPAN
  • New York Times

Updated 8/27/2008