GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's two-and-a-half years as a Mormon missionary in France had a significant impact on his personal and business life, according to a YouTube video of a pep talk he gave to the French during the 2002 Olympics that's now making its way around the blogs.
The self-described turn-around artist, who as head of the sporting event helped the 2002 Olympics go from a potential disaster to a blockbuster hit, credited his time in France and his learning of French for his own successes. [Check out our gallery of political cartoons on the 2012 GOP primary race.]
"When I was young," he says in the video, "I had the chance to learn French during the two years I spent in France. It was a very interesting experience that helped a lot with my personal life and business affairs."
While Republicans like to sneer at the French, especially when they refused to help during the opening of the Iraq War, some blogs say the video proves that Romney has a rich, international resume, more so than others in the GOP presidential race. [Read about Romney's recent endorsement.]
It also highlights just how much the travels at age 19 impacted Romney, as it does for many Americans who study overseas. In fact, in a 2007 New York Times profile of his days in France, Romney's eldest son Tagg says, "He talks about it all the time." What's more, Tagg told the Times, that the period of Romney's life, "more than any other, 'helped him become who he is now.'"
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