It turns out George Romney, the former chief executive of American Motors, had done training sessions with McDonald’s employees when the chain was still small but growing, Mr. Romney told his donors. And even as a young man, the future private-equity maven knew how to spot a valuable asset, telling his father, “This is a gold mine, Dad! What are you doing?’” he recounted Tuesday.
“So, I had it laminated,” Mr. Romney reported.
Mr. Romney said his dad went to McDonald’s almost every day to eat a hamburger or a fish filet sandwich. “He would present this little card and, of course, the person behind the counter would look and say, well, what is that?,’” the son said of his father. “They’d never seen something like that, but he said it was never turned down. They always honored it.”
"There were times I wanted to tear my hair out," Romney said, before noting her sons had "a directness and forgiveness [that] shaped me into who I am today."
"My boys had a way of putting their emotions and their disputes on the table," Romney writes. "And more important, they had a way of leaving them there, of walking away without worrying about the things that might distance them, or letting hard feelings fester and grow."
While running for Senate in 1994, Romney said during debate against Sen. Edward Kennedy that he believes "abortion should be safe and legal in this country."
"I have since the time that my mom took that position when she ran in 1970 as a US Senate candidate," Romney said. During his 2002 campaign for Massachusetts governor, Romney cited his mother again as the inspiration for supporting a women's right to chose, a stance no longer holds.
"She had very strong personal beliefs about what decision she would make for herself and her family, but she also made it clear that a woman should have the right to chose," Romney said in a debate during his gubernatorial run. "I have held that view consistently."
Mitt Romney first took on a major church role around 1977, when he was called to be a counselor to Gordon Williams, then the president of the Boston stake. Romney was essentially an adviser and deputy to Williams, helping oversee area congregations. His appointment was somewhat unusual in that counselors at that level have typically been bishops of their local wards first. But Romney, who was only about 30 years old, was deemed to possess leadership qualities beyond his years. Romney’s responsibilities only grew from there; he would go on to serve as bishop and then as stake president, overseeing about a dozen congregations with close to 4,000 members altogether.
Mitt married his wife, Ann, in 1969. They first met in elementary school when he was a Cub Scout; he remembers tossing pebbles at her when she rode by on a horse. When they met again years later at a friend's house, he was smitten. Between them, they have five sons and eighteen grandchildren, who are the center of their lives.
Romney's father, former Michigan Gov. George Romney, was born in Chihuahua, Mexico, where Mormons fled in the 1800s to escape religious persecution and U.S. laws forbidding polygamy. He and his family did not return to the United States until 1912, more than two decades after the church issued "The Manifesto" banning polygamy.
Mitt was born in Detroit on March 12, 1947. His mother, Lenore, gave up an acting career when she met and married his father, George. Mitt's father came from humble origins and never graduated from college. He apprenticed as a lath and plaster carpenter and sold aluminum paint before beginning a career that brought him to the head of American Motors and then the governorship of Michigan.