Mitt Romney’s youngest son Craig stopped by the Republican’s Roanoke Victory Office this afternoon as part of a three-stop swing across Virginia.
“This campaign is a family affair,” said Craig Romney during a speech to nearly 75 supporters.
Romney noted he’d passed by a Staples office supply store and said his father had moved boxes back when he first started with the chain. That kind of experience starting up a business, he said, distinguished his father from his opponent, President Barack Obama.
“You look at the contrast between someone like my dad, who knows what it takes to start a business, who knows the sacrifice that’s involved, and our current president, who says, ‘If you have a business, you didn’t build that,’” Romney said. “My dad understands that small businesses drive our economy.”
Romney said that he’s touring largely to help put a personal face on his father.
“Up to this point, in large part, he’s been defined by the opposition,” he said.
He told one story in which he and some friends draped a neighbor’s house in toilet paper. The next morning he walked out to see the previous night’s handiwork and was shocked to see the house was clean before noticing the toilet paper piled in a trash can at his own house. He realized that Mitt Romney had cleaned up the mess. Craig Romney said the story served as a powerful lesson for him — but the implication was clearly that his father can clean up messes of an economic nature, as well.
After the speech, I asked Romney about his speech in Spanish at the Republican National Convention and noted that Roanoke’s population growth over the last decade has been fueled by its Hispanic residents. What does Mitt Romney have to do to win those voters?
“I’ve had the privilege of traveling all around the country reaching out to Hispanic voters in Nevada, Colorado, Florida, North Carolina, here in Virginia, and it’s been a great experience for me,” Craig Romney said. “I hear their concerns, what they’re dealing with. And it’s interesting: The issues that are most important to the Hispanic community are the same that are most important to the rest of the country, and that’s getting the economy back on track.”
Another reporter asked about Mitt Romney’s “47 percent” video and Obama’s “redistribution” video from months and years ago. How relevant is that old footage to today’s race?
Craig Romney responded, “I think everything’s on the table in presidential politics. It’s part of the game. One of the hardest parts for me is hearing people criticize my dad, knowing what type of character he has, but it’s part of the process.”
A last note on the event, which indicates that Mitt or even Craig Romney may not be the last member of that family you’ll be hearing about. Craig Romney said his young son has been fascinated by politics. He and his wife took him on the trail during the 2008 race and judged that by age two he’d already visited 35 states. They said that one night they heard some noises from his room and looked in:
“We peek in the door,” Romney said. “We see he has all of his stuffed animals on the floor, lined up, and he’s standing on top of the bed giving a stump speech.”
– Mason Adams