Romney’s Own Saintly Story

by Mark Edward Taylor on December 21, 2011

P resident Obama’s creation story has been well-known since his keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and the subsequent republication of Dreams from My Father . Newt Gingrich has published a lot of books, including many historical works, but has yet to write his autobiography. He has, however, made his personal tale of redemption a key talking point whenever opponents question his judgment and integrity by referring to his rocky marital history.

Mitt Romney has avoided talking specifically about his own creation story—including his early years and his Mormon faith—until now. Romney has been emphasizing his business acumen, arguing that he knows best how to fix the struggling economy, but the story he has told thus far has been that of a multimillionaire who appears to have always lived among Obama’s “1%.” Perhaps in an effort to soften his well-moneyed image and connect with average voters, Romney recently began talking about his Mormon missionary experience in France back in 1965. “Most of the apartments I lived in had no refrigerators” and “didn’t have toilets,” Romney reminisced. “We had instead the little pads on the ground, ok, you know how that works, all right.” “If we were lucky, we actually bought a hose and we stuck it on the sink, and we’d hold there with the hose and the big bucket underneath us in the kitchen and wash ourselves that way,” Romney said. “And so, I lived in a way that people of lower-middle income in France lived and said to myself, ‘Wow, I sure am lucky to have been born in the United States of America.’”

I f Romney wins the GOP nomination, will his expanded personal pitch be enough for the “99%” to identify with him? Will his amended creation story play out in a general election against President Obama, an election that appears to be focused on which party can best represent America’s middle class?

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