Monday, February 27, 2012

Romney's Idaho Roots

Posted By on Mon, Feb 27, 2012 at 9:19 AM

As Mitt Romney continues to battle for votes in what he calls "his second home" in Michigan, the former governor of Massachusetts is making more and more references to his father George Romney, who was the three-term governor of Michigan and former unsuccessful presidential candidate.

The Sunday Los Angeles Times documented the senior Romney's past under the title, "Mitt Romney Grew Up on Politics." The exhaustive biography included his roots in Idaho.

In 1913, George Romney's parents (and Mitt's grandparents), Gaskell and Anna Romney, lived in Oakley, Idaho, where they farmed but had little success. They moved away to Utah but returned in 1917 to Rexburg, Idaho, where Gaskell Romney was a home and commercial builder. That's where, as an 11-year-old boy, George Romney worked in Idaho wheat and sugar beet fields.

George Romney was a highly successful businessman, serving as chairman and president of the American Motors Corp., governor of Michigan from 1963 to 1969, secretary of Housing and Urban Development from 1969 to 1973, and a 1968 presidential contender. While considering his own run for the White House, George Romney visited Idaho and Rocky Mountain states in 1967 to kick off an exploratory committee. George Romney's presidential campaign did not fare well, but at the 1968 Republican National Convention, he refused to release his delegates to the eventual winner, Richard Nixon. When Romney's name was placed on a ballot to potentially become Nixon's vice presidential running mate, Nixon resisted and Romney lost to Spiro Agnew.

In his book, "The Making of the President, 1968," historian Theodore White wrote that Romney gave "the impression of an honest and decent man simply not cut out to be president."

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