Hot potato.

Notes from the political sidelines.
Aug. 31 2007 5:57 PM

Hot Potato

Republicans can't drop Larry Craig fast enough.

80_thehasbeen
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The Globe revelation—which presumably came from Tagg or another Romney—forced the candidate to rebut charges that he had built a canine Guantanamo. Mitt Romney insisted that the car kennel couldn't be torture because the dog liked it, and that PETA has been out to get him ever since the (only) time he went hunting. Ann Romney made a rare cameo appearance on the Five Brothers blog to attest out that whenever she wasn't around, Mitt would spend the night with Seamus.

The Romney campaign counted itself lucky to survive the seven-part series with only one nugget that went viral. Many political observers gulped at the prospect of trudging through the rest of the Globe epic, which fills 70 screens in its online version. Perhaps a few made a mental note to read the whole thing if Romney wins the nomination.

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But for the dedicated Romney watcher, the Globe series is a treasure trove—the Dead Sea Scrolls of Romneology. It's a scrapbook of two centuries of Romneys, complete with family albums, private letters, and an interactive guide to the candidate's five sons, five daughters-in-law, and 10 grandchildren.

Almost every page offers another gobsmacking revelation of how Mitts are made:

When he was not yet 2, Romney's parents took him to meet Santa. Mitt stunned them by walking right up and shaking Santa's hand. The story doesn't say whether he sat on Santa's lap and asked for a campaign contribution.

Ever since he was a teenager, Mitt has consciously modeled his Guy Smiley hairstyle after his father's top aide in running the Mormon Church. He earned his first big headline—"Romney Son Helps Fight School Fire"—by holding a door open for local firefighters.

Like John Roberts, another conservative son of a Midwestern executive, Romney grew up in a leafy suburb and attended an all-male prep school. Boys at the Cranbrook School who wanted to communicate with girls at its sister school, Kingswood, had to do so by writing letters, "which the Kingswood girls lined up to receive daily." Even so, Mitt found a way to make "an informal marriage proposal" to Ann when she was only 16.

If candidate Romney appears to be campaigning in borrowed clothes, it's not the first time. At Stanford, he wore blazers and ties, and didn't own a pair of jeans. For a school prank, he had to go undercover, so he borrowed jeans and moccasins from the only radical he knew: a man who was elected student body president on a platform of legalizing marijuana and who went on to marry Joan Baez.

After college, Romney avoided the draft because the Michigan Mormon Church—which his own father had run for years—declared him a " minister of religion" for his two-and-a-half-year mission to France. His fellow missionaries were stunned that he knew all the fine French perfumes on the Champs Elysees. He didn't win any converts during his two years in France, but he did offer the French a seminar on American politics. Mitt wrote his father asking for a brief explanation of the pros and cons of presidential primaries: "The rest of our system I know pretty well—only one thing I can't understand: how can the american people like such muttonheads?"

Today, Romney loves Battlefield Earth. But in those days, his favorite book was a 1937 self-help guide called Think and Grow Rich!

His first marriage was a civil union (well, sort of). Before flying out to Salt Lake City for a formal temple wedding (which her parents couldn't attend as non-Mormons), Ann and Mitt "exchanged rings in a civil ceremony" in Michigan, overseen by the man who had inspired Mitt's hairstyle.

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