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Mitt Romney/Speeches/November, 2006

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Mitt Talks About Ann By: Mitt Romney

"We Met In Elementary School"

Excerpts from a speech at the Operations Kids tribute to Ann Romney, November 2006

When I heard this was a chance to honor my life sweetheart and partner, I wanted to give a little bit of background and tell you a bit about her that I don't think I've told anybody.

We met in elementary school - we did. I was a Cub Scout, and she was riding a horse bareback over some railroad tracks. What do Cub Scouts do when they see a little girl on a horse? We picked up stones and threw them.

The time I really noticed her, however, was when she was a sophomore. She was just about to turn 16, and we went to Cindy White's house for a party. She came there with someone else. I saw her across the room and said, "Wow, has she changed!" I went over and talked to her and told her date that I lived closer to her home than her date did and I'd give her a ride home if it was OK. And I did. I asked her to go on my first date on March 21st of 1965 - we went to the Sound of Music that was just coming out. We saw that movie and I don't know what it was in terms of the magic that love is.

Clearly, she was beautiful then. But there was something else that happened very quickly ... I didn't want to be anywhere else but with Ann. I wanted to be with her all the time and couldn't imagine being anywhere else besides being with her. And so, at the senior prom, as we danced a little bit, we went outside of the school and I turned to her and said, "Ann, would you marry me?" And she said, "Yes."

And then I described the calendar I had ahead of me - I had already accepted to go to Stanford University in California and I also said, "After that, my family tradition is to go on a mission for my church for two or two-and-a-half years and I don't want to do it; I am going to stay and get married." And she said, "No, you've got to do it or you'll regret it the rest of your life and I don't want to be part of that." So she insisted I go.

Well, the year at Stanford was tough, although I got a job driving as a chauffer for the physics department, getting enough money so I could fly back on occasional weekends to date Ann. I didn't tell my parents - they're both gone now, and I can make that public.

But Ann's parents knew about it. When I came back from Stanford, I went off on my mission. While I was away, she went to Brigham Young University - the worst place to let a girl go that you want to be waiting for you after two-and-a-half years is Brigham Young University.

People in the west don't call it "B-Y-U," but "B-Y-woo." And she was proposed to many times, almost said yes to one I'm afraid, I don't know. But on the way home, when I got back from France, she was at the airport, our whole family was in the car - it was one of those Oldsmobile Vista Cruisers. We were put in the back row, the very back row, and I turned to her in the car and said, "I still love you." And she loved me. I said, "Should we get married?" She said yes. How soon? How about two weeks? We told my parents when we got back home, two weeks, they, of course, were not happy with that idea and they held us off for three months.

On March 31st, excuse me, on March 21st it will be 42 years from our first date. It will be 38 years since our marriage. That's been enough time to begin to know why it is that I only want to be with her. And why it's so painful when I'm away. And there are a couple of things I'll mention.

One is, as you've probably learned, she is extremely, totally, entirely honest. She is incapable either through her eyes or her mouth of lying. It's very unfortunate. Sometimes the phone will ring and I said, "Ann, I'm not here." She can't tell someone that. I literally have to go outside, shut the door, and then she can say "he's not here." But it means that when you talk to her, every opinion, every idea, every perception is entirely honest. There's no shading, there's no guile - it's always straight from the heart.

She has an incomprehensible capacity to love and because she's so honest, people immediately recognize that she cares for them. I've seen her with Faith in Action working with Rev. Jeffrey Brown who you saw in the video, I've seen her with Mother Caroline Academy teaching girls, I saw her at schools across the Commonwealth teaching middle school kids about not getting pregnant until they get out of school, at least. I've seen her at my church teaching our youths, I've seen her work with Right to Play, Best Friends, Family's First, the list goes on and on - I'm not going to repeat it all.

But her love for children is intense and immediate and she communicates it overwhelmingly and it responds, they respond. They adore her. Her love for me, of course, is the greatest source of joy I could possibly have. The boys recognize that she is my best counselor; she's the best source of wisdom, the best source of perspective and insight in my life. When they call home, they ask to talk to her. It's true, they'll talk to her for long periods of time because she has an extraordinary capability to communicate and to provide advice and counsel. I've tried to figure out where that comes from. She's smart, but it's not like either one of us is Einstein.

But somehow, people seek her opinions and thoughts on a wide array of topics. And I've concluded that it's because she sees things other people don't see. She's able to look into people in some way that I don't quite understand and get a better sense of their heart than I can. She can tell who's real, who's genuine and who's phony. And she can tell right away, and she gives me advice on those things when I talk to her.

Ann is not someone who gets pushed around by what other people think. From the very beginning, she made it clear what she wanted to do, and that was to have a family first. She had five sons. Let me tell you, being a young married couple in Cambridge, Massachusetts, having more than one child was difficult. She went on and had five boys.

Well, I'm not going to read all this, but I just want to say that, when I was dating Ann, her mom was very excited. She thought it was great that I really liked Ann. But when it got serious, and they understood I wanted to marry her, her mom realized this was a very bad idea; that I was in no way equal to whom she called her 'angel.' And Ann is an angel. She's a hot angel, but she's an angel nonetheless. It's a privilege, it's a joy, it's my entire life to have Ann in my life. My sweetheart. Thank you Ann.

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