Jessica: Willard Mitt Romney was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1947, the youngest of four children. He is named after his father’s friend, Willard Marriott, who founded the Marriott Hotel. Romney stopped using his first name way back in kindergarten. Mitt, his middle name, was the name of his father’s cousin who played quarterback for the Chicago Bears in the 1920s.
George Romney: A great nation is one which breeds a great people.
Jessica: Romney’s father, George, was the CEO of American Motors, a Detroit car company once known for the Rambler. George Romney ran for governor of Michigan and won three times. His mother, a housewife, ran for U.S. Senate, but lost. You could say Mitt Romney was born to be in politics.
Mitt Romney: I grew up in a home where a mom and a dad taught us some extraordinary lessons. I got a perspective on how my dad was able to handle tough situations.
Jessica: But first, he got an education.
A young Mitt Romney was a cheerleader on the pep squad at Cranbrook School, a prestigious boys-only school in Michigan. During high school, he took on his first job working as a security guard at a Chrysler plant. After a year at Stanford, Mitt Romney spent two years in France as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also known as the Mormon Church.
Mitt Romney: At the heart of my faith is a belief that there is a creator; that we’re all children of the same god.
Jessica: While in France, Romney was in a deadly car crash. The wife of the mission president was killed. And for a short time, authorities believed Romney had been as well. Romney recovered and finished out his Mormon mission. When he returned to the states, he married his prep school sweetheart, Ann Davies. They have five children together.
After graduating from Brigham Young University, where he gave the graduation speech, Romney received a joint degree from Harvard Law and Business Schools, finishing in the top five percent of his class. From there, Mitt Romney’s business career began. In 1984, he co-founded the investment firm Bain Capital, working with companies like Staples, Brookstone and Domino’s, and building up a personal fortune estimated at a quarter of a billion dollars.
By 1994, Romney was ready to try politics. He ran against Massachusetts Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, and lost. In 1999, Romney became more nationally known when he signed on to fix the struggling and scandal-filled 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City.
Mitt Romney: What should the role of the federal government be, with regards to the Olympics?
Jessica: Following the success of the winter games, Romney made another political run. This time, he was elected the 70th Governor of Massachusetts. He didn’t seek a second term so that he could run for president in 2008. But he lost the Republican nomination to Senator John McCain. Four years later, his efforts were much more successful.
Mitt Romney: This time, I’m going to take it to the White House!
Jessica: Jessica Kumari, Channel One News.