By all accounts, Mitt Romney, like many boys in their teens, indeed like many mythological and movie heroes at that stage of their lives, was, in his high school years, a cocky prankster, eager to curry favor with his male peers, little concerned for the feelings of the victims of his various capers.
Also like many men in myth and movies, Romney changed at a certain point in his life. When, we are not quite sure. I have argued that his love for the former Ann Davies forced him to grow up. Perhaps because this beautiful young woman had, after she and Mitt had been dating for a time, broken up with him and started seeing another man at Brigham Young University, the future presidential candidate thought he needed to become a better person to win her back.
And become a better person he did. As we have read in numerous accounts, not only did the twentysomething Mitt get his act together and stop pulling adolescent pranks, he also started looking out for his fellow man. In February, Philip Klein offered an anecdote from Michael Kranish and Scott Helman‘s The Real Romney about how during his 1994 Senate campaign against Ted Kennedy, the Republican offered to “cover part” of the “milk costs” of a Boston shelter for homeless veterans, “and he didn’t want any publicity for it.”
He didn’t just help out with gifts of cash, he also donated his time, frequently going out of his way for individuals in need.
“One cold December day in the early 1980s,” reported Mara Gay, Dan Hirschhorn and M.L. Nestel in May
Mitt Romney loaded up his Gran Torino with firewood and brought it to the home of a single mother whose heat had been shut off just days before Christmas.
Years after a business partner died unexpectedly, Romney helped the man’s surviving daughter go to medical school with loans for tuition — loans he forgave when she graduated.
And in 1997, when a fellow church member’s teenage son fell seriously ill, Romney sprinted to the hospital in the dead of night, where he kept vigil with his terrified parents.
Despite this record of compassion, the latest ABCNews/Washington Post poll shows his opponent in this fall’s presidential election leading “on a range of personal attributes – empathy, standing up for his beliefs and, especially, basic likeability.”
I dare say those numbers would change if our friends in the legacy media chose to tell the real story of Mitt Romney’s adult life rather than focus on more distant anecdotes from his adolescence. And questioned why Mr. Obama chose to misrepresent his own past in his memoir.