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In His Father's Footsteps

Behind the scenes with Romney. (Preston Keres/The Washington Post).

In his profile of Mitt Romney for today's "The Front-runners" installment, reporter Eli Saslow focused on the role George Romney had in shaping his son Mitt's political ambitions. But the elder Romney took an active part in his son's later political career as well.

Mitt Romney first ran for political office in 1994, campaigning against Massachusetts incumbent Ted Kennedy for a seat in the U.S. Senate. Romney, an unknown Republican in a democratic state was the heavy underdog, so he relied on the most experienced politician he knew: his father, George.

A former governor of Michigan and one-time presidential candidate, the elder Romney moved in with his son to help him organize his campaign. George, then 87, traveled across the state and made speeches on behalf of his son, helping Romney nearly upset the experienced Democrat. Not long after the election, George died while running on his treadmill.

"Dad actually lived on the third floor of the house during that campaign," Romney said last month. "He used to wake up, pretty regularly, at about three o'clock in the morning, and he'd get out his yellow legal pad and start writing notes and ideas about what I should do. I'd get up, and he'd be there at the breakfast table with all of these notes and start talking me through, 'You do this. You do that.' He was the best political advisor I've ever had.

"I remember saying to him one day, 'I feel so bad, dad. Here you are, like 87 years old, and you are out campaigning with me, going to fundraisers, going to parades. I said, 'Dad, I feel really bad that you're having to do this.' And he said, 'Are you kidding me? This is the best I could have imagined to be doing at this time of my life. I can't think of anything I'd enjoy more.'"

--Eli Saslow

By Washington Post editors  |  December 10, 2007; 5:03 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Mitt Romney  
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