tv Tangled Lives MSNBC September 8, 2012 12:00pm-1:00pm PDT
now, a bit more wondrous. for msnbc, i'm chris matthews. thank you for watching. mr. chairman, and delegates, i accept your nomination for president of the united states. >> willard mitt romney, the republican nominee for president of the united states. exactly who is he and just what does he stand for? >> i believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country. >> we need people who recognize that pro-life is the way to go. >> people often say, well, who is the real mitt romney? is it the liberal, the moderate,
the conservative? >> i was a severely conservative republican governor. >> it's really all of those things. >> in this hour, the making of a presidential candidate. his rise through business and politics. >> we took on an entrenched machine and we won. >> what forces have shaped the man? my dad was a huge presence in my life. i wish he were able to see what i'm up to right now. >> i believe in my mormon faith and i endeavor to live by it. >> all of these folks who have worked with him throughout his life are still right there beside him. that tells you everything you need to know about his character. >> there are people who know him personally who say he's a very warm and engaging person. i wish i had met that person. >> and now with paul ryan as his choice for vice president, what might a romney/ryan presidency look like? >> my belief is restoring economic freedom and making sure that we also get to a balanced budget at some point and then champion small business.
zd he will co. >> he will come across as the candidate of the few, by the few, and for the few. >> he's the most qualified man to run for president in my memory. everything he's done, he's been successful. >> there's the left-hand turn onto sunset boulevard. >> yep. >> the year, 1994. in the news, the o.j. simpson case, the continuing brutal attacks by the serbs in saa -- sarajevo, and an earthquake shakes southern california near northridge. meanwhile, in massachusetts, a little known businessman, willard mitt romney, announces his candidacy for the united
states senate as a republican. it's his first run for political office. and his foe? one of the biggest icons of american politics, senator ted kennedy. >> some of us wondered, why would you want to take on ted kennedy in massachusetts as your first political task? and he was very committed, very engaged. >> in fact, the 1994 massachusetts senate race would be a fascinating precursor to the 2012 presidential election with many of the same issues and campaign tactics put in play by both sides. romney, playing up his business success, his opponent questioning it, and questions about romney's religion, the church of jesus christ of latter day saints. but in 1994, it was ted kennedy, a five-term senator, who seemed vulnerable, coming off the well publicized 1991 rape trial of his nephew, william kennedy smith. even though smith is acquitted, the political damage to kennedy is clear. in 1994-'94, ted kennedy was somewhat weak. he had just come off of this
period of kind of reckless bachelorhood that had brought him a lot of bad headlines. he didn't look particularly good. he seemed actually like somebody who you could beat. >> romney offers himself up as the anti-kennedy. >> he made a great impression. we thought he had a great story. >> the miracle happened. >> romney is married, the father of five sons., and has the right dna. >> i'm standing here now with governor george romney who is telling me -- >> his father george was a three-term republican governor in michigan and even ran for the 1968 republican presidential nomination. it caused team kennedy to rethink its campaign strategy. >> we had a meeting, someone said the first thing we have to do is talk about the budgetary implications of this, and he said no, the first thing i want to know is, bob, what are we going to do on television in the next couple of weeks. and i don't care about the budgetary implications. i'm not losing my senate seat. >> he scared the daylights out of the kennedys. he really did. he cleared the republican field without any problem.
>> good to see you. how are you doing? >> i'm sure glad you're not a kennedy. >> go, mitt, go. >> by early september, polls have the two candidates virtually tied. so the kennedy campaign does something unprecedented. they produce their first attack ads ever. >> mitt romney's ads claim he created jobs. but what's the record? their target? one of romney's perceived strong points, his background as a successful businessman. as head of the private equity firm bain capital. one of its investments was scm, also known as ampad, a stationery supplies company. >> i worked there 30 years, and i never dreamed that i'd lose my job. >> it works. shortly after the negative bain ads launch, the momentum shifts. >> new attacks would come every few days. so by the time you responded to one, you were being hit with another. >> and mitt romney and his
campaign were caught pretty flat footed. they did not respond to those attacks very well. >> the kennedy team also goes after another perceived romney vulnerability, the fact that he is a member of the mormon church which until 1978 kept african-americans out of the clergy. >> where is mr. romney on those issues in terms of equality of race? >> religion is a topic romney prefers to avoid, both in 1994 and today. >> and i'm not going to get into discussions of how i feel about all my church's beliefs and doctrines and how about this doctrine and that doctrine. >> when that became an issue, what was your personal gut reaction at the time? >> i understand enough about politics to know that the opposition will in some cases do almost anything to try and hold on to power. you're seeing that now. you saw that back in 1994. >> fearing their religious attack was backfiring, kennedy campaign adviser bob schrum picks up the phone and calls the senator. >> i said we've got to get out of this immediately, immediately.
we don't want anything to do with this. >> to try and win the election, romney and his campaign position their candidate as a moderate, a logical tactic since massachusetts is a liberal and strongly democratic state. one adviser romney seeks out is rich tafel, head of the log cabin republicans which advocates for gay rights. his advice is simple. >> for you to win gay support, you'll have to be better than ted kennedy to win that race. so he said, what would it take for me to be better than ted kennedy? >> in august, 1994, romney gives an interview to bay windows, boston's gay newspaper. promising that he would be better than kennedy on gay rights. >> well, i think we ought to have health care for everyone. >> on other issues, gun control, abortion, health care, romney takes similar moderate to liberal positions. >> good to meet you. >> he was pro-choice, as everyone knows, in the '94 race. >> i believe that since roe
versus wade has been the law for 20 years, that we should sustain and support it. >> so there weren't any discussions about positioning him politically. those were his views. >> he even declares in a debate with kennedy that he was not a reagan republican or even a republican at all in the '80s. >> i was an independent during the time of reagan/bush. i'm not trying to return to reagan/bush. >> on election day, kennedy defeats the moderate romney by double digits, but it was actually the slimmest margin kennedy ever had. to political observers, young mitt romney is a politician on the rise. >> how can you take on a kennedy in massachusetts? but if you do, and you're at all successful, everybody in the state's going to know who you are. >> we had done a little survey of our own to see how many people had heard of my name. 1% said they'd heard of the name mitt romney. and those, of course, were the liars. >> even nationally, you're going to get a reputation. >> they know it now.
>> to those he's worked with, romney doesn't come across as your typical politician. rich tafel remembers a call from a friend who worked for romney's campaign, a friend dying of aids. he said romney had called him to wish him well. >> when you work in politics, it's very transactional. people work for you for the minute and they're kind of gone. so that this former candidate would call a person, that stuck an impression in my head. >> those who know him say romney's quiet decency remains to this day, but to understand both the man and his lifelong commitment to the family business, politics, one needs to go back to the beginning. >> my dad was a huge presence in my life i respect him enormously. i wish he were able to see what i'm up to right now. ♪ are you okay, babe? i'm fine. ♪
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if there is a true north in mitt romney's life, it's the love and veneration he holds for his father, george romney. one needs to look no further than his race in 1994, a campaign in which george romney played a key advisory role. >> his father i think essentially moved into the house in belmont. he was a wonderful guy. always thinking. sometimes independent and often independent of mitt. >> your dad, what kind of adviser was he? >> he loved the campaign. and he would go on, if you will, rallies. he would do parades, walk down he would go out and speak to rallies. he would do parades, walk down the street, shake hands with people. they probably wondered who is this 88-year-old guy out there campaigning for mitt romney. >> massachusetts governor bill weld sat down with george romney and his son shortly after mitt's
loss to ted kennedy. >> but the thing i remember most is what mitt romney was doing. he was turn sideways in his chair looking at his father with an expression that i can only describe as hero worship. >> my purpose in making this trip is not to impose my views on anyone else. >> george romney was what they used to call a moderate republican. i don't believe the animal exists anymore. by that, politically, it meant that they had somewhat conservative fiscal policies, but they were socially liberal. >> but george romney's political career imploded in 1967 during his run for the white house as a moderate republican. that's when he told a tv interviewer that his early support of the vietnam war was because he was "brainwashed by u.s. military and diplomats during a trip to vietnam." >> well, you know, when i came back from vietnam, i just had the greatest brainwashing that
anybody can get. >> by the generals? >> when you go over to vietnam, not only the generals but by the diplomatic corps over there. >> mitt romney's own road to this presidential nomination begins in 1947. that's when he was born to george and his wife lenore. lenore had signed a contract with mgm but gave up her fledgling movie career to be a full-time mom to four children. before his political career, george was a success it will businessman. he turned around american motors in the 1950s by launching a small fuel efficient car called the rambler. the rambler still brings a smile to mitt's face whenever he runs into it on the campaign trail. .mitt comes of age during the wonder years of the '50s, time of elvis and eisenhower. >> mitt romney's childhood was not typical. he grew up in one of the wealthiest communities in the country, bloomfield hills, michigan, he grew up as a son of privilege, a family of great prominence and significant wealth and a lot was expected of him.
>> and as the '50s meld into the '60s, mitt gets his first taste of politics, campaigning with his dad during his first successful run for governor of michigan in 1962. >> i actually went on the minivan that went from county fair to county fair, set up booths and would speak to people, explain why they should vote for my dad. i was 15. and it taught me a lot about how people make their decisions on matters of politics. ♪ oh, god of light and universal truth ♪ >> from middle school on, romney attends the cranbrook school. it's an all boy's prep school in bloomfield hills, michigan. one of his classmates is sidney barthwell, the only african american in romney's class. >> cranbrook at the time was all male. i think it was about 430 students. seventh grade through 12th grade which was called first forum through the sixth forum. it was modeled after the english boarding school.
>> it is also at cranbrook that mitt romney meets ann lois davies. his future wife. >> mrs. romney went to kingswood, which was the accompanying girls school for cranbrook. it was a fairly tight community. fairly hermetically sealed. so you, you know, there would be dances with the kingswood girls and interactions and things of that nature. >> like his father, ann would become a lode star in romney's emotional universe. >> she is an emotional center for his life. she's a lynchpin for him. and emotionally and i think an important part of everything that he does. >> my appreciation to her for what an extraordinary friend, sweetheart, and counselor she is. ann? >> when he goes away to college at stanford, mitt flies home many weekends to court ann who
was still in high school. after his freshman year when it is time to go on his mormon mission, it is ann who urges him to go. >> mitt expressed some reservations about going, partly it seems that he was concerned he might lose ann being gone for a couple of years, and ann said to him that if you don't do this, you'll always regret it. you should go. it's a pattern that ann would repeat throughout their lives together. >> mitt listens to ann. as a result, that mormon mission to france becomes a major turning point in mitt romney's religious evolution. >> this is somebody that's not just been a member of the mormon faith. it's part of him. he's a very deep faith, and it's part of who he is. ♪ to take up to four in a day. or take aleve, which can relieve pain all day with just two pills. good eye. you walk into a conventional mattress store, it's really not about you.
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office, mitt romney has seldom mentioned his religion and the fact that he is a member of the church of jesus christ of latter day saints although he did address the topic a tad in his acceptance speech at the republican convention. >> we were mormons and growing up in michigan, that might have seemed unusual or out of place, but i really don't remember it that way. my friends cared more about what sports teams we followed than what church we went to. >> i get the feeling that he would prefer not to discuss his religious background, not because he's ashamit oed of not that he doesn't know anything about it but rather that he simply feels he shouldn't have to. >> those who follow politics think there might be political reasons, as well. >> it's one of the last religious prejudices we have in this country. i don't fully understand it myself. but there's a worry among evangelicals who worry about some other christians about having a mormon president.
>> david is the founder of jetblue airlines, a good friend of romney's and a fellow mormon. >> the church of jesus christ of latter day saints, you know, mormons like us, we're probably the most misunderstood organization on the planet. i think there's people that think all kinds of strange things. >> when i spoke with romney last december, he admitted that his religion might have hurt him during his 2008 run for the republican presidential nomination, especially in iowa. >> do you feel like you're getting a better reception from evangelicals this time? >> i think so. i mean, as i go across the country and as i meet with evangelical groups, i get great support from a number of them and don't think that religion is going to play as big a role as some felt it may have last time. >> despite his reticence to discuss his religion, romney's faith runs deep, very deep. >> this is somebody who's not just been a member of the mormon faith. this is somebody who's been a missionary for the mormons,
somebody who has mentored human beings for the mormons, someone who has been a minister for the mormons. so this is a deep -- this is part of him. it's a very deep faith. >> what also runs deep is the romney family history with the latter day saints. >> the story of mormonism is in many ways the story of the romney family and vice versa. mitt's great, great grandfather, miles romney, was living near liverpool, england, and he heard mormon missionaries come from the u.s. and preach their message. and mitt's great, great grandfather believed this message was true and converted and then took his family to navu, illinois, which was then the center of mormom onnism in the united states. >> yet, since its founding in the early 1920s, mormons have often been persecuted because of their 19th country practice of plural marriage or polygamy and also their belief that there's a third testament, the book of mormon which maintains that jesus visited the new world. >> as soon as they began to get established, you began to have
persecution of a kind that is very american. >> the mormons often found themselves forced to flee from new york state where their young founder, joseph smith, says he uncovered the golden tablets that became the book of mormon, to ohio and missouri and then illinois. in 1844, joseph smith, along with his brother, were murdered by vigilantes in illinois. as a result, in 1846, the mormons move once again. their new leader, brigham young, takes a large contingent to the great salt lake valley. in 1885, the mormon church considers banning polygamy as a way to gain statehood. church elders approach miles park romney, miles' son asking him to set up a mormon colony where polygamy could be practiced, first in the arizona territory and then in mexico. >> and they went to mexico so they could continue to practice plural marriage. and then when you had the
mexican revolution in 1913, they had to come back and they had to start all over. >> although steeped in his family's history with the church, as a teenager, mitt romney is far from a devoted mormon. >> so he then went on his mission to france as he left, mission to france. as he left, you know, he has since said he had only a thin tissue, unquote, of connection to his faith of mormonism. >> but missions serve two purposes, helping convert others while also deepening the faith of the young missionaries themselves. >> important roles would be what missionary work does for the young men and young women who serve missions. that is, it's maybe one of the most effective tools for building leadership in the church and helping to broaden the scope of young people. >> in france, a young mitt romney has little success converting the french. but his mission leaves him with a lasting impression. one day as he's driving the mission's president and wife, their car is hit head-on by a reckless driver.
>> the police officer that arrived at the scene found us in a very serious accident, and i was unconscious and he wrote in my passport, he is dead. that made it to the papers in michigan that george romney's son had been killed in an automobile accident. so my dad called sergeant schreiber, the u.s. ambassador to france, asked the ambassador if he could look into it and they sent a representative to this little hospital i was in and sure enough, i was alive. >> but one of the passengers in the car, the wife of the leader of the mormon mission in france, she was killed. so this had a big impact on mitt romney. >> when he returns home, romney is a changed person. now deeply committed to his family's religion. he attends the mormon church's brigham young university along with ann davies. mitt and ann marry and eventually move to boston where romney gets a difficult combined mba and law degree from harvard. the romneys settle in massachusetts and mitt serves in
higher and higher official positions in the mormon church. first as a bishop, then as head of the boston stake which is similar to a dioceses. mitt romney might be one of the more devout major party presidential nominees in american history. >> he spent up to, they say, 25 or 30 hours a week being the volunteer bishop. their religion is their life in many ways. >> but in addition to tending to religious matters, mitt romney is also in the process of building a major business. one that would make him a millionaire many times over. >> during the 15 years that i was there and that mitt was there, i believe bain capital probably had the most successful track record of any investment firm ever over a 15-year period. . you don't have to do this. yes i do. i want you to keep this. it'd be weird.
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here's what's happening. you're looking in 'twequeens, n york where a twister hit earlier today. it also hit in brooklyn. trees and power lines were knocked down but no lives lost yet. governor romney is in full swing in the state of virginia today. now back to mitt romney, making of a candidate. >> mitt romney came to politics fairly late in life. after graduating from harvard with a combined law and mba degree in 1975, he decides not to practice law, the usual profession for politicians. instead, he becomes a business management consultant. first at the boston consulting group. that's where he makes the acquaintance of benjamin netanyahu who goes on to become prime minister of israel. then in 1977, he takes a position at another consulting firm, bain & company.
after a few years, the company's ceo and founder, bill bain, asks romney to head up a spinoff -- bain capital. >> mitt was hesitant. he was making a good salary. he had a growing family, and he essentially said no. and bill bain said run this new company called bain capital, and if it fails, i'll bring you back to bain & company. so you sort of can't lose. >> bain capital initially invests in startup companies. in 1986, after a tough two years, bain strikes it big. >> we invested in staples early in the year and staples and -- in pretty short order started doing well. we also helped start sports authority, bright horizons, all within a six or nine-month period. >> romney helps launch staples, not only with money, but with business and strategic advice. >> this can be a hundred stores so it looks like it could be something big. >> mitt was critical.
he acted as our lead investor. and a lead investor in an early stage company is very important because they manage your relationships with other investors and the board. having somebody with mitt's savvy at your side was really helpful. >> next for bain is funding leveraged buyouts, acquiring mostly troubled companies using loans or leverage, and then restructuring and selling them off for a profit. >> bain usually makes money no matter what. one thing about leveraged buyouts, they are structured so that the investment firm can make money for their investors which are pension funds, endowments. the trouble is once you go in there and you need to turn one of these companies around, perhaps it's struggling, perhaps you have a certain goal for this company, you end up cutting these -- cutting costs, cutting employees. and bain generally gets its money back. >> mitt romney has spent his life building more than 20 businesses and helping to create more than 10,000 jobs. >> romney and his campaign focuses on the jobs he helped create from his startup
companies. >> i think it's certainly fair for mitt to say that he created jobs with over 50 venture investments and well over 100,000 jobs created, staples, bright horizons, sports authority. i believe just those three companies created over 100,000 jobs between them. >> we view mitt romney as a job destroyer. >> but romney's opponents, both republicans and democrats, point to the bain-leveraged buyouts that failed like ampad and gst steel. >> bain capital sought elimination of the pension plan and termination of employee and retiree life insurance and health insurance. >> and its critics argue that despite romney's campaign ads bain capital and romney weren't in the business of creating jobs. >> let's not try to rewrite history and turn what was one responsibility which was to make money for his investors into something else which was to make him sound like a one-man employment agency.
>> romney admits money can be made by bain when a business fails but says that it is not a formula that works well for investors. >> if we're successful and good startups and good turnarounds in businesses, why then we give the pension back a very nice return. and by the way, i get paid and people in my business get paid if we do a good job. we don't get so well paid if we don't do a good job. >> what is accepted about his years at bain, even by democrats, is that romney ran bain capital very well. >> during the 15 years that i was there and that mitt was there, i believe bain capital probably had the most successful track record of any investment firm ever over a 15-year period. >> our campaign for change has not ended. >> after his unsuccessful run for the senate in 1994, romney returns to bain capital. but by 1999, he is looking for a new challenge. >> boston millionaire mitt romney is the new head of the scandal-plagued olympic organizing committee in salt lake city. >> it comes in the form of an
offer to run the 2002 winter olympics. right near where he went to college. >> and i thought it was a perfect opportunity for mitt. and i said, look, there will be obviously political benefits to having done a great job at the olympics. >> but it's not without risk. romney steps into a financial and management mess. charges of corruption, lots of red ink. >> and in our case, we took a financial audit, an operational audit and we said we're in much deeper trouble than we thought. we were about $375 million in the hole when we got going. >> the 2002 winter olympics become the ultimate turnaround project for the turnaround specialist. >> they were quite successful from a financial standpoint. they ran at a profit, and numbers vary between $60 million and $100 million. >> the miracle on ice hockey team of 1980. >> the winter olympics occurring only a few months after 9/11 are one of those feel good, god bless america moments.
it included the use of a flag from ground zero at the opening ceremonies. the reviews are all positive. the ultimate "local boy does good" story. >> is this a great show or what? >> i had a lot of friends that worked for him at the olympic games, and they just spoke so highly of him and you know, living in utah and having the games be in trouble and him come in and bring his management style and his vision kind of saved the games and made the state a lot of money. so he's seen as a big hero out there. >> so now what? during the olympics, a new opportunity presents itself. >> boy, it's great to be home. >> i flew out to see the end of the olympics and talk about the options of coming out to massachusetts and running for governor. i felt very strongly that the people of massachusetts needed him.
>> it's great to be back on massachusetts soil. >> in march, 2002, still basking in the glow of the salt lake city olympics, mitt romney is beckoned by the bay state gop to run for governor, despite the fact that a republican already was in the job. >> jane swift was the governor, but weakened by political missteps, and there were a lot of republicans nervous that she was going to lose if she ran. so you have mitt romney out in utah sort of eyeing the political landscape, knowing he wants to get into politics. >> within 48 hours of romney's return, governor jane swift tearfully drops her bid for another term. >> i have never walked away from a fight in my life. so that's probably the toughest part of this. >> hi, sorry to bring you out on a day like this. >> aware that he might be seen
as strong-arming a woman out of the race, romney addresses reporters in his driveway. >> i want this to be governor swift's day. i want to note, however, that lest there be any doubt, i'm in. >> romney easily secures the nomination. and in the general election, his campaign produces tv ads preempting the anticipated democratic attacks. romney learned well the hard lessons from that run against ted kennedy. define yourself before your opponent does it for you. >> i think i'm going to win by more than a couple of votes. >> and again, romney runs as a moderate, embracing many of those same positions he ran on eight years earlier. >> i will preserve and protect a woman's right to choose and all the confusion you try and throw on this issue is doing nothing to help people. >> if you want to be elected as a republican, you've got to be a moderate. never going to elect a right winger as governor of massachusetts. >> november 5th, 2002. romney defeats his democratic opponent shannon o'brien by five percentage points. he wins his first political office, the same one his father won 40 years earlier -- the governorship.
>> we took on an entrenched machine and we won. >> i, mitt romney -- he soon becomes known in boston media as governor no, relying mostly on the veto, using it more than 800 times in four years with almost all of them overridden by the huge democratic majority in the state legislature. meanwhile some state legislators sense that his heart and head may be elsewhere. >> there is not the slightest evidence that he ever intended to run for a second term. it seemed from very early on in his tenure that the governor's office was just a weigh station on the way to a presidential campaign. >> early in his term, romney begins a rightward move on social issues opposing abortion rights and gay marriage. on november 18th, 2003, the massachusetts supreme court legalizes same-sex marriage, the first state to do so.
romney opts to crusade against the change, even testifying before the u.s. senate. >> i believe we should preserve that which has endured over thousands of years. >> my sense was he looked at his future in massachusetts and said i can't do too much further here. if i want to run for national office, i'm going to have a real problem as being from massachusetts, being a mormon in a republican party that's very evangelical, and i need to pivot on some of these social issues. >> no longer positioning himself as a moderate massachusetts republican, romney announces what has become obvious, he will not run for re-election. >> a year from now, it will be time for me to pass that privilege to someone else. i will not be a candidate for re-election. >> yet, on his way out the door in the final year of his term, romney seizes on health care reform to establish a legacy. >> he got his hands dirty. negotiating. he went to the legislative leaders' houses on a weekend to try to really push them to do what he felt was right.
>> he was real excited, like, oh, cool, if we put this piece together with this piece, we can make it work and isn't that exciting. it was like solving a problem. >> there were very strong efforts to reach out across the aisle and make sure we had partners, whether it was senator kennedy, whether it was the head of the senate in the massachusetts. we reached out. >> the key concept of romney's plan is the so-called mandate, developed by the conservative think tank, the heritage foundation. it requires all citizens to have health insurance or pay a penalty. the goal? expand the pool as a way to reduce the cost of health insurance. >> mitt romney found it very appealing on a personal responsibility front. this is a conservative vision of health care reform. >> on april 12th, 2006, a jubilant governor romney signs the bill into law at a ceremony in boston's faneuil hall. he wants the world to see what he has done but he also credits his old adversary ted kennedy
who worked with romney to get the bill passed. >> my son said that having senator kennedy and me together like this on this stage behind the same piece of landmark legislation will help slow global warming. that's because hell has frozen over. >> my son said something too, and that is when kennedy and romney support a piece of legislation, usually one of them hasn't read it. but that's not true today, is it, governor? >> the health care bill becomes romney's crowning achievement as governor. he even has it placed on his desk in his official portrait. >> would you call health care your best accomplishment in massachusetts or simply the most famous accomplishment? >> well, it certainly was an important accomplishment to get republicans and democrats to find common ground and to solve a problem for our state in a way that was creative and i think is working by and large pretty well. i'm very proud of what we did
there. >> in january, 2007, romney choreographs his exit from the state house with ann by his side. >> it's a great state, great people. it's an honor i will never forget. >> that same year, 2007, romney embarks on his first and ultimately failed presidential primary bid. >> i am honored today to give my full support to senator mccain's candidacy for the presidency. >> but now after a second try, willard mitt romney is the republican nominee for president of the united states. >> he's a far better candidate in 2012 than he was in 2008. nk!] ♪ [ honk! ] ♪ [ honk! ] ♪ [ male announcer ] now you'll know when to stop. [ honk! ] the all-new nissan altima with easy fill tire alert.
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president in 2012, mitt romney's first consideration is the health of one of his most important advisers, his wife, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998 and then is successfully treated for breast cancer in 2009. >> if ann were unable, if she were really struggling with ms, our entire priority would be focused on keeping her well and helping her. i remember with the olympics for instance, we were getting ready for a wheelchair and an elevator in the house to get her to the second floor. by the time the olympics came, she ran the olympic torch into salt lake city. that's how much progress physically she had made. >> though up for the 2012 run, ann wasn't sure she was emotionally ready after that failed presidential campaign in 2008. >> i told mitt four years ago, i would never do this again. i said never again. never again. this is it. this is too hard. this is too difficult. it takes too much out of you. never again. however, i'm 100% committed.
>> she was the one that said i had to do it. >> when he announces his candidacy in june, 2011, romney is crystal clear about his reason for running. >> barack obama has failed america. and in the campaign to come, the american ideals of economic freedom and opportunity need a clear and unapologetic defense and i intend to make it because i have lived it. >> in 2012, clearly romney is running as a mr. fix it so it plays more to what he considered his strength. >> these are conservatives who looked at my record and the plan to get the economy going. >> though he's picked as the early favorite, his front-runner status doesn't shield him from the slings and arrows of his more conservative opponents. >> your mandate is no different than barack obama's mandate. it is the same mandate. >> we need to have more venture capitalism going on in america and less vulture capitalism. >> you've seen when we nominate moderates they can't debate.
>> by march, the republican field narrows. one man stands between romney and the nomination. a long shot. former pennsylvania senator rick santorum who has no love loss for romney. >> he is the worst republican in the country to put up against barack obama. >> the two go toe to toe in key primary states. >> nbc news has declared mitt romney to be the winner in wisconsin. >> in early april, santorum out of money and hope exits. >> and we will suspend our campaign effective today. >> by the end of april, the prize is now his. >> because after 43 primaries and caucuses, many long days and more than a few long nights, i can say with confidence and gratitude that you have given me a great honor and solemn responsibility. and together, we are going to win on november 6th. >> with the republican party's choice clear, president obama's
campaign goes back to the future. stealing a page from bob schrum's 1994 strategy for senator kennedy seeking to define romney before romney can define himself. the obama team goes after romney again on bain and calling on him to do what his own father did, release multiple years of his personal tax returns. >> i think bain is the beginning of a narrative arc. bain will be around i suspect for the whole campaign. so i think it's the foundation of a narrative arc and i think that narrative is all going to tie together by the end of this campaign. if romney does not find an effective answer to this, he will come across as the candidate of the few by the few and for the few. >> his wealth and his success in a year where these are all issues that people are talking about you know, have the possibility at some dimensions to, you know, to make him a caricature of himself. he'll have to offer a positive hopeful vision for the future of the country, which he has the
capacity to do. >> through the dissidence, the romney campaign fights to get out its message. >> you put yourself out there. you describe what you believe. hopefully, people sort through all the chaff that's thrown by the opposition and they get to know what's the core of the person that's running for office. and i hope to be able to do that in this campaign. >> so what would a romney presidency look like? well, he's been short on specifics, but domestically, romney says he would cut federal regulation, reduce the size of government, and trim the ever-expanding federal deficit, but he is also calling for tax cuts and increases in defense spending. >> he believes in the dynamic power of american entrepreneurial free enterprise and thinks the government has suppressed that and killed jobs and he wants to unleash that energy again. >> i disagree with the supreme court's decision. >> also on day one, he says he would seek to repeal obama's health care law. even though it largely replicates his own massachusetts law.
>> this is a time of choice for the american people. our mission is clear. if we want to get rid of obama care, we're going to have to replace president obama. >> this change of heart on health care surprises jonathan gruber, the m.i.t. economist who worked with governor romney on that health care reform bill. romney even gave gruber an inscribed picture of the bill signing. >> there is no explanation but pure partisan politics for this. there's none because look at it, this was a conservative idea. it's only because the democratic president endorsed and passed it that now it's the devil's work. there is no other explanation. >> as president, i'll treat our allies and friends like our friends and allies. >> on foreign policy, he would align himself more closely with the israelis. >> a president romney would take the u.s./israeli alliance to a whole new level and strengthen it. >> romney also calls for tougher stands on russia and china and iran where he says president
obama should have backed the iranian democracy movement and imposed tougher sanctions on iran sooner. >> in my opinion, the president's mistakes on iran are in part responsible for the fact that iran is closer to a nuclear weapon today than it was when he was elected. >> the one word i would use to describe his foreign policy would be tough minded. >> and on august 11th, 2012, in norfolk, virginia, the final piece of the romney campaign falls into place. >> it's an honor to announce my running mate and the next vice president of the united states, paul ryan. >> the ryan selection clearly defines the republican ticket, offering a conservative and free market approach to the nation's problems, from the federal deficit to medicare. in his convention speech, governor romney makes the distinction clear. >> president obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans.
and to heal the planet. my promise is to help you and your family. >> with the nomination in hand and the convention in the rearview mirror, romney knows a tough fall campaign lies ahead of him and paul ryan with many unknowns. >> what an a welcome, what a sendoff. >> there are events that occur that you can't possibly anticipate. there are words that are spoken that come out of context that have an impact. that's just the nature of the political process and you have to understand that when you get into it. >> this year, the political process has given american voters the clearest choice they've had in years between the governing philosophies of president obama. >> i believe in bottom up economics, that's how you grow an economy. that's the choice in this election and that's why i'm running for a second term as president of the united states. >> and willard mitt romney. >> this is not about me. it's not about him. this is about america, the country we love. it's in trouble. ee