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Edits scrub mention of race in Mia Love's speech

Published August 31, 2012 2:59 pm

Politics • Changes muted challenges to the president's policies.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Tampa, Fla. • While race was obliquely referenced in Mia Love's criticism of Barack Obama, earlier drafts of her speech hit the issue head-on.

In the draft of her speech leading up to the convention, Love had planned to say that Obama has "attempted to pit us against each other based on the color of our skin, our gender, income level, age and social status."

The reference to skin color was scratched from the speech a few days beforehand and the final version she delivered said that Obama is "pitting us against each other based on our income level, gender, and social status."

Also gone was a later reference to race, where Love said: "The truth is that the president's policies have made minorities and the most vulnerable in society more desperate and dependent on government, less self-reliant, less upwardly mobile and ultimately less free."

Had it remained intact, the passages would have been a bit of a departure for Love, who normally downplays the significance of becoming the first black Republican congresswoman, saying that the color of her skin didn't help balance Saratoga Springs' budget or maintain its bond rating.

And it would have marked a direct confrontation based on race between Love and the first black president. As it was, her challenge Tuesday was implicit and much more muted.

It was crucial for Mitt Romney to connect with voters on a human level during the Republican National Convention or he could lose in November, despite a bad economy, political analyst Charlie Cook told Utah delegates Thursday.

"I think this week is critically important for Romney because he has to create a bond this week," Cook said. "I think it's got to be this convention that's going to create that personal connection. People are ready to fire President [Barack] Obama, but they just have to feel some connection with Romney."

Cook said, "This isn't a popularity contest. He doesn't have to be more likable than President Obama. He just has to be likable enough," he said.

Mitt Romney's son, Craig Romney, made an unusual pitch to Latino voters Thursday, drawing on his late grandfather, George Romney, born into a Mexican polygamist colony, as an example of immigrant success.

"It's easy to forget that the story of my father's success begins with the story of two immigrants — my grandfathers — who came to this country with little more than hope in the opportunity of America," Craig Romney said in his speech to the Republican National Convention.

The Romney family's polygamous roots are deep and include some of the most prominent families in the fledgling Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The faith officially banned polygamy in 1890.

Mitt Romney's great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, was a Mormon polygamist with five wives, who fled to Mexico to escape a crackdown on the practice of polygamy in the late-1800s and established a settlement there.

George Romney was born to parents who were not polygamous in Mexico in 1907, but returned to the United States when George Romney was 5 years old to escape the Mexican Revolution. He went on to become the head of American Motors and governor of Michigan.

George Romney ran for president in 1968 and was eligible to serve — despite a constitutional ban on foreign-born presidents — because his parents were U.S. citizens.

Ann Davies was born to Edward Davies, who emigrated from Wales and founded a company that built heavy machinery, and married Mitt Romney in 1968.

"Through [the grandparents'] hard work and perseverance they lived the American dream, and gave opportunities to their children they wouldn't have had anywhere else," Craig Romney said Thursday night.

He presented his grandfather's story as an overture to Latino voters — a growing demographic where the Romney campaign trails badly.