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The campaign, though, is still very much a family affair. When not appearing with her husband, Ann Romney is off to spots where she can help recruit voters, especially women.
Tagg Romney, who left his marketing job with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 to help his dad, is a seasoned campaigner. Matt and Craig Romney help out on occasion, too.
It’s not always a warm welcome
Phoenix » Ron Paul supporters booed Josh Romney off the stage Saturday at the Arizona Republican Party convention, as he sought to solidify support for his father’s nomination.
Hundreds of state GOP members were gathered at Grand Canyon University to elect delegates for the national convention in July in Tampa, Fla., which is expected to select Mitt Romney as the official Republican nominee to challenge President Barack Obama.
“We cannot afford four more years of President Obama,” said Josh Romney, the third of Mitt Romney’s five sons. “We need someone to step in there and turn things around.”
But Josh Romney had to stop repeatedly as people booed and yelled for Paul, who has continued campaigning in the Republican primary. All other challengers have dropped out of the race, and Romney has a commanding lead over Paul.
But Paul supporters are flooding state conventions, recently winning delegate majorities in Nevada and Maine.
Josh Romney tried to appease the crowd, but as he wrapped up, with an admonition to choose the preferred slate of Mitt Romney delegates, the crowd exploded with competing boos and cheers, cutting him short.
Some attendees said they heard Paul supporters chanting outside that Mitt Romney is “the white Obama.”
The Arizona Republic
Josh Romney jokes that he finds himself often sent to the more rural assignments, like Wyoming or Alaska, while his brothers end up basking in the sun in more tropical climes.
"So while Matt was in the Mauritius Islands with the king putting leis on his head, I was in Alaska holding street signs in negative-40-degree weather," Romney quips in brotherly fashion.
At some point in the future, Josh Romney may be appearing on campaign signs himself.
Kirk Jowers, the head of the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, approached Josh Romney two years ago about joining him in a gubernatorial bid against incumbent Gov. Gary Herbert. They eventually decided against a campaign, though Romney says he may still have the same political bug that drives his father.
"I have no plans for anything in the future," he says. "I mean, I wouldn’t close any doors necessarily, but there’s nothing I’m looking at."
In the meantime, he waded into his first race outside of his dad’s campaign to endorse congressional candidate Mia Love, appearing on video at the state GOP convention to tout her as his pick for Utah’s next congresswoman.
Besides that endorsement, Romney says he’s focused on getting his dad into the White House, meaning he intends to stay on message and prompt some news media coverage — but not too much.
"My goal in the campaign is to be in the paper on page seven or eight, but not on page one," he says.
For the offspring of presidential candidates, that’s usually an elusive goal.
Off-stage eruptions » While children of White House hopefuls are often pulled on stage at political rallies to show a strong family connection, it’s the off-stage behavior that can roil a campaign.
Ex-presidential contender Jon Huntsman’s son Will says he was just trying to catch another political rally when he ended up photographed at a Mitt Romney appearance at a Salt Lake City burger joint last year.
President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, caught flak for two alcohol-related charges during their dad’s 2004 campaign. Meghan McCain’s candid comments grabbed the news media’s attention during her father’s run in 2008.
Of course, the children can also provide voters with a view of candidates that usually is missing from the political world’s typical sound bites and video clips.
When news reports early this year suggested that ex-House Speaker and presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich had wanted an open marriage with his second wife, his two daughters rushed to defend their dad.
Jackie Cushman, Gingrich’s youngest daughter, says she felt duty-bound to call out the open-marriage accusation as false and explain to the world what her father is really like. That’s where the power of progeny comes in.
"You can talk about him as a father, show a different side of him that allows people to see him as a person," Cushman said in a Salt Lake Tribune interview. "It’s a window into that relationship."
Cushman, who also dealt with the attacks when her father was House speaker, says her advice to all children of presidential contenders is to not focus on the negative.
"When [Gingrich] was speaker, he was vilified by the press," she recalls. "I still laugh about the year he was the ‘Grinch that stole Christmas.’ He was my dad, and he’s never stolen my Christmas."Next Page >
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