Ann Romney’s speech to the Republican National Convention last night included an anecdote about the hard times she and Mitt faced when they were young — a story intended to assure middle class voters that, despite the fact that the Romneys are multimillionaires, they’re really just regular folks like you and me:
When Mitt and I met and fell in love, we were determined not to let anything stand in a way of our future. I was Episcopalian, he was a Mormon. We were very young, both still in college. There were many reasons to delay marriage. And you know what, we just didn’t care. We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on saw horses. Our dining room table was a fold down ironing board in the kitchen. But those were the best days.
Got that? They left the Cadillacs at home and walked to class. They shared housekeeping duties — can’t you just picture young Mitt swishing the toilet? And they ate tuna fish off of an ironing board. Imagine.
But how did the struggling young couple make ends meet? Did Mitt take a job in the school cafeteria? Did Ann work part time as a teacher’s aide?
Nah. He sold some of his Rambler stock, or at least that’s what Ann said they did, in an interview in 1994 during Mitt’s failed run for the Senate against Ted Kennedy:
“The stock came from Mitt’s father. When he took over American Motors, the stock was worth nothing. But he invested Mitt’s birthday money year to year — it wasn’t much, a few thousand, but he put it into American Motors because he believed in himself. Five years later, stock that had been $6 a share was $96 and Mitt cashed it so we could live and pay for education.
“Remember, we’d been paying $62 a month rent, but here, rents were $400, and for a dump. This is when we took the now-famous loan that Mitt talks about from his father and bought a $42,000 home in Belmont, and you know? The mortgage payment was less than rent. Mitt saw that the Boston market was behind Chicago, LA and New York. We stayed there seven years and sold it for $90,000, so we not only stayed for free, we made money. As I said, Mitt’s very bright.
“Right after Mitt graduated in 1975, we had our third boy and it was about the time Mitt’s first paycheck came along. So, we were married a long time before we had any income, about five years as struggling students. Mitt had offers in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, but we loved Boston. One thing led to another, and he went from Boston Consulting Group to Bain & Co., where he became an extraordinarily young partner.
As Trish noted last night, Ann’s failure to fully disclose how their struggles were cushioned by their wealth was even brought up on Fox News last night, briefly, by Juan Williams — whose corpse is probably floating in Tampa Bay right now.