Tagg Romney, son of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, addresses the Ohio delegation to the national party convention in Tampa, Fla.
TAMPA — Like a family tag team, Mitt Romney’s eldest son, Tagg Romney, 42, followed up his mother’s Tuesday night effort to humanize her husband to a national audience with his own intimate portrayal of the GOP presidential nominee to the Ohio contingent to the Republican National Convention here today.
Mr. Romney told of an incident at the family’s vacation cottage on Cape Cod, Mass., when he went fishing and accidentally lost the rowboat anchor because he failed to tie it to the boat.
Rather than just replace the low-cost item, the dad took the son back out on the water — the Atlantic Ocean, as Tagg Romney reminded his audience of about 350 people — and they created a grid using trees on the shoreline as visual guides and searched until they found the anchor rope floating on the water’s surface.
“It really is true that my dad is the cheapest human being alive. He lives his life this way. It drives him crazy to waste money. I think we need someone in Washington like that,” Mr. Romney said.
“The second lesson I learned that day — I know it sounds corny but it’s true: Dad really believes with a little ingenuity and a lot of hard work you can accomplish great things,” Tagg Romney said.
Like his dad, Tagg Romney has five sons. He also has a daughter. Mr. Romney is in business.
Mr. Romney also told the crowd that in 2006 his father and mother, and the sons and the sons’ wives were unanimous in having Mr. Romney run for president in 2008. But when the family got together again before this election, at Christmas, 2010, the vote was only three in favor, and Mitt Romney was not one of the “yes” votes.
Mitt Romney celebrates with sons, from left, Matt, Tagg, Craig, Ben, Josh and wife Ann, after his New Hampshire Primary Election win on Jan. 10 in Manchester, N.H.
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Tagg Romney said his mother asked her husband if he could fix the country’s problems if he won.
“He said, yeah, I think that I can. She said if you can then you don’t have a choice, you have to run, it’s your duty. If you don’t think about what’s going to happen to your grandchildren, they aren’t going to have as bright a future, and it’s not fair to them,” Tagg Romney said. “To that he had no counter-argument, it was that ‘you have a duty.’ And so he decided to get in.”
He was one of three high-profile speakers who addressed the Ohio delegation staying at the Mainsail Suites Hotel in Tampa.
The convention, including Ohio’s 66 delegates, on Tuesday night elected Mr. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, and U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) as its nominees for president and vice president. They will take on Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden in the general election Nov. 6.
The convention resumes today with a long list of speakers, including Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and ending with Mr. Ryan.
The nominee’s wife of 43 years, Mrs. Romney, spoke to the convention Tuesday night to shine a warmer light on the man some believe comes across as stiff.
Following her on the convention stage was New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who extolled Mr. Romney as a guy who will tell hard truths to the American people.
Condoleezza Rice, secretary of state under former President George W. Bush, picked up that theme in her speech at the same Ohio delegation breakfast meeting.
“We are absolutely at a fork in the road as to whether or not we are going to rebuild the spirt of entrepreneurship and risk-taking that small business brings to the American economy so we can employ people,” Ms. Rice said.
She was critical of a foreign policy she said did not send a strong message of America’s principles to the world, and that it was “leading from behind.”
“When the United States is not feeling strong and confident at home it shows and we’re not feeling strong and confident abroad,” Ms. Rice said. “The rebuilding of America here at home and rebuilding of the American voice abroad is right at the heart of what we have to accomplish.”
A line that resonated with the GOP crowd was, “This is a fork in the road for our educational system. We are not united by race, ethnicity, or by nationality or religion. We come from every part of the spectrum in that regard,” Ms. Rice said. “But we are united by a belief you can come from humble circumstances and you can do great things. And today, people wonder, is that still true.”
Reince Priebus, national Republican chairman, also addressed the brunch event, relating how the American dream inspired his Greek grandfather.
“This president has a problem with the American dream. This president has a problem with success,” Mr. Priebus said.
“He’s lost his brand, he’s not real anymore, he’s not who he said he was,” Mr. Priebus said. “Juxtapose that with Mitt Romney, a man of his word, a man who’s risen to all levels of leadership and success.”
All three speakers told Ohio delegates that their state is crucial to Mr. Romney’s victory because of the state’s history for predicting winners in presidential contests.
Contact Tom Troy at email@example.com or 419-724-6058.