This first arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day straight from the alternate reality of the National Enquirer. I had no time to get this finished before today, due to my celebration of Cupid’s holiday with my own sweetheart!
Of course April Fool’s would be more appropriate for this item, but here it is anyway. Of all the people I have known and met in my lifetime, the last two people I would have ever expected to see mentioned in National Enquirer are Mitt Romney, candidate for the Republican nomination, and Dane McBride, our partner for this blog. Well, here they are, both of them in the same story: Mitt lived the story and Dane provided “juicy” details to a Boston Globe reporter four years ago. In truth, the details are anything but juicy; rather, they show the wonderful innocence of a powerful love of which I am sure many women will be jealous (as will many men for that matter!).
So, fans of True Romance magazine (and all others as well!), here is the scoop you have been waiting for: Ann Romney “two-timed” Mitt! According to the Enquirer, while in high school she had “made a pact” with Mitt that she would one day be his wife.
Here is how this “pact” is described in the book, The Real Romney, by Michael Kranish and Scott Helman of the Boston Globe, the work on which the Enquirer bases most of its story:
One night, Mitt went to pick up Ann for the prom, driving his “goofy-looking” AMC Marlin, a two-door fastback with a sloping roof. After they had been at the festivities for a while, he nervously took his sixteen-year-old girlfriend aside and asked – informally – if she would one day marry him. Yes, Ann said. It was a tentative yes, with the couple knowing they would soon part ways as Mitt headed to college. Years later they would remember the moment not just for the romance but for also the hilarity. Mitt, the car guy, had forgotten to gas up. He blamed it on nerves. The Marlin puttered to a halt as he drove Ann home. Somehow, Mitt and the exquisitely outfitted woman he had just asked to be his wife made it home.
So, exactly how serious does that seem as a “pact” to the casual observer, especially upon noting the word “informally?” Kinda like kids in high school, right?
After graduating from high school, Mitt had spent a year at Stanford and then he left to serve as a missionary in France. Ann later left home to attend Brigham Young University. As most college coeds did, and as college students who are not engaged are encouraged to do, she went out on dates. After going out a few times with one particular young man, she felt close to him and told Mitt in a letter that he “reminded her a lot of Mitt,” as Dane McBride described it.
Dane, our partner on MittTheMan.com who was working with Mitt at the mission headquarters in Paris at the time, recounted to writers at the Boston Globe in detail four years ago what had transpired on the side of the Atlantic where we all found ourselves in 1968. Mitt was “distraught that she had indicated that she had gone out with this guy.” Dane said that Mitt went on to agonize that he might lose Ann and wrote her letters, professing his deep love for her. I mean, just how lurid is that?!
From there the story was simple: Ann waited, and Mitt proposed to her just before Christmas in 1968. That happened upon his return from France and on the way home from the airport, informing their parents when they arrived home of their planned wedding.
Note the picture above that was in my box of mission memorabilia. It was kinda weird then to hear on the radio about one’s mission buddy getting married, but it is downright bizarre to see someone you know running for president! Of course, given the qualifications we saw in France and in the press since, it seems perfectly normal, just as it does to anyone who knows Mitt. As Jack Welch has said, Mitt is the “most qualified leader to run for president” in his lifetime!
Anyway, back to the “shocking” details of the National Enquirer’s story. My mother, a copy editor at the Alabama Journal at the time, had saved this picture for me to see, since she knew that Mitt had been a friend in France. I mean, how often does a friend’s picture run on the AP wire? It carries this caption:
BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich., March 21—SON OF HUD DIRECTOR WEDS—Ann Lois Davies and Willard Mitt Romney, second and youngest son of former Michigan Gov. and Mrs. George Romney were married Friday in a civil ceremony at the bride’s family’s home in a suburb of Detroit. The brief ceremony was read in the family room of the bride’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Davies. The couple will resume their studies at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, after a brief honeymoon. Romney left the governorship to become the director of Housing and Urban Development in January. (AP Wirephoto) See AP story)(cim22005cfp(1969)
From that very lovely story have come five handsome boys, by all accounts five wonderful daughters-in-law, and 16 beautiful grandkids to show for their love.
I mean, how “shocking” is all that?!? According to the Enquirer‘s version of reality, however, no sooner had Mitt and the rest of us stepped off the plane in Paris for our 30-month missions in France, but Ann had supposedly “plunged into a new romance with Cameron.” Kind reader, it just did not happen that way!
Despite the lack of any connection to reality for their story, here is the supposed political impact. Quoting a “top political source” the tabloid’s reporter writes,
Ann’s two-timing puts her “in the middle of a ‘cheating’ scandal,” a top political source told The ENQUIRER. “While this happened long ago, it still becomes an issue for a candidate running for the White House. Because Mitt has made an issue of the solidness of his marriage, any information that shows Ann ‘cheated’ could be used by his political enemies.”
The sweetness and innocence of the Romney marriage are apparently too much for the Enquirer, however, so they are obliged to come up with an attempt to make the Romney’s story resemble something like we see with all too many other politicians, turning this into the headline, “MITT ROMNEY LOVE TRIANGLE SHOCKER!”
You have got to be kidding me! We have a recent president cavorting with an intern in the oval office and one of our Republican candidates having been engaged in serial adultery. To top all that, we learned just last week how an iconic, former Democratic president, plied a 19-year-old intern with daiquiris and took her virginity in the bed he normally shared with his wife.
So, what is shocking in all of this? Certainly not the sweetness of Ann and Mitt’s love story that hit a very, very minor bump. (I mean come on! After a few dates she writes, “He reminds me of you.” ) What really is shocking, yet at the same time expected I guess, is the way a writer for a tabloid like National Enquirer can somehow cast this story as representative of the alternate universe where they live with all too many of today’s political figures.
At one level, we can say that this is so ridiculous it could actually be funny, that is, if it weren’t so despicable.