A Tale of Two Buddies: When your Old Friend Runs for President


I knew that our partner at MittTheMan.com, Dane McBride, was going to be at the Republican National Convention. When you know someone who is at a place where there are television cameras, it is quite natural to watch and wonder, as I did, “Will I see Dane?” The voice of reason then kicks in, “No way, José! Not with that many people there!”

Yet, as my wife and I watched Mitt walk down the aisle to give his acceptance speech, I thought I saw a familiar face. Since we were watching on the DVR, I was able to back it up again to make sure what I saw is what I thought I saw. Have a look at the video and watch Mitt’s face during the slow-motion part:

For sure, there was our good friend, Dane, standing (as Dane later told me) on the Virginia governor’s chair! As he leaned over several people to shake Mitt’s hand, you can see Mitt’s face light up as he says his old friend’s name, “DANE!” with great expression. Mitt then points in acknowledgment to something Dane said and laughs, responding to a very simple joke that goes back 44 years to the time they worked together at the mission headquarters in France.

Dane (left) and Mitt (right) bring some levity to challenging times in Paris in 1968

Each time I watch the video I can’t help reflect on the changes that life has brought over the past 46 years, since the time when we were in France as young twenty-something missionaries. All of our paths have crossed a few times, but for Dane, the interaction has been more frequent, with various anecdotes captured in stories such as this recent one from a Virginia newspaper.They had worked together at the mission headquarters in Paris where they had many formative experiences and some fun ones as well, such as represented in the above picture. Mitt, Dane, and others pulled the skit together to help put a tragic event and challenging times behind them.

A challenge of lesser magnitude had also arisen in roughly that same time frame, which Dane recounted to Boston Globe writers working on Romney Revealed (Michael Kranish and Scott Helman). We all knew that Mitt was madly in love with Ann when we were in France, so when she wrote she had dated another guy at BYU, Mitt’s anguish was extreme. Dane describes Mitt’s reaction to her letter, saying that ”was the only time I’ve 

Mitt and Ann are front and center and Dane is the handsome guy on the far right.

ever seen him where he couldn’t focus on anything else… He was just kind of worthless.”

As we all know, things worked out for Mitt and Ann, and Dane even had the opportunity to be a part of their wedding as shown in the photo on the right. Later they shared a close friendship at Brigham Young University (BYU) during the time they lived in the same apartment building and assembled meals from whatever ingredients happened to find themselves in their refrigerators.

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