Friends, colleagues talk about Romney

Aug. 30, 2012 at 9:38 PM
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TAMPA, Fla., Aug. 30 (UPI) -- Friends, business and government associates, church members and family Thursday explained why Republican nominee Mitt Romney should be U.S. president.

Romney's son Craig choked with emotion as he told the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla., it was easy to forget that "the story of my father's success begins with the story of two immigrants -- my grandfathers -- who came to this country with little more than hope in the opportunity of America."

They lived the American dream through hard work and perseverance, Romney said, delivering part of his speech in Spanish.

"We're seeing this story play out in the lives of many other Hispanic Americans who have become leaders in the Republican Party and throughout our nation," Romney said. "These leaders, along with Hispanics across the country, will play a vital role in the Romney-Ryan comeback, as we fight to put America back on the path to prosperity."

Bob White, campaign chairman for the ticket of Romney and Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, said he has been Romney's "wingman" for 30 years.

"I was there when Mitt turned around desperate situations; fixed big, broken things; and had a profoundly positive impact on people's lives," White said. "Our journey began when Mitt asked a small group of us to help him start an investment firm called Bain Capital."

Romney made tough decisions, coalesced the team and moved forward, White said.

"Time and time again, I have seen this decisive leadership," he said.

He did the same when he ran the Salt Lake City Olympics committee and the state of Massachusetts.

"I've seen Mitt Romney be that leader," White said. "He is the right man at the right time to be the next president of these great United States."

Pam Finlayson said she and her husband, Grant, got to know Romney through the Mormon Church.

"I knew Mitt was special from the start," she said, later adding, "When the world looks at Mitt Romney, they see him as the founder of a successful business, the leader of the Olympics, or a governor. When I see Mitt, I know him to be a loving father, man of faith and caring and compassionate friend.

America "will be blessed" as it is led by Romney, who Finlayson described as "a man who is not only so accomplished and capable, but who has devoted his entire life quietly serving others."

Chief Executive Officer Tom Stemberg credited Romney for helping to breathe life into Stemberg's business idea that now is Staples.

"I ask you: Who would make a better president? Someone who knows how to save a dollar on pens and paper or someone who knows how to waste $535 million on [bankrupt energy firm] Solyndra?" he said. "The truth is Mitt was not a typical investor. He was a true partner."

President Obama's campaign "will tell you that Bain Capital was a form of 'Vampire Capitalism,'" he said. "They just don't get it. ... Well, let me tell you, my friend Mitt Romney gets it."

Grant Bennett said he served with Romney in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints as lay clergy, when Romney was a pastor and Bennett an assistant.

Bennett said Romney met with "those seeking help with the burdens of real life, burdens we all face at one time or another: unemployment, sickness, financial distress, loneliness," praying and counseling them.

"Mitt's response to those who came was compassion in all its beautiful varieties: He had a listening ear and a helping hand," Bennett said.

Massachusetts was in "deep trouble" when Kerry Healey, then chairwoman of the Massachusetts Republican Party, met with Romney as he was working on the Salt Lake City Olympics.

"People in my state were losing hope -- for themselves, their families and their children. Sadly, very much like our country finds itself today," Healey, who was Massachusetts' lieutenant governor, said. "Mitt Romney answered the call of service and accepted the challenge" and turned the state around.

"He will lead us back to an America we can be proud of," Healey said, "and [lead us] ahead to a future where the American dream is alive again and within every man and woman's reach."

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