RD Interview: Mitt Romney

On his campaign bus in Zanesville, Ohio, the Republican nominee talks with Reader’s Digest editor Liz Vaccariello about memory, marriage—and his favorite joke.

from Reader's Digest Magazine | November 2012

RD Interview: Mitt RomneyBen Baker/Redux
RD: Let’s talk about family. I’m wondering if you have a family saying that gets you through hard times. If you do, what is it, and who came up with it?

Romney: “This, too, shall pass.” I’m kidding—that was not our family saying.

RD: But that’s a good one, right?

Romney: Yeah.

RD: If after people die they can observe their loved ones, what do you believe your mother, Lenore, is thinking about the life you’ve led?

Romney: My guess is that my mom and dad are very actively involved in the affairs of the next life, and they don’t spend too much time looking back. My dad used to say he always looks forward, he never looks back. But given the fact that I’m in a presidential race, I hope the Master gives them a chance to look in now and then. And I hope that I’m serving the principles that they believed in.

RD: And what were those?

Romney: They loved America. They believed that America presented the greatest hope to the earth for freedom and liberty. And they’d want me to defend those things.

RD: Can you sum up in one word the kind of life you’ve given your sons?

Romney: Opportunity.

RD: How do you personally define happiness?

Romney: Happiness, for me, is a function of the number of people I love, and I think joy and happiness is directly related to how many people are in our lives and how deeply we are bonded with those people. And so I’m happy if I’m with Ann; I’m happier if I’m also with my family and my grandchildren.

RD: Eighteen grandchildren!

Romney: There is no day more joyful in my life than when I see all my family around me. That’s the best it gets.

RD: How often do all of you get together?

Romney: We get together for Christmas every other year, the whole family. In the even years, they come to be with Ann and me. In the odd years, they go with their in-laws. And then we’re all together for one to two weeks in the summertime.

RD: What was the most memorable day you’ve ever had at church, besides your wedding and any baptisms and communions?

Romney: Being asked to become the pastor of a congregation. That is a responsibility that is given to individual members [in the Mormon faith], as opposed to a full-time paid clergy, as in other churches. And I was asked by one of my church’s leaders to take responsibility for becoming the pastor of a congregation, and that experience opened my eyes to the challenges and hopes of many people of many different backgrounds.

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