On the surface, there are a lot of similarities between Mitt Romney and his father, George. Both Republicans, both governors, both CEOs — it would be easy to assume that Mitt is just an extension of his illustrious dad’s legacy.
But while both Mitt Romney and George Romney sought the presidency, their similarities end when you start looking at what they did while the national spotlight shone upon them. Because when you look at George Romney and his son, it quickly becomes apparent that for all the similarities in their résumés, the two could hardly be more different.
George Had a Hardscrabble Upbringing, Mitt was Privileged
George Romney did not have it easy growing up. The grandson of Mormons who fled to Mexico in order to practice polygamy, George and his parents fled back to the United States when civil war broke out in Mexico. George’s father worked as a carpenter and farmer, and George himself worked in construction. George didn’t graduate from college, but worked his way up through Alcoa as a salesperson, and later a lobbyist, before getting a job with American Motors.
You can’t fault George for trying to give his children the advantages he himself lacked. Mitt Romney was educated at a fine private boarding school, earned his bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University, and then gained both law and business degrees from Harvard. He was able to finance college in no small part thanks to stock that he’d been given by his father.
By the time Mitt graduated college, George had already served as a governor and cabinet secretary; it’s impossible to know if Mitt got his shot in business because of his father’s connections and reputation, but it certainly didn’t hurt his chances.
The different backgrounds of the two men show in their approaches. George Romney was blunt, driven and willing to work for the downtrodden. Mitt, on the other hand, cheerfully writes off the downtrodden if they’re not going to vote for him.
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