Romney mentions father’s Mexican birthplace
Romney is seeking to better connect with voters on a personal level. (Photo: Jordan Fabian)
ROCHESTER, N.H. — Mitt Romney did something Sunday he rarely does on the campaign trail: mention the fact his father was born in Mexico.
During a packed rally at the Rochester Opera House, Romney spoke about his family’s history, in particular his father’s rags-to-riches tale. He briefly referenced the fact that his father, George, was born in Mexico and came to the United States at age five.
Despite not graduating college, George Romney went on to become an auto executive, governor of Michigan and a Republican presidential candidate in the 1970s. Romney suggested that his father’s tale is similar to those of immigrants to came to the U.S. who are searching for economic opportunity.
“We became a nation that attracted the innovators of the world,” Romney said, wrapping up his riff. “It’s in our DNA, it’s who we are.”
But Romney hardly ever mentions his father’s roots in Mexico or the fact that he still has many distant relatives living in the country and it’s not surprising the subject does not come up more often. His family’s history there is controversial. Romney’s great-grandfather, Miles Park Romney, fled the U.S. to Mexico with a group of Mormons in 1885 to avoid anti-polygamy laws in America. And a Washington Post piece published in July detailed how his relatives have more open views on immigration than the former Massachusetts governor.
Both his Mormon faith and immigration position are seen as potential vulnerabilities Romney could have with voters during the general election, should he win the nomination.
Still, it was a revealing moment for a candidate trying to erase the notion that he struggles to connect with voters on a personal level.