One cold December day in the early 1980s, Mitt Romney loaded up his Gran Torino with firewood and brought it to the home of a single mother whose heat had been shut off just days before Christmas.
Years after a business partner died unexpectedly, Romney helped the man’s surviving daughter go to medical school with loans for tuition — loans he forgave when she graduated.
And in 1997, when a fellow church member’s teenage son fell seriously ill, Romney sprinted to the hospital in the dead of night, where he kept vigil with his terrified parents.
Stories like these — tales of long hours spent with grieving families, financial assistance to those in need and timely help given to strangers whether asked for or not — abound in the adult life of the Republican presidential candidate. Many of them, though not all, are connected to his work as a Mormon bishop.
And yet these stories are largely absent on the campaign trail.
Some supporters believe he isn’t touting them because it’s impossible to separate the good works he’s done from a Mormon faith that demands them — a faith that has by all accounts been a defining influence in his life, yet which the campaign has been determined to keep out of the political conversation.
But taken together, the stories point to a central contradiction between Romney the candidate and Romney the person. In short, a man weighed down by the image of a heartless corporate raider who can’t relate to people actually has a history of doing remarkably kind things for those in need.
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