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Mitt: the Documentary

A scene from the film shows Mitt ironing his shirt while wearing it.

This week is the Sundance Film Festival, and one of headlining movies was Mitt:  The documentary (it’s now available on Netflix.)   Don’t forget to participate in the LDS Film Festival coming up Feb 5-8.)  I’m curious if any of you have seen it?

I didn’t realize that the movie covered both of his campaigns (2008 & 2012), and I didn’t realize that it was John McCain that branded Mitt as a flip-flopper, a charge that stuck and he had an incredibly hard time shedding.

There was some interesting information about Mitt’s debate prep, but I was a little disappointed that the movie didn’t show more of the internal workings of the campaigns.  For example, we saw nothing of the deliberations about who would be his vice-presidential candidate (Paul Ryan.)  I wish there had been more recording of that.  But I thought Mitt was much more self-aware than has been portrayed in the media.  He was very realistic about his chances to become president, and it seems his aides were the ones who unrealistically thought he could become president.

I have looked at what happens to anybody in this country who loses as the nominee of their party, who loses the General Election.  {Romney makes the shape of an L on his forehead}  They become a loser for life.  That’s it.  It’s over.  {Crowd laughs}

And–you know Mike–Michael Dukakis? {former governor of Massachussetts who also ran for President against Ronald Reagan.}  He can’t get a job mowing lawns, all right?  We just brutalize whoever loses, all right?  And I know that, I know that, and so I’m going in with my eyes open.

I think my favorite quote came from his son Josh Romney.  The cameraman asked Josh, “Ever once have you thought, ‘This just isn’t worth it?’”  Josh responded,

You know, it’s hard for me to do these interviews because I’m so used to doing interview with the media, where I’m so trained to say ‘Absolutely not.  It’s been great to get to know the country…..

That’s so hard, but to actually speak my mind, it’s very different. {Josh laughs}

[Cameraman}, Okay, well, let's do this, then do the media version, and then translate what's really going on in your head.  Okay, so what's the media answer to your question?

{Josh}  I just think the opportunity for someone like my dad to come in and run the country, and with the challenges we face in this country right now, to have someone with my dad’s experience, his knowledge and his vision for America, some that can come in and do this, it’s worth whatever it takes for us to get my dad into office.

Translation:  This is so awful.  {he laughs}  It’s so hard.  I mean you always hear about–they talk and they say, ‘Oh why can’t we just get someone good to run for president?’

And this is why.  This is why you don’t get good people running for president.  I mean what better guy is there than my dad?  You know, is he perfect?  Absolutely not.  He’s made mistakes, he’s done all sorts of things wrong, but for goodness sakes, here’s a brilliant guy who’s had his experience turning things around, which is what we need in this country.  It’s like this is the guy for the moment.  And we’re in this and you just get beat up constantly.

‘Oh, Mitt’s Romney’s a flip-flopper.  He’s this, he’s that.’  And you just kind of go, ‘Man, is this worth it?’  This is awful.  So, that’s the translation.  {he laughs}

In a Today Show interview, Mitt said he was very uncomfortable that the film crew filmed his family prayers.  I know that Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy in 1960, but ran again and won in 1968 and 1972.  Why do you think that we don’t have “losers” run again anymore?  Is the campaign process just too brutal?  Does one have to have concrete skin to endure the endless bashing of candidates?  What are your thoughts about the documentary?

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