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Romney defends sons’ decision not to enlist

Thu., Aug. 9, 2007

BETTENDORF, Iowa – Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons’ decision not to enlist in the military, saying they’re showing their support for the country by “helping me get elected.”

Romney, who did not serve in Vietnam due to his Mormon missionary work and a high draft lottery number, was asked the question by an anti-war activist after a speech in which he called for “a surge of support” for U.S. forces in Iraq.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, also saluted a uniformed soldier in the crowd.

“The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that’s the way we’re going to keep it,” Romney told some 200 people gathered in a hotel. “My sons are all adults, and they’ve made decisions about their careers, and they’ve chosen not to serve in the military and active duty, and I respect their decision in that regard.”

He added: “One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I’d be a great president.”

Romney’s five sons range in age from 26 to 37 and have worked as real estate developers, sports marketers and advertising executives. They are now actively campaigning for their father and have a “Five Brothers” blog on Romney’s campaign Web site.

Romney noted that one of his sons, 36-year-old Josh, was completing a recreational vehicle tour of all 99 Iowa counties on Wednesday and said, “I respect that and respect all those and the way they serve this great country.”

The woman who asked the question, Rachel Griffiths, 41, of Milan, Ill., identified herself as a member of Quad City Progressive Action for the Common Good, as well as the sister of an Army major who had served in Iraq.

“Of course not,” Griffiths said when asked if she was satisfied with Romney’s answer. “He told me the way his son shows support for our military and our nation is to buy a Winnebago and ride across Iowa and help him get elected.”


 

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