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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 06:53PM

Given recent discussion on this board about Ann's defense of her Mormon prophet-obedient decision to be a stay-at-home mom in order to raise their sons (a very hard job, as any mother will tell you)--combined with her claim that she has known economically challenging times and thus can relate to the average Janes and Joes out there--it is therefore time to repost a reality check regarding the regular-rich Romneys.

How many of you shared this common bond of poverty with Mitt and Ann Romney while you, too, were desperately trying to make it as students at BYU? [They had to sell some stock to 'get by']

Let's focus, for the moment, on the Romneys' self-proclaimed hardships in the poor college student trenches. According to their own account, they acutely felt your financially-strapped poor-Mormon-student pain. Here's their personal, heart-wrenching story of scarcity, scrimping and sacrifice, as only they can tell it:

"'Mitt Romney and Ann: the Students 'Struggling' So Much That They Had to Sell Stock'

"Mitt Romney is going around saying that he made all his money himself, aside from a loan from his dad to buy his first house.

"Journalists who buy that have short memories. I was living in Massachusetts when Romney first ran for the Senate, and remembered this interview with Ann Romney in the 'Boston Globe' [see: "Ann Romney's Sweetheart Deal: She Decided Her Love of 30 Years Should Be Senator," by Jack Thomas, "Boston Globe," city edition, abstract, 20 October 1994, at:]

"Of her student days with Mitt at BYU, Ann said:

“'They were not easy years. You have to understand, I was raised in a lovely neighborhood, as was Mitt, and at BYU, we moved into a $62-a-month basement apartment with a cement floor and lived there two years as students with no income.

“'It was tiny. And I didn’t have money to carpet the floor. But you can get remnants, samples, so I glued them together, all different colors. It looked awful, but it was carpeting.

“'We were happy, studying hard. Neither one of us had a job, because Mitt had enough of an investment from stock that we could sell off a little at a time.

“'The stock came from Mitt’s father. When he took over American Motors, the stock was worth nothing. But he invested Mitt’s birthday money year to year — it wasn’t much, a few thousand, but he put it into American Motors because he believed in himself. Five years later, stock that had been $6 a share was $96 and Mitt cashed it so we could live and pay for education.

“'Mitt and I walked to class together, shared housekeeping, had a lot of pasta and tuna fish and learned hard lessons.'

“'We had our first child in that tiny apartment. We couldn’t afford a desk, so we used a door propped on sawhorses in our bedroom. It was a big door, so we could study on it together. And we bought a portable crib, took the legs off and put it on the desk while we studied. I had a baby sitter during class time, but otherwise, I’d hold my son on my lap while I studied.

“'The funny thing is that I never expected help. My father had become wealthy through hard work, as did Mitt’s father, but I never expected our parents to take care of us. They’d visit, laugh and say, "We can’t believe you guys are living like this." They’d take us out to dinner, have a good time, then leave.

“'We stayed till Mitt graduated in 1971, and when he was accepted at Harvard Law, we came east. He was also accepted at Harvard Business School as part of a joint program that admits 25 a year, so he was getting degrees from Harvard Law and Business schools at the same time.

“'Remember, we’d been paying $62 a month rent, but here, rents were $400, and for a dump. This is when we took the now-famous loan that Mitt talks about from his father and bought a $42,000 home in Belmont, and you know? The mortgage payment was less than rent. Mitt saw that the Boston market was behind Chicago, LA and New York. We stayed there seven years and sold it for $90,000, so we not only stayed for free, we made money. As I said, Mitt’s very bright.

“'Another son came along 18 months later, although we waited four years to have the third, because Mitt was still in school and we had no income except the stock we were chipping away at. We were living on the edge, not entertaining. No, I did not work. Mitt thought it was important for me to stay home with the children, and I was delighted.

“'Right after Mitt graduated in 1975, we had our third boy and it was about the time Mitt’s first paycheck came along. So, we were married a long time before we had any income, about five years as struggling students.

“'Now, every once in a while, we say if things get rough, we can go back to a $62-a-month apartment and be happy. All we need is each other and a little corner and we’ll be fine.'

"Ann was widely mocked for this at the time. I don’t dissent from the mockery. Her idea of her and Mitt facing 'not easy years,' having 'no income,' 'living on the edge' as 'struggling students,' was that the couple had had to face college with only sale of stock to sustain them.

"By Ann’s own account, the stock amounted to 'a few thousand' dollars when bought, but it had gone up by a factor of sixteen. So let’s conservatively say that they got through five years as students—neither one of them working—only by 'chipping away at' assets of $60,000 in 1969 dollars (about $377,000 today).

"Look. I don’t begrudge Romney’s having had his college tuition and living expenses paid for with family money. Mine were too. My background, though not as fancy as Mitt or Ann Romney’s, was privileged enough. But the guy should just come out and admit it: 'I was a child of privilege and have my parents’ wealth to thank for my education. That said, I worked very very hard in business, and the vast majority of my fortune I earned myself.' . . ."

(Andrew Sabl, "Mitt Romney and Ann: the Students 'Struggling' So Much That They Had to Sell Stock," on "Everyone Is Entitled to His Own Opinion, but Not His Own Facts," at:

For related RfM thread, see: "Ann Romney, How Does It Feel to be Judged for Your Work Choices Regarding Work?," posted by "Hermes," on "Recovery from Mormonism" bulletin board, 12 April 2012, at: /read.php?2,472320,472320#msg-472320

Edited 10 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2012 02:37PM by steve benson.

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Posted by: elee ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 07:06PM

Right down to the door-desk! Only, it was the 80s (and again in the 90s), so rent was 400 a month. Oh yeah. And I worked 2 jobs 30 to 40 hours a week while I was attending school full time.

Ya know. Someone had to pay the tuition, books, rent, utilities and buy food.

Cry me a f*****g river, Anne.

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Posted by: NoToJoe (unregistered) ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 09:00PM

very very sad.....they were able to study for four years without night jobs and no student loans. The proceeds from their stock portfolios paid all the bills including the tuition to Haaarvard, but sadly was insufficient for Filet Mignon and Beluga caviar. Pasta and Tunafish.........ahhhh how dreaaadful. (Sacrifice brings fourth the blessings of heaven).

Was there money for a good butler or did they have take their own garments to the dry cleaner? Did the apartment come with parking for FIVE cars or did they have to park the Bentley on the street?

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Posted by: Mormon Observer ( )
Date: April 13, 2012 02:11PM

When my 1st hubby and I were newly weds in college, we were supported by our families while we were in school. In the summer, we had to work to pay the bills.
The reason we didn't work while going to school was

we were obedient to our Fathers. They could not get the IRS tax write off for supporting a student if we made too much $$. We were living in a basement apartment with cement/tile floor and unfurnished! Our Fathers wanted us to study while in school and not be working and going to school. Our "job" as far as they were concerned was our good grades.

So, in the married student ward, we were looked down upon for living in a basement unfurnished apartment by the "ward elite" who were (miraculously called to the Bishopric/EQ presidencies) living in government subsidized housing with carpet and dishwashers!
The side affect of having no extra money was after five years our clothes were threadbare and we were suddenly thrust into a working world with pauper clothes! It took awhile to adjust, but it was rough. That first paycheck barely covered our moving expenses to get to the new job!

I knew one law student who had transferred over from school in Spokane WA because his student ward was full of law students whose family firm had bought a very nice home for the kids to live in while going to school. Then when the kid graduates, the firm sells the home and makes money. The law student and his family live rent free and make noise about how it is to be a "poor" student!!!!! Gag!

No, it does not sound like the Romneys have ever had to seriously go without much of anything. Sleeping cold? Being glad to have $5 to buy hamburger and milk so you can feed the kids well for another week until payday? Working a job you really can't stand because of verbal abuse or wage abuse? Nah. I doubt it. She's had it tough in other ways, but she has NO RIGHT to claim EQUAL hardship to other decent hardworking students!!! HOW dare they, when they lived in a real house in Boston????

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Posted by: Heresy ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 07:14PM

"So, we were married a long time before we had any income, about five years as struggling students."

Not us, we had income all along as students from working 2-3 jobs as janitors. School took 8 years because we could only afford one of in class at a time.

And our rent in SLC in the mid 1960s was only $52. They must have lived in a palace.

Cry me a river.

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Posted by: Tupperwhere ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 07:18PM

"...and I was delighted."
"...and I was delighted."
"...and I was delighted."
"...and I was delighted."
"...and I was delighted."
"...and I was delighted."

yup (stepford) Anne's "program" looks to be running just fine :)

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Posted by: NEAnon ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 07:32PM

I was living in Belmont at the same time the Romneys were there while Mitt was at Harvard. I was living with graduate students -- living that lifestyle. The Romneys were NOT in one of the poor sections of town (keeping in mind that Belmont is a largely upper middle class community.) We were. I remember that we couldn't afford to pay much at all for heat, and that I often stayed awake at night from the cold as a result. Has Ann Romney ever been so cold at night that she couldn't fall asleep? I doubt it.

Hearing about her days as a poor, struggling student (or the wife of such a student) is a joke. She may have known a lack of wealth. But she has never known any real hardship.

It's possible that some of Richard Bushman's ("Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling") kids were subject to Mitt's interviews when he was bishop in Belmont. The timeline might work. I went to school in Belmont with a couple of his kids.

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Posted by: steve benson ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 08:26PM

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Posted by: Raptor Jesus ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 10:04PM

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Posted by: SL Cabbie ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 07:52PM

Beachfront property along Utah Lake...

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Posted by: Drai ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 09:06PM

Ann Romney is not getting a lot of sympathy in these parts. Nothing against women who stay home, but her situation is markedly different from 99% of stay at home moms and she's foolish to pretend otherwise. Did she and the kids scrub their own toilets the entire time? Do seven peoples' laundry with no assistance? Cook a hearty but nutritious dinner on a tight budget every single night? I don't doubt that she was/is a great mother, but more than likely she had a team of people helping her: housekeepers, nannies, and probably chefs and chauffeurs too.

Anyway, I'm hoping one of these workers comes out of the woodwork soon and spills the beans. Oh, and they'd better be a US citizen or at least authorized to work here, too, because otherwise 'ol Mitt is going to have some 'splaining to do...

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Posted by: Emma's Flaming Sword ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 09:18PM

There is nothing like having to work to pay for your own tuition and attend class. It is gruelling. Their we-are-regular-folk-too con is a joke.

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Posted by: Makurosu ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 10:13PM

Sure it's hard to live as a married student. That's why I didn't do that. If it was too hard, then maybe they should have waited.

The married student poverty story doesn't do anything for me.

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Posted by: AltaRica ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 01:02PM

I know, Makurosu. Waiting to get married until after you finish your degree - what a novel concept! That's exactly what I'm doing, and it's made my life SOOO much easier. I joke with people that it's my competitive edge at school.

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Posted by: delt1995 ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 10:52PM

out of touch 100%. GW Bush had contempt for the unwashed masses, but he hid it and made it look like he cared because he was playful.

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Posted by: Exmo Dad ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 11:43PM

Having babies while a student is just plain stupid. But I guess the Romneys could do it because they had wealthy parents. And stocks etc.

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Posted by: Seahorse ( )
Date: April 12, 2012 11:44PM

So Ann says she chose motherhood for her career. Hmmmm....What if a man said he chose fatherhood for his career? Would that be acceptable too? If not, then that's sexist. Granted it's a choice, no question there. But calling it a career is a misuse of the word. It's like saying I chose being a person as my career.

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Posted by: DebbiePA ( )
Date: April 13, 2012 12:33AM

How much you want to bet those babies wanted for NOTHING while the "poor" Romneys were in college? If I know grandparents, those kids were showered with everything they needed and then some.

My babies had second hand clothing and toys while I was a stay at home mom. I clipped coupons, used cloth diapers, made my own baby food, and considered a weekend at the shore a vacation. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have done it any other way, but as soon as my youngest was in school I went to work, and I probably will never be able to retire.

I'd like to plop the both of them down in my neighborhood with my income and see how long they last working their asses off just to pay the bills.

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Posted by: dk ( )
Date: April 13, 2012 01:57AM

Why not say, we were lucky and didn't have to suffer? How fake can you get? Did the Romneys ever help other married students with children at BYU? Did they invite someone over for dinner because they were out of food at the end of the month?

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Posted by: Anonymous User ( )
Date: April 13, 2012 03:48AM

I think the problem is Ann actually thinks they had it tough.

'Let them eat Cake'

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Posted by: anona ( )
Date: April 13, 2012 05:54AM

Yah. I can really relate to poor POOR POOR Ann & Mitt Romney.
MY parents worked me like a slave to pay for my mission. to the point my grades suffered a lot. Then while I was out on *my* mission, they cleaned out my savings account to pay for my mission and my brother's mission who had a lot less money saved than I did (because he earned less and then partied his ass off with the money he earned, he was a lot smarter than me! )
My leg up on life ended up being an amputation, that SOMEHOW benefited LDS Inc! At BYU I was so far behind financially and otherwise that I had to sell of some of my stocks to make it through school.....

..... OH WAIT thats not right! I DID NOT HAVE ANY FUCKING STOCKS TO SELL! I got my story confused with the Romneys, because their story is SO FUCKING HEART RENDING AND OVERWHELMING! ...sorry about that.

I had to pack up and take my more worthless than shit MORmON *college* NON credits somewhere else & try to get a degree.
I ended up with students loans that I was paying off decades later. When I expressed some of my dismay to the FUCKING ASSHOLE MORmON who was supposed to be my MAle parent, he teared up and bitterly cater walled to me that I was ungrateful and bitter,
AFTER ALL HE HAD PRAYED FOR ME, A LOT! During those times!
(And after all running my future down the drain for the benefit and glory of his FUCKING MORmON church had not been that hard for him or for his church at all! so WHAT was I complaining about!)

I told the FUCKING ASSHOLE that I had finally become just like his church. He gave me a blank look and then said "what do you mean?" I said I need MONEY to be able to get things done! and then I asked him how much money he had given to his FUCKING MORmON church while all he could do was pray for me. Then I told him he could have all his prayers back to take the bank to see what he'd get for them there.

My MORmON parents just cant understand why I am so bitter!
If MORmON Jesus wants me back at church * all * He has to do is shove that new 5 billion dollar CCC mall up my male parent's ass!

Yah, I cry my eyes out for the poor POOR Romney's and the rough road they have had, them and all the MORmON elite who were stealing from my family in the name of god to make their MORmON fortunes long before I was born. The fact that Ann could even
dare to tell that story that way is just like peeing in regular ppl's faces. I hope she ends up drowning in her own urine.

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Posted by: Anony ( )
Date: April 13, 2012 10:53AM

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Posted by: possiblypagan ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 01:19AM

The thing with Ann and the MS though, is that she did not have symptoms or get diagnosed until she was in her 40s and had the money for her therapies like horseback riding and acupuncture, and she didn't have to chase kids pushing a walker or sitting in a wheelchair.

If she gets to be First Lady, I sure hope she advocates for MS and gets something done.

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Posted by: rgg ( )
Date: April 13, 2012 01:16PM

I just cannot believe how much attention this has received. I watched the video and to me, there was nothing whatsoever that would be insulting to a woman and for that matter, a SAHM.

The issue is about privilege, end of story.

However, to the Mormons, they feel it’s an all out attack on their core beliefs...And the GOP/Tea party, well, they are hell bent on taking us back to the dark ages (no birth control, no planned parenthood, a woman should not have a right to choose, homophobic, racist etc etc etc etc).

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Posted by: dogzilla ( )
Date: April 13, 2012 03:20PM

It's the privileged part that's chapping my hide.

My parents didn't pay for my schooling, I worked many jobs, took loans, got grants and scholarships, and paid my own rent, food, gas, etc. I can't believe someone would have the gall to stand there and talk about selling stock to make it through.

Frankly, I'd have more empathy for the woman if she'd said they had to go on public assistance, or take a student loan or three, at least food stamps or something, to make ends meet in those days. That would be something that makes her relatable. I was 30 before I could afford to buy stock; nobody sure as hell gave me any.

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure she worked her butt off. I can't think of anything harder than studying full time, working full time (oops, strike that), and raising three babies. Presumably, the last two came along after the hardscrabble college years. I'm sure they didn't have nannies and cleaning ladies when their children were babies. And, I'm also sure that Mittens was one of those gone-constantly dads and Ann did all the baby-raising as a married single mom. You know that creep didn't lift a finger to help her, and in fact, probably saw it as part of her job to support and sustain him so he could concentrate on his important studies.

But to imply she understands the plight of the lower and middle classes is just disingenuous at best and downright offensive to most of us.

Besides, pasta and tuna? She could afford TUNA? C'mon! I lived on Kraft Mac n Cheese and Ramen noodles. (and beer)

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/13/2012 03:21PM by dogzilla.

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Posted by: drjekyll ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 05:39AM

We're talking about a couple of people who are still victims of the cult... who cares about there financial situation or job description, they still have to bow their heads and say "yes", raise their hand as a show of sustaining (read "submitting to") the GAs in infantile obedience. They get degraded as human beings by Mormonism much like many of us were, so what's the point of whining about whether they sold stock or took out student loans to pay for college? We all do that kind of stuff one way or another and we're all born in to whatever situation we're born into... big deal.

What's the recover from Mormonism aspect here? Sounds more like celebrity sour grapes and politics to me... probably best to avoid those areas.

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Posted by: The other Sofia ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 08:06AM

The Romneys are rich. Ok. I get it. That's not why I am not voting for him. Most presidents have come from wealthy families. How much do they really relate to the poor? How much have they really suffered? We elect the elite. Her suffering may have been real, from what she'd always had. She had previously never had to watch her budget. I think she probably did in college. It's all relative. Politicians all spout crap to pretend they "get it." I think some of them actually sincerely believe that they do. Are the Romneys sincere? I don't know. Doesn't matter. I still won't vote for them, but not because of whether or not Ann worked or not.

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Posted by: the outlander ( )
Date: April 14, 2012 11:53AM


Just curious, I served in the Arizona Phoenix Mission 88-90 & in one of my Zones we had an Elder Benson. He was a great guy. We went on splits several times, he was so funny. If memory serves me correctly he was also a grandson of ETB. I always wondered what happened to him. Any chance you know?? Thanks!

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 04/14/2012 11:54AM by theoutlander.

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