What would be your signature issue as First Lady?
The greatest advantage of being First Lady is the opportunity it presents to truly make a difference on issues of great importance. As First Lady of Massachusetts, I served as the Liaison to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, a position I was well-suited for due to my involvement with community and faith-based organizations.
If I have the privilege of serving as First Lady, I'd like to continue much of the same work I've been doing for years. Multiple Sclerosis is obviously close to my heart and I'm determined to make a difference in the lives of people who suffer from the disease by raising the profile of MS, as well as raising funds for advocacy and research. I'd also focus on helping at-risk youth to make the right choices in life.
Who is your First Lady role model?
I have a great deal of respect and admiration for our current and former First Ladies. For example, Laura Bush is an admired First Lady in large part because of her efforts to promote reading and the rights of women abroad.
If I were to choose a First Lady I relate to the most, it would have to be Barbara Bush. As Mitt likes to say, I'm the CFO (Chief Family Officer) of the Romney household and I think Barbara Bush was much the same. In her biography, she says that she was the family linchpin, providing everything from discipline to carpools. Her efforts as the Vice President's wife, First Lady and now as a former First Lady to bring national attention to illiteracy in America are to be admired. Throughout the years, I've had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time with Mrs. Bush, but one of the most special occurred just a few months ago when I had the honor of attending a Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy luncheon in Texas with Mrs. Bush. Her passion for and commitment to the program remains as strong today as when she was in the White House.
What don't we know about your spouse?
Mitt loves to tell jokes and especially likes to play practical jokes on people. He loves to joke around, although the boys don't think he's as funny as he does.
What do you like most about the campaign trail?
Some of my favorite memories have been while traveling with Mitt over the past few months. We've traveled to places we may not have otherwise traveled to if not for the campaign and have met so many amazing people. During these visits, we hear stories of happiness and stories of struggle. Having been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1998, and I am continually amazed by the level of support I receive from individuals across the country. At the end of each stop, I am reminded of how great America is.
I've also enjoyed the opportunity to spend time on the campaign trail with our five sons, five daughters-in-law and ten grandchildren. The campaign has given us some great opportunities to spend more time together, while allowing us to share in a very unique experience. Despite the grueling schedule, our entire family is very passionate about this campaign because we all believe in Mitt, his leadership and the difference he can make.
What do you like least?
Campaigning has been a wonderful experience, in large part because of the opportunities we have had to meet so many people and travel to different parts of our great country. As much as I enjoy campaigning, there are some nights when you wish you could just fall asleep in your own bed.
Would you expect to have a say in the President's policies?
Mitt and I regularly depend on each other for advice and counsel. However, when Mitt was Governor of Massachusetts, if he had to make a decision on healthcare, taxes or other government issues, he depended on his expert advisers. One of Mitt's true strengths is his ability to bring people together to debate all sides of an issue and gain consensus. He does this in both his professional and personal life. When Mitt was contemplating the idea of running for President, one of the first things we did was bring our five sons and their spouses together for a family discussion on the implications this campaign would have on all of our lives. After many hours of discussion, the final vote was unanimous and here we are.
What's the one TV show you and your spouse try not to miss?
The campaign schedule usually doesn't give us much time to watch TV, but we do set our TiVo so we can catch up on Lost and Grey's Anatomy whenever we are home.
What's the one campaign food that you could go your whole life never eating again?
There are certain foods that are standard fare at campaign events and can become a little repetitive sometimes. For example, eggs and bacon for breakfast and then usually some type of chicken for lunch and dinner. For this reason, being able to campaign across the country adds variety to our diets by allowing us to try the various unique regional specialties that are out there. One of my favorites has been the Dutch Letter pastry in Pella, Iowa, which is a cross between a cookie and croissant formed into the shape of a letter.
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