Mitt Romney usually doesn’t let his hair down. That is, he’s not one to share too many personal details with voters.
But over the past 24 hours, we’ve learned a lot about the Republican presidential front-runner. He went to the mall last weekend and bought a plaid sport shirt. He is allergic to hay. His guilty pleasure is watching “Modern Family” with his wife, Ann. And he loves good pretzels – and peanut M&Ms, too.
Let’s start with that shirt. Romney usually campaigns in classic tattersall or windowpane button-downs. But Monday, during his visit to Iowa, he traded in boardroom casual for farm casual. He wore his dark blue plaid shirt, paired with Tommy Bahama blue jeans for his mid-day factory visit and with simple khakis for an evening rally. His appearance mattered because a large film crew was at both events shooting for Romney’s campaign ads.
After the rally, when an Iowa voter complimented Romney on his shirt, the candidate said: “I went to the mall and bought this shirt this weekend.” His sport shirt was made by Faconnable, a French designer, and it sells for $135 at Nordstrom.
On Tuesday, Romney sat for an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, where he was subjected to a lightning round of personal questions.
“What’s the worst job you ever had?” Stephanopoulos asked Romney.
“Bailing hay at the ranch I worked on,” Romney said. “I’m allergic to hay.”
The former Massachusetts governor did spend a summer as a teenager working on his uncle’s ranch in King Hill, Idaho. But we didn’t know he was allergic to hay. After all, he put his foot on a pile of hay this summer when he spoke at the soapbox at the Iowa State Fair.
Next question: “TV guilty pleasure?”
“Watching ‘Modern Family’ with my wife,” Romney said.
“Totally a guilty pleasure,” Stephanopoulos replied. “Great show.”
“Favorite junk food?” the anchor asked.
“Let’s see,” Romney said, hesitating momentarily. “I love good pretzels and – peanut M&Ms.”
“Boy,” Stephanopoulos said. “We’re on the same page on a lot of this stuff.”
He went on to ask Romney what the happiest day of his life was, other than his wedding day and the birth of his five sons.
“Other than those family times, it would have to be the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Winter Games in 2002,” said Romney, who served as chief executive of the Salt Lake City Olympics.
Romney was asked who might play him in a movie. He could’ve gone with someone who looks like him – say, Jon Hamm, the star of “Mad Men.” Instead, Romney chose Gene Hackman, the 81-year-old best known for his starring roles in “Bonnie and Clyde,” the “Superman” films and “The Royal Tenebaums.”
“He’s my favorite actor,” Romney said.
“Boy, you have answers to all these,” Stephanopoulos said. “I’m a little surprised.”
Then, asked if he had a personal theme song, Romney said his would be the Willie Nelson tune, “On The Road Again.”