We have 120 Romneys here


Surrounded by his grandchildren and boxes of pizza dinner; Mitt Romney watches the convention Wednesday night. (Melina Mara, Washington Post)

The Marriott soaring 27 stories over Tampa Bay here has become a Romney family compound this week, as some 120 of Mitt Romney’s relatives, distant and close, have descended on the Republican presidential nominee’s hotel this week.

Ensconced for the past three nights in his secure hotel a stone’s throw from the convention hall at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, Romney has been doing more than polishing his big speech. He has been catching up with long-lost relatives.

He spent Wednesday night eating greasy pepperoni pizza out of boxes with his grandkids. On Thursday morning, some of the kids splashed around the hotel pool.

There are 30 members of Romney’s immediate clan – his wife, Ann, their five sons, their wives and 18 grandchildren – but the candidate estimated there were 120 Romneys in Tampa this week.

“It’s amazing how the families come together at times like this,” Romney told a luncheon of donors on Thursday. “We got our pictures taken with some members we haven’t seen in a long time. It was heartwarming.”

Moments later, Ann Romney said at the luncheon that the convention has been “great fun for me.’ “As Mitt mentioned, we've had a lot of family here,” Ann Romney said. “It’s also interesting. It’s like going to your own funeral," she joked, noting how many familiar faces she has seen.

Philip Rucker is a national political correspondent for The Washington Post, where he has reported since 2005.

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