In Reno, Nev., Tuesday Romney shared his own memories of Sept. 11, 2001, when he was in Washington as the head of the Winter Olympic Games, meeting with members of Congress about security preparations for Salt Lake City.

"Someone rushed into our office and said a plane had hit the World Trade Center," he said. He watched the second plane hit the World Trade Center on a small television on his desk.

Later, he recalled, he left Washington and passed by the Pentagon just after crossing the Potomac River.

“Cars had stopped where they were and people had gotten out, watching in horror,” Romney said. “I could smell burning fuel and concrete and steel. It was the smell of war, something I never imagined I would smell in America.”

BuzzFeed notes that the account Romney gave today differs slightly from the one in his book, "Turnaround," where he wrote that he learned of the attacks from a radio interviewer.