Leaving no battleground state behind, Mitt Romney sent four of his five sons to begin a rare set of New Hampshire appearances at Windham Junction on Dec. 29, stumping for their father who is currently in Iowa.
Making the brief stop as part of a busy tour were Tagg, Josh, Craig and Matt Romney. Ben wasn’t able to attend as he is currently involved with medical residency training.
It’s been no secret that Romney’s five sons haven’t had anywhere near as active a public role in their father’s 2012 campaign as they did in 2008. During that campaign, they even ran a blog called the “Five Brothers Blog” following their experiences on the campaign trail.
Four years ago the sons helped give the Romneys the look of an all-American family. Intelligent, sports loving, and each with a sense of humor. That sense of humor immediately came into focus as Romney’s eldest son Tagg addressed the Windham crowd.
He brought along his own eldest son Joe, who was wearing a familiar blue-patterned shirt.
“A couple of you have noticed he’s wearing the same shirt that he’s wearing in the family Christmas card photo,” said Tagg Romney. “Your attention to detail is much greater than either mine or his.”
He went on to joke about his own unique name.
“I’m the only one who got stuck with a weird name,” said Tagg Romney. “I was born in 1970 and I think there was strange things going on in the air.”
Josh Romney, who did most of the speaking, didn’t waste any time addressing the notion that he and his brothers have had a lesser role in the 2012 campaign.
“My dad took each of us aside and said ‘you guys are not going to do this time what you did last time,’” said Josh Romney. "(He said) ‘You did too much last time, you’ve got families and careers, you’re going to stay at home and keep doing that.’”
He said that despite his father’s request, they are still in it 100 percent, and that he has actively made an appearance at least once a week somewhere around the country.
But in terms of tackling the social media scene, which has had a more prominent role in this election, the Romney brothers have been less active. Only Tagg and Josh Romney have Twitter accounts, and neither post often.
Meanwhile, fellow candidate Jon Huntsman has allowed his three daughters to step into the limelight in 2012. All three frequently post on a joint Twitter account aptly named “Huntsman Daughters,” joking about their life on the campaign trail.
Huntsman's daughters have tweeted at Tagg Romney from time to time, including a request to tailgate with him before a debate in mid-October.
When asked by Windham GOP Chairman Travis Blais how his mother Ann was holding up health-wise, Josh Romney was quick to say that she has been the “driving force” behind their father’s success. Ann suffers from multiple sclerosis, which has been in remission since 2002.
“That’s really my dad’s number one consideration is my mom,” said Josh Romney. “She’s actually doing very well.”
Josh and his other brothers didn’t enter into too much detail on the political issues, sticking mostly to anecdotes about their upbringing during the brief appearance.
But a Salem, N.H. voter did ask the brothers to talk about how their father will shrink the size of government, to which Tagg Romney responded that the goal will be to bring control back to the people.
“The government’s been taking over more and more control between health care and GM – everything the government’s been taking over in the last several years, it’s gotten out of control,” said Tagg Romney.
Blais, who was involved in hosting the appearance, said that all of the campaigns will start using family members in either Iowa or New Hampshire in this the 11th hour.
“The campaigns are trying to be everywhere at once,” said Blais.
So far it’s been seen not only with children but with spouses. Blais referenced Rick Perry’s wife Anita, . Ann Romney also stopped in Salem that day.
Pam Skinner, who serves on the Windham Planning Board and was recently announced as part of a 250-person group called “New Hampshire Women for Mitt, said that crowds for the family members are very important.
Having family members shows that really the candidate is worth something when people actually come out,” said Skinner.
Blais agreed that while it’s “less box office” than the actual candidate, he thinks it’s actually more interesting when you see a side of them that you haven’t seen.
The four Romney brothers also made a stop at the Barley House in Concord at noon. They will be back at the campaign headquarters in Manchester for a 5:45 p.m. appearance.