Romney's Course Was Set Long Ago (NYT profile)

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George Romney had big ideas for his youngest child.

In 1957, Mitt Romney, 10, with his father, George W. Romney, at their home in Detroit. More Photos >
Mitt Romney had already made millions as the founder of a giant buyout firm. But his father wanted Mitt to follow him into politics, convinced he could unseat Senator Edward M. Kennedy in Massachusetts.

“It was Mitt’s dad that kicked us over that one,” Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife, recalled of the losing 1994 Senate race. “If people understood that equation of George Romney and his impact on my life and on Mitt’s life, they wouldn’t be so curious about why Mitt is running for president. He is why Mitt is running.”

George W. Romney made his fortune turning around the American Motors Corporation before becoming governor of Michigan, then staged a bid for the 1968 Republican presidential nomination, only to watch his hopes collapse on the eve of the first votes. Now nearing that pivotal time in this year’s race, Mitt Romney said he felt as if his own campaign to become the Republican nominee was, in a sense, an extension of his father’s.

“Like a baton has passed, like a relay team where the baton passed from generation to generation,” Mr. Romney said in an interview. He added, “I am a shadow of the real deal.”

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