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Mitt Romney Not Happy about AP Story on His Sons Not Going to Iraq

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Mitt Romney Not Happy about AP Story on His Sons Not Going to Iraq

Article excerpt

For the most part, reporters very reluctantly, or not at all, ask candidates for high office -- who strongly support the war in Iraq, and other military actions -- why they have not suggested that their own sons and daughters join the military. But when an average citizen pops the question, it usually draws a revealing remark, as it did today in Bettendorf, Iowa, involving Mitt Romney.

Here is the Associated Press account. The Romney campaign is now contending that the remarks quoted in the story were taken out of context, though it does not dispute they are accurate. It sent to reporters the YouTube video of the exchange. Following the story we provide a transcript. *

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Wednesday defended his five sons' decision not to enlist in the military, saying they're showing their support for the country by ``helping me get elected.''

Romney, who did not serve in Vietnam due to his Mormon missionary work and a high draft lottery number, was asked the question by an anti-war activist after a speech in which he called for ``a surge of support'' for U.S. forces in Iraq.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, also saluted a uniformed soldier in the crowd and called for donations to military support organizations. Last week, he donated $25,000 to seven such organizations.

``The good news is that we have a volunteer Army and that's the way we're going to keep it,'' Romney told some 200 people gathered in an abbey near the Mississippi River that had been converted into a hotel. ``My sons are all adults and they've made decisions about their careers and they've chosen not to serve in the military and active duty and I respect their decision in that regard.''

He added: ``One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president.''

Romney's five sons range in age from 37 to 26 and have worked as real estate developers, sports marketers and advertising executives. They are now actively campaigning for their father and have a ``Five Brothers'' blog on Romney's campaign Web site.

Romney noted that his middle son, 36-year-old Josh, was completing a recreational vehicle tour of all 99 Iowa counties on Wednesday and said, ``I respect that and respect all those and the way they serve this great country.''

The woman who asked the question, Rachel Griffiths, 41, of Milan, Ill., identified herself as a member of Quad City Progressive Action for the Common Good, as well as the sister of an Army major who had served in Iraq. …

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