Howie Carr just told an interesting anecdote on his talk show. It seems that several years ago, then-Governor Mitt Romney was coming into the studio for a live interview. Howie’s wife told Howie to hit the governor up for a contribution to the Catholic school where the Carr children attend. Howie said “what the hell” and did it. Romney, obviously, is a Mormon, but Mormons are infamously socially conservative — and that’s the kind of values Catholic schools are infamous for inculcating. Plus, it would score some points with the state’s Catholic voters. However, Romney gave a beautiful response: “Tell you what, Howie: I’ll match whatever you gave.”
Now, this should have been a fairly safe bet. Howie, by his own admission is a notorious “cheap bastard” and “throws nickels around like they were manhole covers.” Romney probably figured he’d have a little laugh at Howie’s expense, then get away with a token check.After all, Howie was already paying through the nose for tuition.
That’s when Howie informed Mitt that he’d given the school a check for $2,500. Mitt didn’t blink; he said “sure,” and cut the school a check.
That says a lot about Romney.
First, it says that he’s got a LOT of money, and is used to it. He probably figured he’d get tagged for a couple of hundred bucks, at most, and instead got sandbagged for a healthy four figures. And he shrugged it off.
Next, it says that he’s a stand-up guy. He could have tried to weasel out of it — Carr would have given him a little ribbing, but a smaller check would have still scored him some points. But at the drop of a hat, he — a Mormon — handed over $2,500 to a Catholic school.
Third, it tells me he’s no whiner. Most people would have given Howie at least a little grief over this little stunt — putting him on the spot just before a live radio interview, then putting him on the hook for what a lot of us would consider quite a bit of money. But Mitt just took it in stride.
Romney is still not my first choice (or second, and possibly not my third) for the New Hampshire primary, but I do feel a bit better about him doing so well in the polls. Say what you want, he’s a decent guy.
Too bad his campaign has its share of amoral swine running things, and they certainly reflect on him, but Mitt himself? Not that bad.