An Oral History Of The Romney Presidency.

President Mitt Romney, inaugural address, Jan. 20, 2013
How's everyone doing today? I can't hear you! I said! How's everyone doing today?! Let me tell ya, sportsfans: it is good to be here. Though you wouldn't know it from this crowd! The last time I saw this many long faces, I was at the horse racing track! I kid, I kid. Robert Evans [CEO of Churchill Downs Inc.] is a dear, dear friend of mine. We like to have fun here, folks. But in all seriousness, my friends, I am truly humbled to be here. Or as M.C. Mitt might say...

Eric Evans, Romney speechwriter
That was when he put on a pair of Oakleys and a backwards Red Sox hat and started rapping. I was mortified. I very strongly advised him against doing it, but he just kept saying, "Hey, who's the prankster-in-chief?" in that Wink Goddamn Martindale way of his, over and over and over. I started to think it was some kind of Andy Kaufman long game thing and he was just fucking with me. Nope.

Ann Romney, wife
Mitt always did have a sense of humor.

Tyson Berry, Washington, D.C., resident
That shit was hilarious, man. This motherfucker cross his arms like he Jam Master Jay or some shit. I about fell out when I saw that shit on TV.

Romney, inaugural address
My name is Mitt, and I'm here to say, that fiscal prudence is the only way! From the '02 Olympics to capital management, I was simply born to reform entitlements!

Evans
God, it barely even rhymed. And it went on for like 10 minutes. At one point, he lost his place and started a whole verse over again. It was something rhyming "abrogate" with "deregulate." I was with the White House press corps at the time, and I forced myself to laugh really hard at that part. I told them it was a knowing play on Warren G's "Regulate," but I knew deep down that it was just a coincidence. Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

David Cameron, Prime Minister, U.K.
Ah yes, "M.C. Mitt." You know, that really was Mitt Romney. Or at least the version of him that I came to know. He always was an enigma.

Andrew Testa, Romney aide
An enigma? I guess that's Cameron being generous. I remember the first time they met, Mitt had this goofy grin on his face for like an hour beforehand. He kept stage-whispering stuff to all of us on staff like, "I hope ol' Mr. Cameron isn't too 'shocked' when he meets me," and "I could get used to this town. Old Londontown...There's a real 'buzz' here." And the winking!

Cameron
The first time I shook his hand, I felt this odd twisting sensation in my palm. He absolutely doubled over with laughter. He held up his hand and showed the crowdindeed, the worldthat he had some sort of buzzer concealed in his palm.

Testa
Mitt was sobbing, he was laughing so hard. I think I heard him say, 'Gets 'em every time!' or at least try to. It wasn't even a real electric buzzer. It was the plastic windup kind you can win at Showbiz or whatever. You know? Like it just kind of makes something spin in the other guy's hand?

Matt Romney, son
Dad was full of that kind of stuff. This one time? He put on this fake beard and glasses and we went down to the CVS on the corner of L and Connecticut? Near that...that subway station or whatever? And he said, "I'll take one of everything...And charge it to the White House." Oh my gosh, we laughed! The look on the CVS guy's face was priceless. I don't think he really understood much English, but he seemed to get the gist.

Bill Clinton, former president
I could tell something was off from those early days. It's always the jokesters. Well, not always, but...You know, early, early in the campaign, I sat down with some of the top guys in the party and just told them point-blank, "He's not your guy." But they were already stuck with him by then, I suppose.

Joseph Piccolo, former Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America
I'll never forget it. It was a Tuesday night. Rainy day, but it cleared up and I swear, you could see every star in the sky. I was re-reading HawaiiMichener, you knowstarting to doze off. Got the call. "The president would like to speak with you." Well let me tell you, that woke me right up.

David Petraeus, Secretary of Defense, Romney administration
Mitt told us in the briefing room his big plan to make Boy Scouts membership mandatory. Every male not old enough for the selective service would have to join, he said. We all thought it was a joke. There was this whole silly thing a long time ago about the Boy Scouts where Rick Perryremember him?tried to make Mitt look bad for not letting the Scouts volunteer at the Salt Lake City Olympics. We all thought he was kind of making fun of himself. We even laughed. And he didn't say anything!

Piccolo
Let me be the first to say that I did not support the plan. I tried to say, "Well, Mr. President, we just don't have the manpower to make it work." He had this whole sob story about how he always wanted to be an Eagle Scout when he was a boy, always admired our organization for instilling strong values and teaching character, real character. Said we could help turn things around, put the country back on track. Well, of course, I couldn't disagree with that. But I knew that trying to makewhat?25 million or so boys into Scouts just didn't make sense. But there was no talking him out of it. And what could I do? He was the president.

Travis Conroy, former Boy Scout
Yeah, I was in Troop 29. It was the shit. They kept saying they were gonna find us a troop leader, but they didn't have enough people or whatever. So we'd just meet up and look at porn and shit. I took oxy for the first time at a jamboree.

Petraeus
I will believe to my dying day that the Boy Scouts thing could have just been a harmless embarrassment if it wasn't for Iran. That keeps me up nights. Most nights. And to think, that Caspian Summit was supposed to be the first step in a big thaw! You know, this is the first time I've ever really talked about this publicly. Once upon a time, I would have declined comment on sensitive matters like this. But now, what's the point?

Transcript, 2014 Caspian Summit
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iranian President: [translated comments from keynote address] The United States remains the puppet of the Zionist regime. It is ironic that the Jew, so quick to play the victim in World War II, has now established his own Vichy government in the United States.
President Romney: Hey, Buster Brown! Mind your peas and carrots!

Petraeus
Even if he'd just left it at that, I don't see how things could have gone the way they did. Ahmedinejad wasn't even offended. Shimon Peres had called him Hitler's heir apparent and an ally of terror and discord just a few days before. He didn't do anything other than some empty saber-rattling. I'm not even sure he noticed "peas and carrots."

Testa
Mitt kept saying he wanted to smooth over the peas and carrots thing. I remember [Attorney General Eugene] Scalia saying to him at a cabinet meeting one time, "Mitt, what is there to smooth over? I'm just not seeing it." Those were his exact words. And Mitt just kept talking about how he knew he had stepped way over the line and wanted to make things right, how he just felt awful, all this shit. He said Ahmedinejad was a "bad egg" but that he needed to take the high road. "Beacon on a hill," that's what he kept saying. The last time I remember really feeling hopelike, the actual sensation of hope, in my lifewas one of the last times he brought it up, and he said, "It was my bad" and then gave this kind of tired smile. I thought he was doing his M.C. Mitt act again and was halfway to forgetting about the whole thing. Obviously, I was wrong.

Petraeus
And of course I just wish I could turn back the clock and stop everything right when Mitt decided he was going to pick a Scout troop at random to send on the diplomatic mission to Iran. I don't know why we didn't require an application, or hell, why we couldn't have just hired some damn kid actors to stage the whole thing. It should have just been a glorified photo-op! I mean, I was amazed Iran actually said yes in the first place. I really wanted to err on the side of caution. But Mitt really wanted to shake his out-of-touch elitist image. He seemed to think that the random selection would help with that. And he just kept quoting the Boy Scout Oath and saying that no Scout could ever let our country down.

Craig Storck, U.S. interests representative, Swiss Embassy, Tehran
I had a bad feeling about the whole thing the second the Scouts stepped off the helicopter. They just looked like rough charactersone of these kids had a full beard, for Chrissakes! He couldn't have been more than 13. These were not normal kids.

Piccolo
I had such high hopes. I really wanted my boys to do us in the organization proud. I didn't expect what happened to happen. I don't think you could find a man alive who did. And if you found him, well hell, I wish you'd introduce me so I could ask him why he never said anything to me.

Storck
It started out fine. The kids, or whatever they were, did a tour of a village in the Alborz Mountains. Then they went to see a traditional Persian music concert.

Conroy
That shit was mad gay, man. I laughed like a motherfucker at that shit. Some dude was playing this flute thing that sounded like a fuckin' goose, man. Shit cracked my ass up.

Transcript, Roudaki Hall Opera House, amateur recording
Young male #1: Ooh! Somebody farted! Shit stinks!
Older male, muffled: Please! [unintelligible] Show some decorum!
Iranian male, speaking Farsi: [unintelligible]
Young male #2: The fuck you talkin' about, faggot?
[sounds of a struggle]
Young male #2: Gimme back my M-80s, man! This dude took my M-80s!
[sounds of a struggle]
[gunfire]

Conroy
Yeah, I took that dude's gun. They left these four-wheeler things out by the entrance; we took them too. Guess we rode over some graves or whatever.

Petraeus
The last thing I just can't stop thinking about: if Mitt had just been harder on those kids, made an example out of them...I know he thought he reamed them pretty hard. I'm not sure if I should say this on the record, but I think everyone knows by now that Mitt himself was the one who ordered his "dressing down" to get leaked to the press.

President Romney, from leaked White House tape
You boys really stepped in it this time, pardon my French! What were you thinking? Don't answer that. I know the answer: you weren't thinking! Look, I know what it's like to be your age and to have a hard time figuring things out. During my misspent youth, yes, I tried a beer. I tried a cigarette. They weren't for me, but look: Your bodies are changing; your hormones are going a mile a minutehey, when you're my age, you'll wish it was still like that.

But seriously, guys, this kind of crud just isn't acceptable. It's beneath you and it's beneath this land that we all love, Lady America. But don't take my word for it. Just ask M.C. Mitt. Ohhh, being rude! Is not the bomb! Just ask me, ‘cause I'm the Rom! International relations! Are a thrill! All I ask is that you not be a pill! Get the picture? Word.

Isn't that a riot? My sons taught me that. "Word." Oh, hold on, you kids are gonna love this. Picked this puppy up at Spencer's Gifts. They've got some raunchy stuff, but if you go in there with a true heart and pure spirit, you can get through the junk and find some stuff that is just a gas. Anyway, this is my "insta-rapper kit." You've got the teeth and the sunglasses, and look! Wrap this around your waist and it looks like you've got big, puffy underwear coming up over your pants. Isn't that [tape cuts out]

Petraeus
Ahmedinejad didn't take the president's response well. Thought it was an egregious mockery of his power and Iran's place on the global stage. Why that was the final straw, I'll never know. But we all know what happened next.

President Mitt Romney, farewell address, Dec. 17, 2014
My fellow Americans. Sorry: Continental Craterites. Not sure I'll ever get used to that. You know, Ann, my wife, was still accidentally introducing herself as "Ann Davies" for at least a year after we got married. Although maybe it wasn't such an accident. Her pet name for me is "President Knucklehead." Only joking. But seriously, folks, we've been through some trying times together.

And as I stand here on the smoking rubble that was once Washington, D.C.or maybe this is New York. Goodness knows my sense of direction ain't what it used to be. Also, the entire eastern seaboard is unrecognizable, and the near constant electromagnetic pulses that I know have been a bee in our collective bonnet have made navigation by GPS or even compass virtually impossible. And don't even get me started on not being able to see the stars in order to navigate by them. Ai-yi-yi, the nuclear smog reminds me of Los Angeles, Califor-nye-aye. Once upon a time, of course.

Anyway, as I stand here on this burned-out hull of what may once have in fact been Washington, or perhaps New York or Philadelphia or Bangor, Maine, I know that while the U.S. of A. might be in a better place now, her memory burns stronger and longer than the endless acres of fire pits that the cannibals out in Nevada now keep aflame day and night.

I firmly believe that, even if America as it was once known to the world is gone, with all knowledge that it ever existed due to fade from the world's memory in just a few short generations, the American dream is still alive. If we can get past this, overcome the cannibalism and the mass mutations and the blizzards of ash and bone shards that descend upon us nightly, I know in my heart that we can be strong again.

In closing, my captors have asked me to say a few words: fart piss ass ass dick weiner butt. If I may speak freely, I hope everyone listening to this on vinyl or, in the future, on some sort of pirate radio transmission, in case the electromagnetic attacks stop one day, will pray for those holding me hostage to gain some measure of maturity. Thank you, and farewell.

President-Elect Mitt Romney, election victory speech, Nov. 6, 2012
As president, I will usher in a new era of peace, prosperity, and industry, the likes of which haven't been known since the Greatest Generation answered the call of duty. Or since I was smoothing things over with Ann after I forgot our anniversary! I kid, I kid! Oh, hey Tagg, got your nose! Ha ha! Groovy, baby! Yeah! Ha ha ha.

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