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Like his father, Willard Mitt Romney has found great success in both business and politics, but one prize has eluded both of them: a presidential nomination. After developing a reputation as a corporate problem solver and winning a term as the Republican governor of liberal Massachusetts, Mr. Romney came up short in the G.O.P. presidential primary in 2008.

His father, George W. Romney, was an automobile executive who became a Republican governor of Michigan before losing a presidential bid in 1968. The Romneys are devout Mormons ? Mr. Romney spent two years working as a missionary in France. Today, Mr. Romney?s family is a cornerstone of his political image, with Ann, his wife of 39 years, and five adult sons as fixtures at his campaign stops. His wife received a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis in 1998.

After earning both law and business degrees at Harvard, Mr. Romney went into corporate consulting. At the leveraged buyout firm Bain Capital, he developed a reputation as someone who could turn failing companies into profitable enterprises ? a skill that helped him amass his nearly $350-million fortune. He reinforced his image by stepping in to help manage the 2000 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City, which had been plagued by budget shortfalls and accusations of scandal.

Mr. Romney?s political fortunes have been mixed, but no one can accuse him of choosing easy races. He ran against Senator Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts in 1994 (a race he lost) and for governor of the state in 2002 (a race he won). Indeed, those early campaigns would compromise his efforts to win the Republican primary in 2008. After taking moderate stances on issues including gay rights and abortion, (he said he experienced a ?conversion? on the issue in 2004 and now opposes abortion rights), some conservatives are skeptical of his convictions, as well as of his Mormon faith. Despite his professed prowess on economic issues, Mr. Romney failed to win any major early primaries, and he ended his bid for the Republican presidential nomination on Feb. 7.

During his single term in the governor?s mansion, Mr. Romney was a vocal opponent of the Massachusetts Supreme Court?s ruling allowing gay marriage, and he also presided over the passage of the state?s mandatory health care coverage law. He has become a major surrogate for Senator John McCain, and he is viewed as a top contender for the running mate slot.

Updated: 9 years 22 weeks ago

The Buzz About a McCain-Romney Ticket

Sat, 01/16/2010 - 8:03am
Mitt Romney, Senator John McCain’s rival in the Republican primary, is now dutifully raising money and campaigning for the presumptive Republican candidate.