From USA Today:
At an “Ask Mitt Anything” forum this morning in Bettendorf, Iowa, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney was quizzed about whether any of his five sons are serving in the U.S. military.
USA TODAY’s Susan Page, who was there, reports that this was his response:
“The good news is, we have a volunteer Army and that’s the way we’re going to keep it. My sons are adults. They’ve chosen not to serve in the military in active duty and I respect their decision in that regard. … And 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.”
Anyone else in tears? Wait, kids, there’s more!
Romney then spoke about how his son Josh and his family are driving across Iowa in a recreational vehicle to help promote the campaign.
Can you believe the sacrifices this family is making? I know I can’t! Not only are these brave fellows risking having their jockey shorts ride up during long Winnebago drives, but they also feel bad about not being over in Iraq! No, really! Here they are talking about it to Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes. What a shame it is that there is absolutely nothing they can do about not being in the service, especially since their dad is such a fan of the war. I guess Mitt got a taste for combat when he served so nobly and proudly and bravely in Vietnam.
Oops! Pardon me. I just checked, and it seems that Mitt never served in Vietnam. In fact, he was never in the service at all!
From The Boston Globe:
As the Vietnam War raged in the 1960s, Mitt Romney received a deferment from the draft as a Mormon “minister of religion” for the duration of his missionary work in France, which lasted two and a half years.
Before and after his missionary deferment, Romney also received nearly three years of deferments for his academic studies. When his deferments ended and he became eligible for military service in 1970, he drew a high number in the annual lottery that determined which young men were drafted. His high number ensured he was not drafted into the military.
The deferments for Mormon missionaries became increasingly controversial in the late 1960s, especially in Utah, leading the Mormon Church and the government to limit the number of church missionaries who could put off their military service. That agreement called for each church ward, or church district, to designate one male every six months to be exempted from potential duty for the duration of his missionary work.
Romney’s home state was Michigan, making his 4-D exemption as a missionary all but automatic because of the relatively small number of Mormon missionaries from that state. It might have been more difficult in Utah, where the huge Mormon population meant that there were sometimes more missionaries than available exemptions.
“I really don’t recall thinking about political positions when I was knocking at the door in France” as a missionary, Romney said. “I was supportive of my country. I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there and in some ways it was frustrating not to feel like I was there as part of the troops that were fighting in Vietnam.”
Poor Mitt! I bet he feels terrible for his sons, knowing the pain of not being able to do anything about joining the service. Hmmmm, I wonder if Mitt drove across France in a Winnebago…